The United Way is biased but the overall sentiment rings true. American society is absolutely predatory aka “Fuck you I got mine”.
And if you think that is a good thing you are part of the problem.
Poverty in America, in other words, has become endemic and ubiquitous because its systemic and structural. It’s baked into the system. It’s a feature, not a bug. And most Americans these days, I’d wager, understand this intuitively. Work hard, play by the rules, become something, someone worthy. Be a teacher, engineer, writer, coach, therapist, nurse etcetera. What do you get? You get your pension “raided” (read: stolen) by hedge funds, you get your income decimated by “investment bankers”, you get charged a fortune for the very things you yourself are involved in producing but never earn a fair share of, you get preyed on in every which way the predatory can dream up.
I totally relate to withdrawing from the world and would do it if I had the ability to. For me, it's less that I've been rejected or bullied and more that living in American society gives me an uncomfortable feeling of cognitive dissonance. It's kind of a terminal situation as I've tried to make the best of things but the only thing that really helped was when I was living in a hippie commune (which wasn't sustainable long term because I have responsibilities like aging parents). I just don't like our culture and I don't like our lifestyle. I'm not suited to it. But more than that, I think the way we live is morally wrong in too many ways to enumerate here, in too many ways to cope with some of the time. Living the life I need to live to get by is painful to me. I'm fundamentally uncomfortable with the basics of what we've built as a civilization. I hate cars or cities that are built around cars (the sounds they make are really abrasive to me- it's just one of those things that's like nails on a chalkboard and you can't explain why), I hate having to give my time and labor to make someone else rich, I hate working just to spend my money on nonsense, I hate the anti-intellectualism of American culture, I hate the hyper capitalistic antisocial nature of our economy, I find American politics deeply offensive and can't tolerate discussing or hearing about the events of the day, I hate that nobody notices that to live you have to go into debt and that the powers that be want you to go into debt so that you're a slave to them, I hate commuting, I hate that most recreational activities in the US are centered on consumer culture, I hate that your life is an endless hamster wheel of being funneled from one sterile air-conditioned isolated box to the next, I hate the idea of the nuclear family, I hate the rat race, I hate the suburbs and the unethical quantity of space/resources Americans feel entitled to, I hate the life of quiet desperation that most of us are living. Just generally, I don't jive with 99% of the norms in our culture. I just don't like what this particular life has to offer, and if I had the option I would opt out of society completely and spend most of my hours in blissful silence/solitude whilst petting my cat and tending my garden. I think most of us feel this way on some level, it's just that some of us are better at shoving down the feeling and going through the motions, either because we're afraid or because we numb ourselves to it.
It seems to be about surrendering, a bit, as I relax my constant need for control. I don't have all the information I need to perfectly plan out my life —– there's so much uncertainty about everything, that I can't possibly know how things should go, what I should do exactly, what will come next. So should I try to plan for every possible outcome, be incredibly prepared for any possible scenario, when I can't know what might happen? Or can I relax and surrender, trusting that I can deal with whatever does come up. So far, that's always been true.
Software startups are about stumbling into a market, not doing software technology well.
#technology #business #startups
The reality is our brain is vast and full of a myriad of random thoughts and impulses, some dark, but our executive function is the switchboard that chooses what we think and what we disregard. That is the reflection of who we are.
We have this fallacy wherein we think the deepest thoughts are the most real; that people who have private thoughts but do not act on them are hiding' their true self; but nothing is less true. It is who we choose to be and what we choose not to be and not to give weight to that is the best reflection of our self.
Words of wisdom.
My dad taught me a lesson when I was young. Never work at 100% of your ability, always work at 75%. If you have a bad day and only can work 50% that's not as far of a drop as if you were working at a 100% rate. If you work at 100% they will expect it every day give yourself a cushion for the bad days. Started a new job a couple of months ago and this rings true every day.
When in doubt double your prices.
My parents had been running their own tailor shop in the 80's, barely making ends meet, pulling in less than $20K a year.
It wasn't for lack of business, father was a master tailor trained in Italy and capable of elite bespoke craftsmanship. They had as much business as they could handle. The problem was that they were charging what they thought the work was worth rather than what their customers were willing to pay.
At some point, during the Reagan years, my mother had an epiphany and jacked up the prices massively, far beyond what my father thought was remotely reasonable. The result? Even more business, more pressure, more return customers. That put me and my brother through an expensive college.
There's something about high rates that makes customers feel more important, it's a status-thing and it also propels them to take you more seriously even if they have you do low-value stuff.
Never underestimate your ability to get used to something and take it for granted.
It's astounding how much humans adapt to their circumstances.
Basically, everyone has a baseline that we'll call normal and that's how happy/sad/angry/frustrated you feel on average.
This baseline will look different for every person and is based on their life up to that point but the important thing is that everyone feels roughly the same at their baseline.
When something worse than your baseline happens you'll feel bad and when something better than your baseline happens you'll feel good.
Your baseline might be playing video games, browsing the internet, having nice food and a good home. Your good day then might be a night out with friends in town. On the same scale your good day seems so very privileged compared to a family dinner at McDonald's but the both of you felt equally good at the time.
It's important to remember we all live our own lives and we can't hold ourselves to the same standards as others for that reason. That's why we also shouldn't hold it against those who have more than us when they have a bad day just because you have it worse. For that person their bad day feels just as bad as your bad day does to you.
We should acknowledge the privileges we have and be thankful but also we can't beat ourselves up over it.
It's us. Humans. We are the weak link in the chain. Ultimately, there is nobody to blame. We are just born broken.
Human cognition is riddled with exploitable defects. Biologically we are basically just highly pretentious and neurotic monkeys. All of human history is full of people looking for someone to blame for their condition (gods, devils, spirits, corporations, etc) but it never changes.
Keep in mind, from an evolutionary perspective we are exactly the same people who were burning witches at the stake and throwing people in lakes to determine their criminal culpability a few hundred years ago. We just have a different set of superstitions and delusions now.