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Do poor, desperate losers need love too?

7 Feb

The other day I missed my train because I was having a conversation with a stranger about the universe (basically). More specifically, we started out discussing food stamps and people who abuse the system and end up buying cigarettes and beer with their food stamp money and don’t throw their cigarettes in the trash instead of the floor when they’re done with them.

This last point was of particular frustration for the strange man I was speaking to.

Obviously the easy thing to say here is that those people suck and that it’s too bad they exist and feed off our otherwise sterling society (LOLZ), but if we look closer, the issue becomes far more complicated (obviously). Anyway, in an effort to more diplomatically demonstrate this, I started telling this guy about the movie The Purge which effectively communicates why it’s kind of a bad thing to just say that “abusers of the system” are horrible.

Note, The Purge takes this a step further and, in that fictitious society, it’s pretty much ok to kill them once a year).

It went over pretty well and I drew a few parallels by talking about unemployed people and really anyone that’s being helped by some institutionalized form of support ends up having an internal battle of determination versus complacency and that this is a universal feeling that many people can’t get out of—particularly if they’ve enduring this particular form of internal battle for an extended period of time.

Or if they’re born into the system. For example.

Really, this issue doesn’t have anything to do with these people, or that guy, or my experience the other day, or unemployed people. This is one instance along the vast spectrum of self-actualization. Why be the best person you can be when you are pretty comfortable being pretty good. You know? Why put in the extra work, why search or yearn for the extra dose of motivation to strive for excellence? It’s soooooo much more work. It’s sooooooo hard. Isn’t it?

I don’t know about this part yet. I don’t know if it has to be so hard. It’s probably the kind of thing where your head messes you up and it’s only hard because of how you’re thinking about it, which is the biggest joke. Why is anything hard for anyone? Because they have convinced themselves that it is. Why do people spend their entire lives working in fast food? Or being unemployed? Or never having a job? Or never getting off the couch? Or being on that show “My 600 lb life”?

What the hell is that even about?

It’s because people don’t focus on what’s possible enough.
It’s because people think they’re losers a lot.
It’s because people think about what they believe to be probable too much.
It’s because of a lack of spirit. And years of negative conditioning.

And because striving for excellence is too hard and convincing yourself that you’re worth something special is in fact, quite readily and often, too hard.

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The theme is: Vegan

11 Nov

I was having a conversation recently with this girl I’m friends with In Real Life. About being vegans.

Just a couple of vegans (kinda) talking about being vegans.

I’ve thought about this and I don’t think that vegans talk especially extensively about being vegan as humans generally just talk about food a lot. But since being vegan has become so polarized lately, those that fall on the less than favorable reception of vegans notice all the self glorifying talk of greens and sacrifice and martyrdom because they just don’t like the idea of anyone eluding that they are wrong in one of their most basic, most personal choices they can make as humans:

What they eat.

Which is understandable.

And funny because then vegans walk around being all “why is everyone so mean to me” but really it’s because by being vegan you are inadvertently making a statement about the “other”  people who aren’t making such an obvious choice to refrain from meat. Should vegans keep their veganism a secret? Should they not participate in one of the human race‘s greatest fascination of food and what kinds of things to do to it!

Should they not rejoice in the delight of talking to others about what they eat? I will say that I feel vegans do derive joy from sharing a discussion on their food choices with non vegans. But the way I feel about it is, if you have the stamina to maintain such a lifestyle, then you should by all means gloat about it.

Gloat away!

Obviously, treating vegans unfairly would be silly, we are all equals here and all have a right to their opinion. Democracy! Fraternity! Plus vegans need to get over it and the idea that you need other people to agree with your choices just like everybody else. If you want support with your issues, talk to other vegans.

You can’t change anyone’s mind with self-righteousness.

We came up with a list of things that prove we (as vegans (or aspiring vegans <–that one’s me) ) are right and others (devil meat eaters who are basically bad people) are wrong. Just in case some people out there are unclear, here it is:

1. It’s like those people that say the Holocaust never happened!

Seriously how many findings and long, arduous nutritional studies and experiments need to come out that confirm most of our known lifestyle diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, the other one’s I don’t remember the name of… ) are perpetuated by consumption of processed and animal products before the general human population will actually believe that they are saying the truth and aren’t just neo-food-nazi propaganda fascist LIARS that are creating untrue stories for the benefit of sickly self-righteous deluded vegans.

These findings are real, truthful and sincere. It isn’t a farce. It isn’t made up. Where do I get protein from? Everywhere else. I could eat a leaf from a tree in the common and get protein from it (I don’t actually know if that’s true). Are we done with that question forever yet? Calcium? Do you even understand how many things have calcium in them? So many things have calcium in them… how much milk do you even drink?

2. It’s like those people that are like “I’m going to bikram yoga tomorrow! JKJKJKJKJK….”

Then there’s those out there that do recognize that these findings are true and this isn’t a huge ploy like that Al Gore guy who keeps talking about the planet MELTING?! (wtf right?)

… which actually narrows it down quite a bit: People who looooove being healthy but are addicted to opiates cheese (the whole cheese being addictive thing affects a lot of people… most of them think that’s a lie too) so they keep trying to be vegan but fail because their desires for animal products are too strong to battle their laziness and lack or originality/planning (I live in this category when I’m not being “vegan”. Or they haven’t read Skinny Bitch yet.

I have.

3. This is secretly the most important factor, don’t let number ranking fool you.

I don’t know that people really understand the benefits: You will look younger. That means you don’t need to save for plastic surgery when you’re rich and old! Your skin’s elasticity greatly improves. Basically every part of your physiology gets healthier (that’s why it cures all those deceases we mentioned in #1. Duh.).

Oh yeah. Being vegan makes you thin…

4. Death and Destruction.

The animals suffering thing… is kind of a factor. Considering how messed up that gets. Basically the cruelty rivals the treatment feuding African war torn nations inflect on each other. Which is pretty bad, in general. Actually, I would say it’s a combination of that and the Holocaust (again with the Holocaust…). It’s basically a dysfunctional, unsustainable, endlessly destructive tornado of suffering, chaos and inhumanity. Since we are doing these things to animals, I think people feel like it doesn’t count. But if you’re severing limbs, genitally mutilating and sexually mistreating (in the billions), does whether you do it to an animal or a person matter?

No. The answer is no.

And that’s because doing these things is fucked up in general.

And I mean I get it. I really do.

Who wants to worry about the animals? That’s heavy. Let’s not. I don’t want to think about the sad stories about animals suffering just like I don’t really want to talk about the horrors of Africa or Typhoon Haiyan or all the other things that are going on in the world that have nothing to do with me in any way because we aren’t all connected at all and my decisions don’t affect a global scale because I am so small and the world is so big! What butterfly flapped it’s wings where?

I didn’t feel a thing.

Friends not food. 

Only the unloved hate. A story about parking in downtown Boston. And more.

26 Sep

Yesterday took a toll on me, as I found myself victim to scheduling setbacks, miscommunications and emotional let downs—my mood found itself compromised with each passing moment. And it was a moment to moment thing—each giving into the surge of pandemonium that was collecting. Yes pandemonium. And hate.

I usually have no problems finding parking downtown, I always find a spot and it’s usually convenient. Sometimes there are inconvenient isolated events, but of course, yesterday there weren’t any parking spaces. There were spaces that cars had just parked into, plenty of people putting change in their meters and plenty of people sitting in their cars mouthing “No I’m not leaving” to me as I glared at them through the window inquiring when they were going to get the HELL OUT. Nicely. Obviously.

I kept trying to tell myself this was happening because I allowed myself to get into a bad mood and I couldn’t get myself out of it. I needed to find the kingdom of god and find salvation!

Which brings me to this invigorating Charlie Chaplin speech in The Great Dictator. If you’re having trouble making the connection, you’ll need to listen to the entire speech and make observations on your own time.

But here’s a quotation to rile your interest!

“Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all!”

Aside

Stars and Stripes AKA Dreaming of 2morro

30 Jul

I think there comes a point in everyone’s life where they think to themselves:

  •  “I want to farm blueberries forever”
  • “I will stand in a busy street and play a one string-ed instrument. Forever”
  • “I will dress up like a clown and be a clown for the rest of my life”

 This is real life. They find a way to make money, and they just do it.

 These are perceived as unorthodox choices. But they’ve happened. And we’d like to believe that there is a fundamental difference between people that choose a route like this and people who take a conventional approach to work life, but there isn’t.  Not really. I’m mostly in this mind frame freshly after having watched Orange is the new Black (entertainment gold) on Netflix and I’ve been starting to see that the odds of my becoming a convicted felon someday are also…very possible. Not just for me (jk especially for me, I be Cray) but for everyone.

 I’ve been creating a prison for myself in my current outside circumstances because I see there is something more liberating, more stimulating I could be doing with myself professionally and I simply haven’t found it yet. What strikes me more is that everyone does… all the hundreds of thousands of people doing one of five jobs in countless corporations can be.  Not that I’m advocating to coming to this realization with any hurry; now I feel like I’m waiting for inspiration to strike so that I can realize this untapped potential, but it sure beats denial that such an outlet could ever exist within the confines of one’s present life.

 Watch this ted talk, I think it’s my favorite one. The guy reminds me of salad fingers (in the most respective way possible, I love this man) and the conviction and passion in his delivery is stunning. I particularly like the part where he starts talking about kids… and what future parents will say to their children.

Love. It. SOOO Much.

 

Antidisestablishmentarianism, 2KOOL4SKOOL

24 Jul


When I went to college for the first time, I was sorely—dramatically disappointed. In everything—the system, the professors, the infrastructure, the people that went. It was very difficult to make friends because I was full of hate—something I thought was very unfair at the time. It was pandemonium.

The thing is, I couldn’t have been more delighted to go and embark on a profound mental journey. A magical place where merit and intellect served as hooks for latching onto the weave of substantive learning was exactly what I wanted to attract into my life and eventually I did, but not before a demoralizing search riddled with failed attempts at connecting more intimately with professors.

Wink wink. JkJk.

But seriously. I didn’t really want the college experience. I had lots of friends already, I hated beer pong and everything that came with it; I didn’t need someone to hold my hand, I needed someone to light me up. I spent a great deal of effort fighting with the administration over various annoyances that only seemed to waste time: parking, off campus/on campus, study abroad, taking classes without pre-requisites. Then there’s the one time I was unjustly accused of plagiarism.

Made me go ballistic.


 In a world where colleges don’t make money and students only go to college for the joy of learning (and not because it’s what you do), I would have gotten exactly what I was seeking—and without a moment’s hesitation. I wouldn’t have had to fight through countless disengaged professors to find the few diamonds in the rough (that are now destined to know me forever).

 But more importantly: I could have cultivated an environment that would have worked to enhance my contributions to society, not stifle them.  All’s not lost of course, it was still years of my life that went on and I still learned stuff… and yet I think… why does it have to be such a fight.

DAMN IT.

 Keeping with the vagabond theme of today, I think you’ll appreciate this video. If you can manage to listen to a 33 minute video that’s more of a recording…

I think you should.

JU Get ET? Tao. Pow. Love.

23 Jul

 

I mean… Yes.

I’ve done the Forum and the Advanced Course which are two seminars provided by Landmark (in exchange for money) and I feel pretty good. It was like an integration, communication overhaul.

I’ve learned the following things about myself:

  • I’m a lot more selfish (entitled, manipulative, self absorbed—but you already gathered that last one) than I thought I was (and I already had come to terms with the very consoling belief that “we are all selfish to a degree, OBV”)
  • I don’t listen and I never have because I’m so busy talking
  • I assumingly enter situations thinking I already know how things will go, and oftentimes the mind points to a negative resolution because fear of failure is always present and indulged, somewhat religiously
  • I would be more capable of manifesting the things I want in my life if it weren’t for the many shackles of the past I choose to carry around with me

That last one is pretty abstract and I get that… but if we think about kids, and how smart they usually are, we can start to see that if we embodied their same craving for curiosity and unabashed expression of spirit, we would realize a potential that frequently remains untapped. I know this isn’t a groundbreaking concept, but it is one worth exploring. Each of us can be invited to entertain how they might perceive the world if they had this fresh pair of eyes, which, in many ways is far more liberating than our tired, cautious eyes would ever allow us to be.

 Kids serve as such an excellent example. They don’t know anything. Sort of… and we foolishly believe that because we teach them the ways of the world, that they act as vessels which we fill with the knowledge we possess. Things like what’s appropriate according to societal convention, what to be careful of, what to fear and what to protect yourself from. Then we try and teach them good stuff too, like what kind of pursuit will turn the odds in your favor and what it means to embody the higher ideals of grace, honor, strength and courage.

 And what’s too bad is these higher ideals mean different things to different people.

 I think we’ll be talking about things like this for a while, there is so much to say. But lets not be sad for this moment of sobriety. Instead we rejoice, for all the expansion, exploration and expression to come!

 

State of Greece

19 Oct

20111019-184904.jpg

I’m in greece where trash is literally flooding the streets. Disposal workers are on strike.
Busses and trains are off and on because public transport workers are on strike.
My cousin’s six year old is home from school because the elementary school teachers are on strike.
Junior high and high school students will stay home tomorrow because their teachers are striking then.
Policemen are striking too. Right.

The situation as it stands:

• Huge demonstrations have taken place across Greece, from Athens to Thessaloniki and Syros.
• Tear gas and stun grenades used – citizens tell us how the events in Athens unfolded
• Latest Greek austerity package passes first vote in parliament
• European leaders have met in Frankfurt to discuss a solution to the European debt crisis

I’m not quite sure what to say about Greece really. On the one hand, there is very much a crisis. People are leaving their jobs to riot and protest in the street. 70,000 were reported to have come together in Syntagma Square (outside of parliament) in Athens and thats really quite a small area. Who knows how many more people have been protesting country wide. I’ve been in Thessaloniki where the demonstrations are milder and the only thing to do is go to the cafes. Of which there are rows and rows. And bars.

And on the other hand, people are out, at cafes and bars. All the time. Though that’s mostly young people. It’s very apparent that the general population is struggling. I’m struggling. Prices are much higher and the cost of living has certainly increased. Wages have decreased despite this and people are just generally demoralized.

And then the irony of it all is that everyone expects a quick fix. They no longer want their current prime minister, whom might actually be the only man on earth who can help Greece. Consensus seems to be that paralyzing the country with protests is going to bring about change. I wonder how much Greece’s deficit increases for every day everyone strikes. Because most workers get paid when they strike too. No one wants to pay taxes because they don’t trust their government. Which, so far, is actually pretty fair. And I can’t imagine a healthy state model that doesn’t have a solid foundational taxation program. Which Greece doesn’t.

Greek pride is another minus. What Greece should do is welcome private investment. And actually, Greece should sell as much of what it has to the private sector. Parks, stadiums, transport systems, property, whatever. All of it should either be leased or sold to private companies. Foreigners with money. The responsibility for upkeep and maintenance won’t fall on government spending and the proceeds will help Greece get on it’s feet. But from what I understand, this is another no-go because Greek people couldn’t stand the thought of selling it’s heirlooms to “the foreigner”. Okay. If they could get past this hurdle, then the Greek government could be better equipped to handle basic infrastructural management. Like having real streets and sidewalks.

Meanwhile getting a plain filtered coffee at a cafe costs €4,50. Which I think works out to $37.00 but my math may be a bit off with gradual fluctuation…

I guess I’ll do a quality of life index:

Average wage for someone without a degree in Greece: €1.300 – €2.200 a month
Average wage for government/municipal workers: €2.600 a month
Average wage for recent college graduates in Greece: €0,00
Average bag of tomatoes: €1,50
Average bus ticket: €0,80
Average taxi cab to and from the waterfront: €8
Average stick of deodorant: €4
Average low quality made-in-china graphic top: €17
Cigarette Tobacco: €4
Shampoo: €5
Rent for a two bedroom apartment: €300
Doctors visit: €45 or free if you feel like waiting around for their subsidized welfare health insurance doctors (IKA)
Bag of chips: €1,40
Bootleg handbag from nice Kenyan immigrants: €14

October is not a good month to visit Greece. Also the weather has been unusually cold. I only hope there won’t be residual air traffic controller striking when I have my flight.

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