THINKING ABOUT SOCIETAL DIVISIONS

Well, I’m feeling a tad bit under the water…er…the weather today. But that doesn’t mean I’m not feeling awesome. Wait. That’s literally what that means. Anyways, I was thinking about all the content that exists on the Internet, and how little of it we actually know. I mean, think of all the memes you know. Or…don’t know. There are so many memes. Like so many. Seriously, do you think you know them all? I certainly don’t.

Which made me think about how divisive the Internet can be. We all know there is a separation between the news people read. The right reads Breitbart, the left reads Huffpost. Whether or not one is based in fake news and the other is based in reality, there is a split between what people read. Which indicates to me that we are split into sectors in the world. And it makes me curious if people have always been that way. Like, for how long have we drawn lines? That’s what countries are based on, right? Just lines that say “don’t cross this if you aren’t from here.” Before that, we had tribal lines, right? Like…I’m from tribe x and you are from tribe y. We’ve been erecting borders between each other for literally thousands of years.

Which makes me curious of how people dealt with lines before today. I mean, tribes obviously had wars, and those didn’t really end well. To me, that means one of two things. Either, we are a species incapable of change in this manner, in the sense that we are incapable of rising above our animal instincts to kill people who get in our way. OR we just haven’t gotten there yet. Do I have a clue as to what it is? Nope. But I do think that there is strong evidence that shows we haven’t gotten there yet. Firstly, we’ve developed systems to prevent illegal activity. The police are an obvious aspect, though to me it is clear that some amount of reformation needs to occur before it can actually be successful. Laws are another example, though these too are imperfect, since they can be twisted or divided in a way that favors certain groups.

So how do we move forward? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the best way to move forward is to try new things. Big border walls? Not really a knew thing. Strong armed, charismatic leaders? Not really a knew thing. A system that promotes the well being of the economic elite? Not really a knew thing. But that’s just my two cents. What do you think?

 

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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Happy birthday America (also to my younger brother, so I’ll be keeping this short today)! These days have been a wild ride. Being American this year means something different than it meant last year. This year, it means that you likely do not support the current president of the United States. It also likely means that many of the political decisions being made are not in the best interest of the common man. Which, ironically, is the backbone of any good society. When the lower and middle class (AKA the bulk of a society) is doing well, there is no need for revolution. Revolution is the bane of an established country.

That being said, it is also a boon to refurbishing a failing system, and with all the political power that various corporate entities carry, it might be a good thing for America to re-experience its own revolution of thought, especially speak that the revolution that birthed this country was heavily focused on the little guys. It was about standing up to the corporation that was the British Empire. It wasn’t about putting American businesses first, but rather giving the businesses of America a shining city on a hill to display their wares equally.

That is the kind of America we need to go back to—one open to revolutionary ideology, with compassion for the commoner. Not some business-centered bull, that would suppress news media. The core of a country isn’t its corporations, but the people inside them everyday, making sure the lights come on in the morning.

——

 

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TALKING ABOUT THE VOID

Do you ever hear the aching call of the black void, so calm and so quiet, yet full of remorse and desperation? With the controversy over 13 Reasons Why, as well as the general sense of nihilism among many of my Millennial counterparts, I figured I should take a short time to talk about it, since I shared in an interesting conversation about “the darkness” with someone recently.

As I and others of my age group grow into adults, we become more and more aware of our place in the world…as tiny specks. One in seven billion. It is hard to feel special when the numbers are so stacked against us, even if we are the biggest living generation around. The sense of hopelessness and inability to succeed seeps into our everyday life—which in the grand scheme of things is ironic, since Millennials are better off than most generations that the United States has experienced, in terms of upbringing and living conditions (though that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Saying someone with a DVD player is more well off than someone with a VHS player is negligible when neither has a television). I think this is an apt reason for why Millennials are often considered entitled, but I don’t really want to rehash an argument that boils down to opinion and chosen perspectives, so that’s all I will say on that.

What I do want to talk about is the sense of hopelessness; the so-called “void” people often reference. Maybe it is because we have (sort of) normalized feelings of depression, enough to where people can speak more openly about it, but I don’t know. I think perhaps the actual depression might be hidden somewhere else. Regardless, this void is something we (Millennials) talk about together. The general sense of “I don’t want to adult” or “everyday is awful.” First of all, it isn’t the first time this has happened—every generation goes through struggles becoming an adult, Millennials are just a little later to the party.

BUT, this sense of hopelessness also is a call for unity and common ground. I can go up to anyone in my school and show them a meme about “struggles” or “#adulting” or “anxiety and depression” and they will get it—half of them will probably openly admit the text lingo “same”—which means “I feel the same way.” Which, I think, in some ways provides avenues for happiness down the line. This is because, in theory, life will not always be so daunting. At some point we will all come together with our common experiences and have one united voice. It also helps break down the barriers that other generations have experienced—race, sex, romantic inclinations, etc…they all pale in comparison to the feeling of “the void” (I am hopeful the same is true for class, but we shall see).

Anyways, those are just my thoughts on the struggle that many of the blossoming youth in America are dealing with. Do you agree or disagree? Have further thoughts of opinions? Let me know!

——

 

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I WISH

I wish the stop was as good as the start.

I wish the crop was as good as the carte.

I wish my time was as good as my tits.

I wish my rhyme was as good as the Ritz.

 

I wish the world was a bit more wise.

I wish the pearls were a bit less prized.

I wish my head was a bit more healthy.

I wish the Feds were a bit less filthy.

 

I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish,

But in the end I’m just a fish,

Barreling down into a sea

That’s full of bigger fish than me.

——

 

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FEAR VS. LOVE

Hello everyone,

 

Today I wanted to talk to you all about power. I have been watching House of Cards over the weekend, because I was deathly sick with something, and was bedridden pretty much the whole time. Anyways, if you have not seen it, House of Cards is a show about a politician named Frank Underwood, who uses his political prowess to rise to power, subverting the traditional means of democracy. He uses anything from intimidation to extortion to get what he wants. When people do not give him what he wants, he will not hesitate to take them out. That’s the basic idea of the show.

Now, these are all traits of a dictator, and they are pretty static concepts when said broadly (like I just did). Let’s take the famous Machiavellian quote “it is better to be feared than loved” and consider it for a moment. It’s certainly true, right? At least, for a leader. Beowulf is a famous example, who was loved by his countrymen but also, deep down, feared as well. Seriously, in the story of Beowulf, kingdoms much bigger than his refused to challenge his because he was so feared. There are many literary examples of this, but even historically it’s true as well. Stalin is perhaps the best example of fear. Stalin was an awful guy who ruled with an iron fist, but nobody questioned his title, even though it was undeserved. Those who did…well…added to the death count.

Of course, fear fails. Not immediately, but eventually. Nearly every revolution was born because someone stopped being afraid. Or rather, many someones. Eventually, someone slips through the cracks, and starts a movements that ends the regime. Whether another regime replaces that regime is a different story, but it can be said that the power of one individual runs out eventually, no matter how much they are feared.

Love, on the other hand, is ineffective for individual leaders. Certainly, it is good if a monarchy is loved, because there is less likelihood for the want of a revolution, but it is impossible for a monarch to please everyone. It’s part of why presidential approval ratings are typically not in the nineties. However, it is good for leaders to be loved in communal societies. When the focus is not on the one, but rather the collective, then the need for love increases. Typically, these societies do not have one individual “king,” and if they do have some sort of leader, that leader is not considered superior to their group. Rather, these groups need love because they need to be able to work together and discuss, constructively, the different avenues to success. Without discussion, no progress would be made.

I bring this up because we live in extremely divisive times. It seems that nobody wants to sit down and talk to each other, rather they rally behind their leader of choice, and hope to dominate the opposition. Which is unfortunate, because I think what made America great is the community. The idea that we can be individuals, but united by a single goal. Not a person, but a goal: each other. That’s something I think we need to get back to.

——

 

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THE JOURNAL OF GREGOR

Journal Entry #249

Hello again. Today’s been a lovely day. I spent the morning with flowers and some bees, then, at noon I was returned to my living space. At supper I was brought a book-a rare treasure in this place nowadays. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #250

Hello again. Today’s been a lovely day. I spent the morning walking on the moon, then took a trip through the stars till about half past three. By evening I was nearly to Jupiter. I was returned to my living space for supper, which was served on a cool metal tray. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #251

Hello again. I was kept inside all day today. It wasn’t especially fun. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #252

Hello again. They said they would be moving me shortly. Today I went to the hills to check out the view of the beach. I miss the warmth of the sun. The living space is small and lonesome, despite my exceptional ability to exist in it. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #253

Hello again. Today I am quite busy packing. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #260

Hello again. I’ve missed you so much. They left you at the other place. I’ve been writing on the walls in the meantime. And I’ve made a friend. His name is Pillow man. Pillow man is a lonely guy. I love to snuggle my head up against him. We got in a fight the other day though, and I torn a piece of his skin off. He’s not made like you or me either. He’s really soft inside. Did you make any friends? I saw a couple underlines in some of the early pages in you. No, you’re right, of course those were from me. How silly. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #261

Hello again. Today I felt the soothing water of the showers again. They said I smelled like a pig, but I’ve never really seen a pig so I don’t know what they meant. I do feel different now though. Like a snake after shedding it’s old skin. But I’m quite tired now. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #262

Stephen w@$ here.

 

Journal Entry #263

HOW DARE THEY TOUCH YOU. YOU WHORE. I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN. THERE WILL BE NO NEXT TIME.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #264

Hello again. I’m sorry for yesterday. I know it wasn’t your fault. They took it by force from you. I should have been more careful. I’ll make it right though. Don’t worry. They’ll never think about touching you again. Until next time.

 

Journal Entry #265

Hello again. It’s been done. Don’t worry about him anymore. He won’t hurt you again. I’m afraid though, because they said this was the last straw. And warden said it. He’s usually so nice to me. I love you. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Editor’s Note:

The journal ends here.

——

 

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DYSTOPIA

“And we’ve returned for another exciting adventure!” The neon green man yelled out from the billboard screen. Exciting indeed, I thought to myself dryly. I was walking along the sidewalk on a dreary Monday, with the sky threatening to break above us. Like myself, everyone was dressed in gray. Gray shirts, gray shoes, gray pants, even gray scarves. I mean, certainly, not everyone was dressed in gray, but it had the gray feel to it. You know, when everyone looks so boringly the same? A couple people had preemptively put their umbrella’s up—though I wonder whether that’s because they expected the rain, or were simply too oblivious to realize that it was not falling yet. I could hear phones buzzing (nobody ever set their phone to ring anymore—who could really take the looks of wonder from strangers when an unexpected song burst out? This was no Disney movie).

I, personally, do not own a phone. Not that it’s a bad idea, but I do not have much reason for it. My family died out a few years back—my mom died after a bout with brain cancer, and I never met my father. If I need to contact friends I know I will see them at work. Work. Everyday, everybody would pile onto the tram and—what? No no no, the tram. There’s no cars where I live. There is the work space and the living space. Each tram travels along a massive circular railing, roughly 8 feet from the ground, with break points at each living space, and at each workstation. To save time, the chairs of the trams fall out and drop people from their seat onto a padded surface. This initially was a problem, until people realized (or rather, were told) that they did not need all the extra baggage they carried. There were printers at work, and everyone’s documents were paired between their workstation and their home. And besides, who has time to do anything special like that anymore? It’s not as though we had energy to do anything after we got off work at night.

After people got off the tram, they would walk through the narrow walkway back to their home. Roads were disposed of quite a while ago—they just took up too much space. The living spaces were already at their maximum safety height—at least, maximum in terms of cost efficiency to safety ratios. And the people had grown so obese that they were losing functionality sooner. A short walk to home on our own time was a little trade for both our health and government time. Still, I feel bad for the eighties. They live nearly ten miles away from the nearest tram stop. But, that’s punishment for low efficiency units.

I live in the fifteens. Fifteens are a great lot. They’re far enough away that the air is still crisp, but not so far that it’s a voyage to Tram Stop #3. There’s no “early to work” or “late to work” anymore. People come and go as they please. The companies decided it would be more freeing to do that. But there is a minimum work efficiency barrier, and in the even that it is not met the companies and the government have taken measures to motivate people to get back to work. They will limit warm water, leisurely Internet access, and reduce the quality of food flavor. Consistently low efficiency units are moved further away until they fix their problem—assuming their space hasn’t been reassigned yet. The fifteens are pretty high—I have worked quite hard to earn my flat. It even has a couch. You never really realize what it’s like to not have a couch until you sprawl out on one.

But enough thought about home. The walk to work from the tram station—Tram Station #92, to be precise—is quite a sight. The busy lights, the gray masses of men and women. It’s really something to look at. Everyone has a screen in their face, protective glasses on to keep the light from frying their eyes over time—early blindness was a sign of systematic inefficiency. The air was moist, yet as always it was nearly odorless. The light scent of rose petals wafted through the air. I’m told somewhere, a higher up has the last garden in the sector, and that we are lucky they leave the window open for us to smell it. Though, truth be told, I’m almost certain they simply pump the scent into the airwaves. Otherwise that would be a vacation attraction.

——

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OUT OF TIME?

I have been wanting to talk about time for quite a while. We have taken time to be a quantifiable idea—I mean you can look at the phone in your pocket and check it pretty much whenever. Or right now, in the corner of your computer screen. You can definitively say, “oh hey, it’s 3:00. Cassady has posted another piece of writing for me to read!” People love to say things like “Time waits for no man,” and “it was only a matter of time before __________ happened.” And that’s fine. I mean, I wear a watch, I budget my time. I live on a schedule for my day-to-day life. And that’s fine. In many ways, by monitoring my time, I have a greater ability to do the stuff I want to do in my life. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t schedule my life (whoa so meta right?).

But time is something we take super seriously, and it shouldn’t be that way. Time is just a measurement of distance, speed, decay and human perception. Really, think about it. How do you know the length of a day? It’s one rotation of the Earth. That’s the distance it takes for one point on Earth to reach its starting point at a set speed. How do we know how long a year is? It’s one revolution of the Earth around the Sun. How do we know how old a fossil is? We check where it was buried, use science to deduce how long ago the rocks it was buried with formed, and estimate from there. Time isn’t that serious. It needs to sound serious so people will make it matter, but it isn’t that serious. Time is a human construct.

All these measurements don’t happen if people don’t exist. We’ve chosen to measure sunrise and sunset as the period in which we can do things. But think about it, out in space, how do you know when a day is over? Without a watch, you don’t. Now, sure, your body might be able to signal to you that you are tired due to thousands of years of evolutionary development. That’s a circadian rhythm. Though theoretically, if a human were devoid of Earthly experiences they may never have formed one. In which case, where does time exist in space? Well, it doesn’t really, because time is a human idea.

Now, you’re a smart person. You read through all this and said to yourself “yeah, duh. But I still have to get to work on time, or else I’d get fired.” And that’s great. I have two jobs and am a full time student. I know what you mean. But since human life is fleeting, I’d like for you to take this idea into consideration when you are reflecting on your own life. Is the time you have really worth sitting through traffic to get to your dead end job, everyday, for the rest of your life? Is it not reasonable to take the week off to see something you’ve never seen before? You’re not just a number, you’re a person. People are special. We have the ability to think for ourselves. You could get up and walk out of this room, right now and—wait come back! What I mean to say is that you can make choices for yourself that change the course of your life. Certainly, you should think of the ramifications, but don’t be so focused on “this will take me a week to do and I don’t have that kind of time, so it’s not worth doing.” Instead, start thinking about things as “I want (or don’t want) to do this. So I’m going to do it, and if it takes a year or a week, then so be it.”

——

 

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CARDBOARD KID

I’m a cardboard kid.
I’m faded brown on one side
And printed white on the other.
I’m exactly what they wanted me to be
They made me out of leftovers
And drew a smile on me.
They separated me from the collective
With an industrial grade X-Acto knife.
And they played with me
To fulfill their amusement
Until they found out cardboard
Was weak and flimsy.
My legs were bent and broken,
My arms were torn apart
And I was cast aside
Like all the rest of the cardboard.
Yet I’m still a cardboard kid
With cardboard dream
And cardboard feelings
But to them I was just a play thing.
And that’s why they cut out another one.

GO VOTE

Hello everyone,

 

Alright, I’ve decided to take a bit of time today to impress upon my growing readership the importance of voting (like no doubt every other website is doing right now as well). People always talk about how you should go vote, and that is super important that you go vote. Even if you are voting between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. I don’t see voting quite the same way as I think most people do, especially not the people who say that “it is your duty to go vote as a citizen.”

Voting is a decision. And, like everything else in this life, it starts with the choice of yes or no. Do you want to get off the computer to go vote or not? Well, I’ll start with reasons for not. First, neither candidate appeals to you in any remote way. In all honesty, I have no clue how this could happen, but for arguments sake lets roll with it. Lets say that you think that the only answer to all of our problems exists in putting the whole world into a black hole in space. I don’t think any candidate wants to solve problems that way, so that’s an example of this (I suppose). Hungry? Black hole it. Annoyed with the neighbors? Black hole them. It doesn’t make much sense does it. But, in this instance voting is irrelevant because you will not get any aspect of life that you want out of the choices.

The next reason not to vote is that a person doesn’t have time to. And I don’t mean “I don’t have time to” people. I mean “I work from 4 am to 11 pm with a 30 minute lunch break” people. That’s a pretty feasible excuse, and it’s a problem with society, but it’s a reality. The last reason I can see is that you simply don’t want to participate in the world as we know it. I think of monks in off the grid areas when I think of this, but the people who are completely out of touch and unaffected by the rest of the world, and do not care how the world outside of their space deals with everything, and knows their space will not be enclosed upon in their lifetimes. To be honest, those are all the reasons I can see to not vote, but again, it is your choice to vote. Let’s get into the reason why.

The reason is simple. The person elected will change how the country works and, and this is the important part, that will impact your life. “But these candidates both suck” is an excuse I hear often. So? Doesn’t one suck more than the other? Life doesn’t always give good options. Sometimes it’s jail or death. Sometimes its college ruled paper or wide ruled paper. Sometimes it’s a 10 hour shift or a 12 hour shift. Neither choice is good, or even exciting, in some points in life. But they will have an impact on you. They might start a world war. Or not start one when it needs to be started. This is the simple reality that we live in. And it’s easy to find something to agree with a candidate on. One person want’s to limit the people entering the country, one person wants to expand the minimum wage. Neither of those matter to the average person? I doubt it.

One of the things that I can understand that make voting hard is a hierarchy of values. Maybe you think that Donald Trump’s border security pitch is ideal, but you think that Hilary Clinton’s position on wages is also ideal. How do you choose? Well, which is more important? This is called a hierarchy of values. And they can be the tough choices, but they are choices that you need to make in life—life doesn’t make choosing easy every time. But if you do not choose, then things end up worse for you when the ideal you eventually decided was secondary, but could not decide when voting was happening, wins. Maybe you feel like your vote doesn’t matter. It does. Because while one drop of water does not make an ocean, without any rainfall the sea would be empty. And every drop, from the first to the trillionth, adds depth to its waters. So please. Go vote.