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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Questions About Life

First, I want to thank Matty and Bucko for inviting me to contribute to this very esteemed Spin Cycle. I will not commit to any number or intensity of posts here, but I wanted to start out with this contribution. For many of you, my writing is not foreign, but to others that are fans of the Spin Cycle, I do hope that my writing creates discussion among you. With this, I present my first load of subject matter for your parusal.
Recently, I have been observing something that has really disturbed me, but then it is most likely because I just wasn’t aware of something which was obvious, if only focused on. I guess life is the subject here, but viewed from possibly a bit different skew.

In my youth, I was inspired by the Peace Corps programs that were started in the time when we as a nation finally figured out that civilization is only possible in the truest form of the word, if we always make sure to bring our less fortunate neighbors along with our progress. This inspired so many young people to dedicate at least three years to helping someone here on this planet, to achieve what might have been the impossible, if not for their help. I speak of clean water wells in the Congo, and education in self sustained farming and other things we have learned and can share. The Peace Corps were soon known all over the globe as a real and tangible answer to helping others to help themselves.
In that time, labor was not a curse word, but an honorable and respectable way for someone to take care of their families. One could be a landscaper, or an auto mechanic, or a construction laborer, or a painter, and all these would not only sustain you and your four children; but would leave you enough to pay for your insurance, medications, a new car that would carry the six of you and your luggage in comfort for a week or two vacation, and finally, pay for that humble but sufficient home. One could work in these jobs for 20 or 30 years, and then have enough money to retire, and live comfortably on a lakeshore in Arizona, or some other state where the cost of living was remarkably affordable. Little by little, people and companies that had these positions available hired people from other countries because they could do so without paying for benefits, and without worrying about paying a living wage. It isn’t that people are not willing to still do laborious jobs, but the pay is not able to support a citizen and still pay all the things that are needed, including taxes. Now retirement is reserved for only those who had the blessing of earning money in excess and now have a million dollars stashed away, to support them for the last 10 or 20 years of their lives. I won’t even go into a deplorable medical climate that strips one not only of that money, but the very pride of self support. The people we elect to government are ALL millionaires, several times over, and don’t have a clue what we are talking about when we say this isn’t working, and usually couldn’t even give a damn. Just send them more money to squander on their re-election campaigns to extend their joy ride at our expense. How very sad..

Somewhere along the way, it only became respectable for one to have a college degree, and hopefully not just a Bachelors degree. The median home had become a five bedroom, three baths, 3500 sq. ft. mansion, along with the hugely expensive SUV, and each one of the kids must have a new car on graduating from college. All this left those people that had previously not been able to pay for college, or were not able to take the time out of paying for life, just a bit out of the picture. This creates a divide in the society that comes along with anxiety, and other sub-conscious feelings and emotions that then grow into far different events.

I have been wondering why it is that so many people, both HIV + and not, have become so dependent on therapy, drugs, and many other forms of distraction from our lives. Where does one draw the line of consumption, and addiction? I know many people I have come to know and love, suffer terribly from various forms and intensities of depression, and I ask myself just why this is? Has this always been the case, and we just never knew about it, or is it a very unpleasant side effect of our luxurious way of life in the Western world? Why is it that in a world where there are no food shortages, water is just a tap away, outhouses don’t need to be emptied or filled and re-dug, and walking has become an exercise program; that we are now terminally depressed about it? Why is it that those who now have money in excess could care less about their more unfortunate neighbors? Why do I see hateful bumper stickers that admonish us to annoy a liberal, by working, succeeding and being happy? Have these people never met any of the liberals I know that are now millionaires, and have not only prospered, but left the country to live in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and many other places on the planet that more closely resemble a “normal and healthy” culture?

What started this writing, was wondering just why Crystal Methamphetamine is now the most dangerous and ominous cloud over this country, and in fact the world. I know many of my friends have ridden this nightmare, and have now come out the other side to live their lives, and heal their bodies, yet so many more have no way to break that grip and ultimately kill themselves with it. I realize that drugs used for recreation is not a new phenomenon, and if you ask your grandparents, and ask them to be honest with you; they will tell you that in fact cocaine is not new, neither is the extensive use of Marijuana. No my dears, the government has been in a drug war since the early 1920’s, and all I have to say is, “how is that working for them?” Crystal Methamphetamine is a very dangerous drug, and can make you an addict after one use, simply because of the permanence of the drug on your brain, and what it causes your brain to do in it's basic chemistry. Why then do people turn to this, rather than try to face their issues head on, and possibly work their way through a problem, rather than to seek out a simple, but deadly answer?

Where did we go wrong?

What is it that drives the family in the jungles of central Africa to fight for their lives and go out and get food in the jungle each day? They work for every cent they have, and when they can afford it, send their children off to school in the village to learn, and hopefully gain a better life. What is astounding is that their school curriculum is far superior to that of a public school in this country, and most teach a foreign language starting in the third grade. (English or French) Where do those people go when they need “therapy”, or when they simply need a Tylenol to maybe assuage that headache brought on by the sound of land developers on the edge of the forest, decimating their tree growth, and stripping away their very way of life? How is it that they can live a full life and not have to deal with all the concerns that we accept as normal “white noise” of life here?

Could it be that we have screwed up, by compromising our education system when at the very moment we were doing that; we should have gone just the other way and made it superior? Could our emphasis on professional sports as the end all and be all of a person’s value, have diverted our funding to support this very expensive pastime, instead of saturating our science and technology departments with millions of dollars? Could it be that in doing all this, we have in turn alienated and completely sidelined a vast number of very capable and wonderful citizens? Could our reliance on technology, such as this very internet, driven us to become a cold and very crass, self absorbed people that are so starved for attention and love, that we end up destroying ourselves through vice and self loathing? Could there be another way? I sure hope so.

I wonder what our world would have become if we had still emphasized that penchant to help others, to make sure we knew our neighbors, and to keep our neighborhoods open and welcoming? Should we have kept our kids busy with leaning about nature and the things which give our world a sense of permanence? Should we have taught them that the meat we eat comes from livestock which must be killed, cut and cleaned, before it ends up in the refrigerated showcase in the local supermarket? Should we possibly have shown them life AND death, to somehow help them understand loss and the real path of life? Why is it when people, living with a terminal disease such as HIV and Cancer, receive no end of static from everyone when they talk of that final curtain call, and making plans for the end of life? Is it such a horrible thing to die, or is it simply a step which all living things on this world make during the time they are here?

I have always thought that the better and more constructive way to raise a child is to give them boundaries, give them a respect for self worth, teach them that society has rules, teach them that they are indeed perfect, and capable, and what ever life brings to their pathway; it is to make them truly better people. Anyone who is an observer of nature will know that most mammals spend a great deal of time and energy teaching and disciplining their offspring so that they will be survivors and successful parts of their world when they mature. When did it become the norm to chastise someone for being a brainiac, and encourage our children to make fun of them and mock them for not being interested the least in sports? Has nobody ever thought that kid that everyone is mocking might just be a Steve Jobs, or a Bill Gates? Why is it that many technology companies are now hiring directly from India and other places, but I already know that answer?

More and more these days, I see the children demanding what is going to be in the home, instead of the parents standing firm and making the decisions for their children. Parents complain about not having enough money for college, or for even the basics in life, but when the children “need” that new i-Pod, or that new disc for their Wii game, they end up having it, and it seems like few are given the responsibility of paying for these very “necessary” pacifiers that simply become yesterday’s gizmo, and end up useless in very short order. When did it become the norm for the parents to pay for higher education, when the child is the one that should be burdened with this responsibility, to give them a sense of the value of that education? When did it become OK for a child to demand transportation, but then not have a cent to support such extravagance? I can remember when I was still living at home, when my father let me start driving the car, I had to pay for the extra insurance, and the extra fuel, and the extra wear and tear on the car. Soon it was obvious that I couldn’t afford to drive the family vehicle, so I didn’t, unless I was driving the family somewhere; like prayer meeting on Wednesday nights. Yes, we have moved away from giving children responsibility for their lives, and have showered them with educations that the rest of the world would die to get, and yet when they come out of college, they have absolutely no way of understanding even the basics of independence and making it on their own. They refuse jobs which require labor, and refuse to even pay back their $50,000 college loans that are backed by the government and the taxes we have all paid to fund those useless certificates of higher learning. What the hell did we expect would happen? Thankfully, people from India and other countries are completely willing to take just about any job and work their way into citizenship in our great country. How pathetic we really are to then complain about the fact that when we call for help on our Dell computers, someone in India answers the phone and does so happily!!!!

When we switched our priorities to become a “professional” society, and culture; we forgot that trade schools were also needed, and people to run the inventions of those brainiacs have to come from somewhere. Well, I have news for you. Just about the time we were disposing of decent education in this culture, India, and many other countries were investing in theirs, and now they and other countries are turning out people with vastly increased skills and talents in the intricacies, very important to modern day capitalism.

I guess I just don’t understand anymore, and when I get frustrated at the status quo, I then sit down and write out things like this bit of mental diatribe. Maybe by getting it out, and questioning in a public forum, I will find the answer, and find the way of the future. Otherwise, it seems we are destined to complete destruction by our own ignorance. What a complete waste of potential, and what a complete waste of a perfectly good culture and society.

Can anyone spell “Roman Empire”?


At Sat Jun 23, 08:39:00 AM GMT+10, Anonymous Pozattitude said...

Thank you for such wonderful writing, and how truthful.
Perhaps the biggest mistake of any society in general is to ignore history. Major powers have risen and fallen throughout history, and we keep making the same mistakes over and over.
I believe that the societies of such super powers become egocentric and hedonistic to such an extent, that ultimately leads to the fall of their civilization (better said, allows their civilization to be conquered by a new rising group).
I've just read "The End of the American Era" by Charles A. Kupchan, I found it very interesting.

At Sun Jun 24, 06:59:00 AM GMT+10, Blogger moffie said...

Thank you so much Poz.

Yes, ingnoring history is certainly one of the results of becoming ignorant, is it not?

What always gets me is that so very few recognize this fact, and when you speak of the crowd in our government, well, it seems the blinders are firmly in place, or else, that part of society is the most insensitive, self absorbed and utterly ignorant; and we end up being consumed by it.

I will check on the book refrence, I like liturature that doesn't hide the obvious, or the truth, which in a way are related very closely.
Thank you for your thoughts.


At Wed Jun 27, 08:33:00 PM GMT+10, Anonymous frenchpat said...


I am glad you have found a new outlet for your writing.
The problems you mention about your own country apply here too. It is due to the occidental blue print of society that has been followed, or imposed, nearly everywhere now.

A system that leads people to confuse democracy and capitalism, despite the obvious differences between a political philosophy and an economic theory.

I tend to believe that change will come, and that it will come from the individual rather than from the top levels of government. Those at the top have too much to lose. Those at the bottom have nothing.

As to the question of why we have come to this point, and since you are interested in shedding the light on the motives that led to this situation, I suggest you give Lloyd deMause a try. An American scholar whose work is little known.
Though it might be difficult to accept some of his conclusions, it certainly helped me in understanding the reasons why people want power, why people give them the power they want and what it is that people do once in power and why.

Pat, as in "frenchpat"

At Sat Jun 30, 10:55:00 PM GMT+10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't even know where to begin with all this subject matter.

As always, I love this site. I will be visiting your fair country in a few weeks and looking forward to it.

Just graduated from rehab, and ready to rock.

Brian, one of your preferred perverts

At Tue Jul 03, 09:27:00 AM GMT+10, Blogger moffie said...

French Pat,

Thank you for your response. I think my confusion is obvious, by the way I wrote this one, but please remember; I really seldom edit, so this is snap shot of the things going on in my mind at this time. Strangely enough, reality continues to add to the insanity, therefore making the overall play one of humor, puzzlement, and total irrationality.

This gave me a gift today and I hope you understand the gravity of this quote from you:

"I tend to believe that change will come, and that it will come from the individual rather than from the top levels of government. Those at the top have too much to lose. Those at the bottom have nothing."

This is so very true, and the true meaning of Democracy, instead of Demockery.


At Tue Jul 03, 09:30:00 AM GMT+10, Blogger moffie said...

Oh Brian, you Perv...

The fact that you plowed through, and left a comment, proves your worth, so thank you very much. I trust you will enjoy my insanity, it keeps me sane......


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