Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005, 12:42 pm
I was going for "evangelical" but it ended up as "self indulgent and preachy".
“They” want to keep us downtrodden, they want to make sure we don’t go upsetting the status quo. They have set us a position in life and don’t want us moving out of it. They want you to settle down into a safe career, get married, get a house, and build up a mountain of debt to shackle you in that position for the rest of your life. They make you want things beyond your means, slowly persuading you to bind yourself in a Faustian deal with them that will place your children and your children’s children in similar bonds.
There is no “they”, not really. There is no centralised group with a rigid master plan that is being enacted on a global level. Instead there are thousands, if not millions of individuals around the globe doing their best to rise to the top by continually trampling you down. Each one has a plan, a plan for every man, woman and child they interact with. Banks promote the idea that you need a car when you can walk to work or get the bus. Fashion companies tell you that you are ugly without their product. Entertainment companies pretend you are missing something by not buying their movie or game when in fact it is nothing more than two hours of the same tired, trite nonsense penned by hacks. Each group, each plan, is designed with no purpose other than to elevate the chosen few above you, above the masses.
These pied pipers lead us all on a merry dance to our own spiritual destruction, the inevitable result being a lifetime of regrets and creating a culture that our children will only find it harder to escape. We know this yet we refuse to acknowledge it. We spend a third of our adult life in jobs we hate in small, uncomfortable offices doing the same damned thing every single day. We have no real expectation of reward or advancement because those responsible for letting us progress guard their positions jealously and know that letting us progress devalues those positions. They will not let the truly talented people advance into a role where they can excel because they fear that they will be revealed as charlatans and talentless frauds in the process.
The saddest thing is that we could so easily be free, we could refuse to play the games any more. We could stop running like rats through a maze with the hope of a reward at the end only to discover yet another maze and more promises. We know this. But we don’t stop, we bury the knowledge, the secret to our freedom beneath the recitations, assurances, threats and promises they give us. We live our life convinced that what we do is right, all the while knowing that we are wrong.
All we need to do is stop, stop buying into the hype, stop being more interested in a TV show than we are in our own supposedly loved ones. Stop spending more time at a computer than outside with the wonders of nature, wherever they may be. Sure, do a job - that bit is inescapable right now but do something you find remotely interesting, don’t take a job you hate because the pay is great, it just erodes your soul one day at a time. Live within your means, enjoy the simple pleasures. Work to live rather than living to work and don’t listen to the demands that you work Saturdays for no benefit to you. Create something instead of watching another tired rehashing of some terrible TV show or playing yet another computer game that looks and feels like the last ten. Spend your free time doing something that improves your own lot in life rather than working to ensure that your boss can afford another new car or for the false assurances that you too will be able to do the same one day. Here’s a secret. The guys who write those TV shows, the actors, the game developers, the fashion designers, the models, the celebrities – they all hate their jobs too. They want more money, they have as much stress as you do, if not more. They’re just as unhappy as you are. They’re nothing to aspire to.
Just stop playing their damned game, even if you win, you lose.
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC)
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC)
RSI + Agreement.
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC)
Ah, it all becomes clear :)
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
Give me a house, a place to call my own, a nest to decorate and arrange as I please, and I will happily give up the rat race for higher pursuits.
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC)
Likewise, I'm abandoning blind ambition. As long as I can stomach what I do for that part of the day and I have somewhere safe to go to I'll be happy. Just so long as I do it because I honestly want to and not because I feel I'm supposed to or should have done it by now. I think part of the housing problem right now is that people are buying houses for the sake of it instead of delaying it a few years and having some time to enjoy life before settling down to create a legacy.
The one thing I'll say for having your own place is that - sure, you're exchanging one set of worries for another (I need somewhere to settle down Vs I have to pay the mortgage) but to me the mortgage IS the lesser strain - coming up with the payment shouldn't be impossible if you're careful but if you're renting you KNOW you're going to have to up and move again in a year or two, find a new place, deal wither overlaps in rent, new landlords and the rest and thats a terrible thing to have on your mind.
I guess my point is (and in the piece) that if you ARE going to work your arse off it should be to make sure you enjoy life. Finding yourself in a situation where you buy things to ease the tedium is missing the point entirely. Or to put it another way, retail therapy is a major fucking no no - a concept designed to part us from our cash in exchange for impulsive shit.
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC)
That's the one big thing that scares me about moving out of home. I know I can't cope with the idea of having to move every year, and I'm not so sure I can cope with the idea of living somewhere, where someone else used to eat, sleep, fuck, shower.. etc. So house it is :)
I sometimes worry that I'm missing out. That I've developed a three year plan for getting a house, and I'm missing out on other stuff, like travel and whatnot... but to be honest, I've never believed the other side is greener, I'm very much a home bird, and a place of my own would complete my life plan/desires (get through college, get a career, a place of my own, and someone special to share it all with). So yeah, it's a narrow point of view, but it's what I want!
I found your last comment amusing though. House buying as retail therapy...
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 02:26 pm (UTC)
Well, thats more or less the right idea I reckon, something that makes you happy overall, on a long term basis.
Heck, maybe its the nature of happiness - you get only so much so its up to you how you spend it - a lifetime of contentment or a few years of hedonism followed by years more of regretting hasty decisions. Not that this is always the case, I'm sure there are lifelong hedonists and restrained depressives but as casual observations go it seems reasonably close.
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC)
Amen brother! A great post. I have a slightly different view on things, but that makes it even better, you've raised some good points I'll have to think about...
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
The thing about that post is that its largely my own opinion but somewhat exaggerated for the context of Unholy Wars. Eventually it'll end up as a kind of in character manifesto.
For the most part I agree with everything I wrote but I'm slightly less antagonistic towards people who feel that career advancement is a path to joy or those who indulge in rampant consumerism. I don't think they're right, in fact I think they're kidding themselves but live and let live I guess, if it makes you happy. For that matter I don't begrudge people who want to do those things to keep their minds off the "real" issues - lord knows life can be hard enough without taking on other peoples' problems. That and it isn't quite so simple to stop playing the game.
So take the post, tone it down about 20% and you've got something more akin to how I really feel.
Wed, Mar. 16th, 2005 02:12 pm (UTC)
:D. Looks like Unholy Wars it's going to be "THE GAME" for me then ;).
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC)
That's not so bad. Nothing nobody doesn't know already, but then that's the point of it, which is a nice spin. I'd personally say the last paragraph needs to go (and be replaced, but not necessarily) but apart from that it seems like it'd fit nicely into your long-awaited.
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 03:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can never resist that final one line paragraph and it never works. You're right about the point of it though, everyone knows these things and we blame a mysterious "they" for our woes when they are entirely our own doing. Its a key theme of the game (in theory), the whole "man's inhumanity to man" thing that was recited at me over and over and over regarding Steinbeck's "The Pearl"
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 03:32 pm (UTC)
Ah, I meant the one before the final closing line. That last line is snappy enough - although it does finish things on an optimistic hope-for-the-future note, which may or may not be what you want given the tone of the piece.
Mon, Mar. 14th, 2005 05:18 pm (UTC)
ah, gotcha - the kind of list of reccomendations? Looking at it it does seem to be the bit that made me think it was preachy alright. It could stand to be trimmed severely and incorporated elsewhere at best - or even in a different piece.