Tag Archives: society

Slaves to Convenience

30 Aug



Some people watch news about starving people in Africa and may think to themselves, “Poor them. They are days away from starvation. Look at how they depend on others just to feed themselves.”

That last thought is rather tricky. In many places in Africa, they are dependent on others bringing them food. Many NGOs, including large ones like UNICEF are the only entities keeping some medium to large populations alive. People, sometimes living on the opposite end of the globe, give money, either directly through charitable giving or indirectly by paying taxes and then having their tax dollars turned into aid sustain these populations to the extent that if the money dried up and the food stopped coming in, these populations would be devastated.

These people are usually given pre-processed food stuffs. Not seeds, not knowhow, but sacks of flour, rice, beans, etc. This drives home the point that if the money goes away, the food goes away and people will starve.

My contention in this piece is, there is no difference between the people surviving on aid and the people supplying the aid in one crucial aspect, self sustainability. Neither population is truly sustainable if left to their own devices. Just as the needy population would be devastated if the aid dried up, the rich populations would be just as devastated if their chain of food were interrupted. Neither groups have the knowhow to sustain themselves. I must admit, I am not sure if I could keep my family alive if I could not go to the local supermarket or restaurant for nourishment.

They are both forms of dependence. The needy are given food thus taking away any incentive to learn how to cultivate food for themselves while the rich cannot be bothered with such activities due to their busy schedules. Both are slaves to convenience albeit in different ways. One group’s chains and shackles are free while the other group pays for theirs.

One just needs to look at the hurricane that hit New York City in 2013. The food supply chain was interrupted due to flooding and New York was almost out of food in three days. People were going into to neighboring states New Jersey and Connecticut looking for food. Imagine if these states did not exist and there was nothing but wilderness until the Pacific Ocean. There would have been massive deaths due to starvation.

It is easy to take for granted how easy our lives are. But it is also easy to take for granted how delicate the balance truly is. We are one natural disaster, one real oil crisis, one cosmic event such as a communications destroying solar flare, etc. away from living as if we were in the Stone Ages. Are you prepared in such an event? I know I am not but it may be prudent to be at least slightly prepared. A doomsday basement filled with rations, arms and ammunition and stashed of gold may not be in order but certainly a little basic knowledge of farming, plants and basic survival might go a long way.


How the iPod could destroy the creativity of a generation

1 Sep

CEll phone

Since the very first time a homo-sapien rhythmically beat on a log we, as a species, have been awed and inspired by music. Fast forward thousands of years and the ubiquitous ear buds can be found jammed into the aural openings of the majority of today’s youth giving them instantaneously access to rhythmic sounds of all kinds. Because they cannot be left to their own thoughts with the constant drone of the art of others playing into their head, this cannot be a good thing for their own artistic development. Furthermore, the music itself cannot have the same impact on the mind of the listener.

Imagine just a few centuries ago. To hear music, it had to played live and right in front of you. This is hard for us to wrap our heads around but not so long ago, there wasn´t even amplification of sound. You could not be more than a few dozen of meters away from the artist to hear them make music. This diminished the chances to hear music. In this way, the music could be planted in the mind like a seed to be left to germinate in the mind of the listener. Today with the constant onslaught of art being injected, it no longer has this time to sprout roots in the mind. Music is no longer reflected upon but consumed ravenously and sometimes not even deliberately.

Even as little as a few decades ago, hearing a great song was a beautiful thing of chance as you had to wait for it to come on the radio, be in a household with an archaic record player or be fortunate enough to be in the presence of live music being played. Now, we have the access to any song at any time right on our communication devices. This will decrease the creativity of the next generation as the constant feeding of art directly into their head will retard the creating of art. The mind, much like the testicles of a steroid abuser that stop producing testosterone when artificial test is introduced, will atrophy and stop producing its own unique art.

Stark Contrasts

12 Aug

Stark contrasts are painful. When the poor look upon the rich, it hurts. It hurts to see what they don´t have and they feel shame, though not usually consciously, for not being good enough to obtain it.  When the ugly look upon the beautiful, it hurts. They feel they are lesser people because they repel other people as opposed to attract them.

One contrast does not hurt so badly. That is the contrast between the intelligent and the non-intelligent. One cannot hurt from what on cannot perceive. Ignorance is a beautiful pain blocker. One cannot be emotionally hurt by what one does not know. Therefore, a very painful combination is to be poor, ugly and intelligent. This was Warren’s problem.

He was born into this combination. Deformed at birth due to his mother’s excessive drinking during pregnancy, poor by birth due to his father’s absence and his mother’s excessive drinking. He was intelligent by birth through some obscene curse. Warren had it bad. How he dealt with the latter didn´t improve the two former conditions.

He took the low road. He felt it better to numb his awareness of his situation by making his eyes bleed with any drug he could get his hands on. If he could swallow it, inhale it, inject it, he did. This certainly didn’t improve his appearance. He looked, for lack of a better word, dead. He was many pounds underweight, had a sickly pale green color to his skin, and was never kempt. Because of this he looked even more monstrous than he would naturally, which was still quite bad. He had naturally droopy eyes, a very misshapen head that came to a point, freakishly short limbs and a distorted smile.

Surely the chasing of and using of all these chemicals didn´t help his financial situation either. He stole or scavenged for what he needed. He completely destroyed any chance of improving the two things that were most difficult for him to handle, his awful appearance and poverty with the sole purpose of destroying the thing that made him sharply aware of them, his mind. It didn´t work one bit. When he was under the influence, his mind raced to depths of despair giving him even more painful insights into his situation.

One day he came to a realization. He was not ugly. Society said he was. He didn´t need money. Society required it of him. With this epiphany, he proceeded to do the most practical thing that he could do to alleviate the situation. He painfully weaned himself from all the substances that his body had come to demand. He packed up a survival kit, of mostly stolen items and headed into the woods.

In the woods, there were no people with their cruel sneers to remind him of his shame. There were no mirrors, save a floating reflection upon a calm lake that would actually smooth away some of the harshness of his features. There was no need for money for the only commerce that takes place in the woods is survival for one’s sweat.

Warren lived the rest of his days beautiful and wealthy.