Education, History, Politics, Social Commentary, Socialist

Delivering Deceptive Dreams

Whatever dreams one may have, there is someone who is selling the keys to their hearts desire; for the right price.  Offers to turn a fantasy into a new reality is so seductive that any sense of logic one possess will rapidly evaporate.  Reaching for a dream is something everyone does, but being able to achieve it is another matter entirely.  Access to various levers of power helps tremendously and the less advantaged will have a harder time reaching their desired goals.  For those who have a harder time reaching a goal will have to spot and navigate through anyone who is a true confidence man: who has plenty of experience cajoling and targeting those who seek pleasure. 

Knowing that other people have access to a better standard of living and believing one deserves better makes one susceptible to the tricks of a certified huckster.  Watcher other people flaunt their likely self-inflated status creates envy for the downtrodden onlooker, which will turn self-destructive if left unchecked.  Desperation fills the mind with a green, thick and blinding cloud that subconsciously puts them into the rat race without realizing they signed up for the deal.    Whether the modus operandi are escapism or an attempt to match a certain status, reaching that goal becomes an obsession that consumes every aspect of one’s life to the detriment of everything else.  In the unfortunate event that a con man arrives on the scene, they will have to do little prodding to get into the door of the mind of a potential target because the door was left wide open for all to see and walk in. 

Fantasy becomes indistinguishable from reality when real life becomes a wasteland of broken dreams and goals that were once thought to be easily attainable.  Going beyond symbolic representations of status by trying to get something substantive is understandable, but the process of getting there is where problems start to set in.  Making decisions while in a mental stupor will pile on regret after regret.  Constant competition is a major cause of this scenario coming about because the slices of the pie are getting slimmer by the moment.  When someone is feeling angst over their situation they seek facile solutions to relieve the pain which could be a bargain with the devil.  By offering an upgrade in status, the con man can have anyone wrapped around their finger. 

Having goals and dreams about enjoying the pleasures that everyone appears to have is universal, but the road down that path is often filled with potholes.  Seeking any kind of mental salve is dangerous because not every product being offered is a safe solution to a deteriorating mental condition.  Seeing society through a green lens is infuriating and blinds people when the con man makes an offer.  Accepting an offer from the con man will lead to emotional stagnation at best and falling down a spiral staircase at worse.  Avoiding this dilemma is difficult and alleviating the pain associated with a low status may require more pain in order to get better which is incredibly counterintuitive.  The best defense against the con man involves not only recognizing the signs when one approaches, but recognizes one’s vulnerabilities.   

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Education, History, Politics, Social Commentary, Socialist

Sublime Solidarity

Solidarity is a worthwhile goal to pursue for a better life because it fulfills the human desire of belonging to a group which creates a gratifying feeling. The process and attempt of accomplishing a goal while building connections rests on the cliche of strength in numbers. This is especially true if one believes in the adage: the enemy of my enemy is a friend, particularly from a classism/power perspective. In large part, accomplishing a major goal is next to impossible to achieve on an individual level, despite a cultural fixation on the classic David versus Goliath story that Americans love to tell about ourselves. As powerful and necessary a force solidarity can create, one should be aware of its limits and barriers along the road.

One major mental barrier to solidarity is how the masses believe in the cult of the individual to the point that collective solutions are rarely considered. Fierce dedication to the lone wolf mentality is tantamount to advocating for a type of isolation that kills the human spirit. One reason to pursue solidarity is because getting inside power structures requires breaking through the door which will be much more successful when critical mass is reached, as opposed to going at it alone. Whenever an individual tries to break down the door kicking and screaming, the gatekeepers will have a much easier time keeping the door(s) shut. Ignoring a single person is easy, but when masses of people gather to make demands those people at least have to be humored.

Another barrier to reaching solidarity is that people have differences that are essential to overcome. In order to overcome differences people have to recognize that they have differences and work actively to overcome them. Looking at this from a class perspective, people having different race, gender, and sexual orientation informs their perception of not only class, but life itself. When deeply analyzed, one has to realize that a white male is the default for leadership and heroism which is quite limiting for unity. Emotional differences creates problems where cool heads are needed to prevail and that is difficult because everyone is the hero of their story. Getting past this limit requires those with greater advantages recognizing that they do not have to be the protagonist in every story that is told in real life and fiction.

Solidarity is a laudable goal because people need a sense of belonging. Without solidarity, people will either go insane from their lack of power and risk losing what little they have. However, solidarity can be used for evil by those who seek to preserve their status by banding together and attack those who are not a part of their club. Solidarity can be disrupted by playing off the divisions of various factions seeking solidarity. The breaking up of solidarity can be resisted if people attempt to see the world through the eyes of their brethren, but that is hard to do given people’s selfish nature. Connecting the lines of collective self interest is not easy in a society that preaches individualism. Getting to that point requires effort, but strong solidarity can lead to great results that will benefit the masses.

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Education, History, Politics, Social Commentary, Socialist

Welcome to the Victim hood

Everyone is the hero of their own story, but they are often the victims in their story as well. Great works of fiction, especially those involving superheroes, have the hero lose someone close to them and the hero is so consumed with vengeance that they put on a costume and beat the living daylights out of any criminal. In this method of storytelling, the victim becomes the hero and they are applauded for their bravery. The best way of thinking about this contradiction is to view this phenomena through the virgin/whore complex that is forced upon women. Women are expected to be the epitome of innocence while being sexually experienced enough to be pleasing. At some point or another everyone has been victimized to some degree, which stings bitterly, and sympathy can serve as a salve.

When someone is in a victimized their state of mind can present a distorted picture that glances over particulars. To a great extent, degrees of victimization exist which ignores the fact that the world is not absolutist. Gray areas are important because some victims truly deserve sympathy and should receive it out of decency. On the other hand, people may go a bit too far and over correct and coddle a person too much which can prevent moving forward in life. Wallowing in the victim status keeps a person from knowing and experiencing positive emotions that keep the light of life out of their minds while darkness and negative thoughts are easy to come by. Trying to have a positive outlook is hard yet rewarding because sadness and depression is a swamp that is hard to get out of without help. This is important to keep in mind when individuals reach out for help and attempting to offer assistance.

The strange thing about victim hood is that when elites do not get what they feel that they are entitled to they act as if they are being victimized. Holy hell will be raised if rich, entitled, people do not get what they want and due to our concept of the aspirational society, they will essentially kick and scream until they get what they want. Another benefit to being part of the elite is that they can blame others for their supposed hardship and mindless sheep allow them to get away with it despite their belief in their victim hood has no basis in reality. People who do not belong to the elite will go along with the elite if they identify with or aspire to be part of the elite. In complex ways, solidarity could transform victim hood into a powerful force against the elite, but achieving that is far easier said than done.

The traditional American story that we like to tell ourselves starts off with an individual who is a victim because of their hardscrabble circumstances and eventually they overcame tremendous odds to make it to the top of the hierarchy. Those who fail to do so are parasites who are victimized by their own shortcomings and deserve to die. Resilience is admirable, but it is not a panacea because everyone has a different path and resources in reaching a goal. For some reason, it seems that the most egregious social violations to get ignored by those without similar experiences, which makes the critics unqualified to render an opinion. Like much of life, victim hood is subjective, and that subjectivity makes everything complicated.

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A Nonconformist View, Education, History, Politics, Satire, Social Commentary, Socialist

Subjectivity of Evil

When people think about the depths of depravity that their fellow human beings are capable of, people are constantly surprised by various deviant acts that they hear about or see on television. Part of this is due to most people having an a historical memory of violent acts that people commit during war. Another reason for this is that unless an event directly impacts people, their memory does not extend past a few hours. Modern society has geared people toward a delusional sense of civility thinking that at our core, human beings are closer to angles than devils. People often intentionally ignore an essential part of human nature because acknowledging evil will create a sense of discomfort that people would rather avoid. Many people believe that ignoring a problem makes it go away, which is naïve, but it helps people sleep better at night.

Everyone has a different and subjective standard on what evil is, and when certain acts cross the threshold and civility is broken some action(s) make a person beyond redemption. Believing the best about our fellow human beings makes one feel noble and enlightened, but there are both positive and negative effects when generalizing human beings. Thinking about people in positive terms allows us to be blinded by barbarism when a person commits an obscene act against another person. Thinking negatively about other people makes us worse on the inside because seeing the best humanity has to offer and the joys of companionship will not be seen; thus keeping people from connecting with each other to improve the condition of mankind.

Who or what is considered evil is can take on an objective quality if a broad, yet opaquely defined societal consensus does exist on a definition of evil. In most cases, evil is whomever the public mob wants to go after if a person or group action(s) are considered morally reprehensible and recorded for posterity. Symbolism flowing into real life, anything associated with the color black is seen as evil while conversely, anything associated with the word white is seen as pure and innocent to the point of blindness. Associations with color being good or evil is not limited to the ways fellow human beings see each other, but in the use of everyday language. White lies are not seen as a bad thing because supposedly the intent behind them is good. Black Friday is probably the only exception to anything labeled black being a bad thing. Not to say that perceptions of color related to good or evil is true, but those associations do shape our views and the decisions that people make.

The biggest problem with evil being subjective is that some bad outcomes are not considered evil, but deserve to be highlighted for the inimical effects that people feel. People can feel evil, but feelings are usually subjective and lacks a rational basis, therefore making evil something that emanates from an individual world view. In the collective mind of society, we have a hard time thinking of an attractive person as evil and an unattractive person as good, but only a conscious effort can correct such biased thinking. Preconceived notions of evil related to appearance explains why people are often surprised when seemingly good people commit atrocities. Evil is shaped by our experiences, and more so, by our expectations, if people are looking for evil they will find it in places where evil did not exist before.

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Education, History, Politics, Satire, Social Commentary, Socialist

Capital Crimes

The significant classes have committed capital crimes for which they will probably get away with.  From a moral standpoint, the significant classes jealously guard their power and wealth the way hoarders who have an emotional attachment to every inanimate object they possess.  They look down upon the lower classes with scorn and contempt, similar to the way the average person looks upon a diseased animal.  Whenever they are not oblivious to the existence of the lower classes, they would like nothing better than to wish them out of existence.  The nice thing about being in the significant classes is that they do not have to do the dirty work themselves in order to accomplish their oppressive goals.

In this instance, fear is an imaginary disease that motivates the significant classes to believe that the rabble will sully their possessions merely by touching them. Members of the significant classes own the capital, so they can hire people to get rid of the poor with an arsenal of options.  With an innate belief in their superiority and a culture that often reinforces that, they will issue commands from their private Mt. Olympus to have the lower classes go to war with each other, where both sides of the warring factions will lose in the end.  Those who side with them will be greeted with a false sense of gratitude that they think will benefit them in the long run, but will be the equivalent of cutting their arm off they touched a diseased rodent.

Living in different worlds is a major cause of the problems that afflict the working classes.  Because without the experience of positive interactions with people of different racial backgrounds, division intensifies and everyone becomes ensconced in their parochial worldview.  One way to achieve solidarity with those who could become allies is to get an understanding of their plight and how their plight relates to the suffering that many people have experienced.  Various members of the lower classes look down upon each other because they feel better knowing that they are not dead last in the rat race to the bottom.  What will end up getting lost in the artificially created divisions that plague the lower classes is that they have the same goals: to be loved by family and respected by peers, knowing that the next generation will have a life a little better than our own, and most importantly, at least a modest standard of living.

What then, are the chances that the lower classes will resist the divisive strategy of the significant classes to keep them from getting their well deserved share of societies resources, along with respect and dignity?  Not very likely if the culture continues on the current trajectory that it has been on.  People are often distracted and not always through technology, but in the daily struggle to put food on the table and a roof over their head, let alone a family.  These struggles create a sense of helplessness in those who would benefit from solidarity and creates a cycle of exploitation that never seems to end.

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Education, History, Politics, Satire, Social Commentary, Socialist

Strangled By the Invisible Hand

The grasp of the invisible hand is far reaching and wide enough to control every part of ones life.  No matter how hard a person may try, they are subtly controlled by forces they often do not recognize.  From personal forces such as authority figures to politicians who could not even remember their mistresses name, people make decisions without consideration for how they effect people living in more precarious circumstances.  Power is likely the motivating force that compels the decision makers to control the lives of those who they think are beneath them.  Dreams, goals, and aspirations that an individual hold for themselves are immaterial unless they serve the interest of people who are in power.

Whatever class a person is born into shapes the way they view money and power dynamics.  Unchangeable factors such as race and ethnicity play an outsized role in how a person is treated by their peers in ways that can be good or bad, depending on if one is born in the in group or out group.  Geographical location outlines the way people see the world because of access to resources: living in a rural area means going to the store can be a bit of a drive as opposed to an urban/suburban area where people can just walk to the store.  The physical and mental environment contorts people into the person they will eventually become.  For the young these factors are not their choice to make, and adults have marginally more autonomy over their lives if they are in an out group.

Despite what some may believe, the invisible hand is not religious predestination, but the manifestation of power relations based on characteristics ascribed to people due to some random societal status.  Recognizing that forces beyond a person’s control exist is a major acknowledgement in such an individualist culture.  Pretending that individual achievement is the key to success omits the possibility collective success that can carry a person through harrowing situations.  Technological innovations appear to replace human needs whether it is a computer that can do a task that a human being used to do, or worse yet, as a way to compensate for the lack of human connection that seems to have gone missing because people tend to suffer in silence.  The concept that people are not always in control of their own destiny is a frightening thought that any form of escapism becomes a welcome routine.

The concept of the invisible hand, as it currently strangles people in society, can become overwhelming to the point of blacking out.  The hand pushes people to the ground without regard to the effect of the person kissing the cement.  People often feel insignificant and feel that they play the role of a puppet on a string and no one can see or feel those strings.  Humanity is much more than being a puppet, but people often forget the emotional part of humanity.  There may not be much a person can do about the people who control the invisible hand, but they can use their own hands and reach out to another person as a show of support.

 

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Education, History, Politics, Satire, Social Commentary, Socialist

Expedient Evolution

What causes someone, particularly those who are in power, to change a conviction that is so deeply held that it is a part of a person’s identity?  The term evolution is associated with biology class and how lifeforms change over time.  However, in the political realm, if someone were to evolve they had a change of mind, and possibly heart, on various issues.  Many theories about evolution claim human beings were reptiles at one point in time and they evolved into the human beings that we know and hate.  In a symbolic sense, to devolve entails returning to the reptile stage because comparing a person to a reptile is an insult in our culture.  Looking at this in a skeptical light, politicians who change their views should be more closely associated with chameleons for their ability to blend into a background.  Like a chameleon, they adapt their outer appearance to their surroundings, but they are the same person inside.

On the surface, changing a stance on an issue is smart because agreeing with other people makes them more likable.  Likability is a major factor in getting people to support them no matter what the profession is because being likable means one can stay in that position and has more job security.  Being in tune with those in power in power requires certain personality traits, agreeableness being a big one, makes one more appealing.  Conversely, a politician who can read people and get them to support them will stand a better chance of getting elected.  A truly skillful person can adapt their views in a way that appears seamless and has very few inconsistences.  This task is made all the more difficult because over time people change their minds.

Unless someone is good enough to predict the future, most people have views that will appear retrograde fifty years in the future.  The trick to convincing people is to make it appear that they are not too transparent in their changing mindset.  It is amazing to hear a politician claim to be the voice of the people around election time, yet in the interim that populace streak is nowhere to be found.  On the opposite side, powerless people, especially ones from marginalized groups, may hide their true opinions in order to not offend those who are in power.  Go along to get along is a tough pill to swallow, but can be important for their career.  The difference is that for the marginalized group this is more of a survival tactic, while a politicians shifting views is an attempt to get/remain in power.

People say the admire conviction, but depending on ones status in society that may not work in their favor.  For those who are in power, especially politicians, any reptile is an apt metaphor for their behavior with snake being the best comparison.  Powerless people have to become chameleons in order to get their foot in the door.  Whenever the powerful adopt the chameleon traits they appear more snakelike because it is not necessary for them to do so.  The truth of the matter is that everyone has to make changes in their viewpoints, because if they don’t the world will leave them behind and the world can be a lonely place.  If people were completely honest all of the time and said what they really thought nobody would like them, because without a façade, most flaws would make them remotely attractive.

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