Random Ramblings on Hollywood Movies

I’m going to go off tangent for this post and write on some random thoughts I have had over the last few years.  I’ll try to keep this more light hearted than some of my previous posts.

Why are space aliens in the movies usually such jerks?  The aliens from ‘Independence Day’, the foes of Sigourney Weaver from ‘Alien’, the large bugs from those campy ‘Starship Troopers’ movies (I actually liked that movie as I had a thing for Denise Richards in high school), the ‘Predator’ series, and the Empire from Star Wars are key examples.  Even Star Trek got in on less than pleasant aliens with the war loving Klingons and anal retentive Vulcans (though I absolutely loved Mr. Spock as the perfect compliment to Captain Kirk).  Only occasionally are there cool aliens featured in Hollywood like Superman, E.T., Yoda, and the Avatar aliens. And that’s about it, besides the trippy aliens from ‘2001.’ You would think any species that is advanced enough to master deep space travel would have abandoned their violent and animalist natures centuries before they set out to ‘boldly go where no one has gone before.’

Why are most movies about the future dystopic?  Most movies about the future are like the Terminator series, the Matrix trilogy, Equilibrium, Gattaca, Brave New World, etc.  Even H.G. Wells presented a real lousy future in ‘The Time Machine’ clear back in the late 1800s.  Can anyone show me any movies about the future where the future isn’t hellish?  I can think only of Star Trek and it’s various spinoffs and Futurama.  But even Futurama features immoral crackpot scientists and alcoholic robots who want to “kill all humans.” Seriously Hollywood, come up with some futuristic movies where the future doesn’t suck.

Why is it rich people or large corporations are always villains in Hollywood movies?  Who decided that having money makes you evil and being poor is virtuous?  Yeah I get that the Bible said “It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven.”  But the Bible, like many ancient works, is full of metaphors.  That’s how people get ideas across.  I use raging torrents of metaphors all the time.  If there were no metaphors there would be no music, no poetry, no religion, no philosophy, no literature, and no culture.  But I have known enough poor people, enough rich people, and enough middle class people to know that having money, or not, does not make or break your character.  All social economic classes have their share of jerks, saints, sinners, humanitarians, cranks, heroes, and losers.  Why are companies dumping toxic waste into rivers and supposedly holding back future technologies getting award winning documentaries made about their evils and the companies that develops life saving medicines and better yielding crops get maybe a thirty minute snippet on the Discovery Channel?  Seriously, where is the good news from big business version of Michael Moore?

Why does Hollywood feel compelled to roll out remakes of movies from the 1980s that usually weren’t that good to begin with? How many sequels do we really need?  I’m just waiting for the suits at the studios to roll out remakes of ‘The Princess Bride’, ‘The Breakfast Club’, and ‘Platoon.’ I heard a few days ago they are doing another Indiana Jones’ movie.  Harrison Ford has got to be in his seventies by now.  How much treasure can his tired old bones carry? Once again Hollywood, you’re running out of good ideas.  Maybe you should just let movie goers submit suggestions at the theaters or your Facebook pages.  Really, how many remakes of campy 1980s movies are we going to get subjected to before movie goers revolt in mass and just subscribe to Netflix or Hulu?

I have to admit I haven’t been to the movies in almost two years.  Most of the movie watching I do is on my computer with Netflix or Youtube.  I haven’t gone back because it just seems too much hassle to fight traffic, pay for a ticket, buy overpriced sodas and treats only to watch the same worn out story line over and over while the kid sitting behind me kicks the back of my chair as someone’s cell phone rings every five minutes.  Maybe I’m getting picky in my old age and not being hip or keeping up with the young people.  But I wasn’t hip even as a young person.  I love watching movies, don’t get me wrong.  I just love watching them at home.  In movie theaters they get kind of picky about people eating pizza and hot wings while having a beer during the show.  But I love the freedom of being able to watch movies at home.  Long live the Internet.

 

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New Normal verses Old Normal

 

When I was growing up as a precocious child in the rural corn belt of Nebraska, I was frequently asked “Why can’t you be normal”.  My classmates, the adults in my life, and even my own family asked me this frequently. I didn’t have the foresight or the courage then to ask “What defines normal” or even “Who defines normal”.

Looking back on it years later I know I never would have gotten any kind of direct answer simply because what qualifies as normal keeps changing.  In 1750 it was normal for two out of three children born in London, England to die before their fifth birthday.  Now in the developed world (and increasingly so in the developing nations) infant mortality is rare.  It is so rare now that if most of us were to look back five or six generations in our family tree, we would find that our most of our ancestors had more dead children than most of us have children or siblings.  That’s what breakthroughs in medical science can do.  As recently as my parent’s generation, most people were married in their early to mid twenties and had children within a few years.  Now it is quite common for people of my generation to not marry until their thirties or even not marry at all.  Back when my parents were in their twenties, if you weren’t married before thirty you were thought insane or gay.  Now the stigmas on both homosexuality and lifelong bachelorhood are in retreat.  Instances like these create new normals out of old normals that no longer worked.

There are things that go on now most people take for granted that may be looked out in horror by future generations.  Even though wars haven’t really been fought between developed nations since World War II, I can imagine a future where people will look back at their ancestors and wonder how we justified ourselves in fighting wars and proxy wars that went on for years.  Perhaps committing any kind of violence against other people will someday be viewed with the same horror we in 2016 view slavery, inquisitions, and wars of territory expansion.  I can hope, can’t I?  Perhaps in future years it will seem absurd for people to hate others based on their political views.  I can only hope so, otherwise I am forever condemned having to listen to people bicker back on forth about political beliefs on Facebook and Youtube when all I really want to do is chat with a few friends and watch a few videos.  I hope our obsession and splitting hairs over political beliefs will someday seem as absurd as Catholics and Protestants fighting during the Renaissance is to our 21st century sensibilities.  Besides it’s not like politicians ever invented any labor saving devices, cured any deadly diseases, did any serious scientific research, or thought up better and less cruel ways of living.  At most, they provided some funding and got out of the scientists and engineers ways.  Many of the most influential and beneficial people who made a difference in history never held a public office, won a battle, or sat on a throne.  Remember that the next time you take your political beliefs seriously.

Less dogmatic and hateful attitudes about political beliefs would be nice.  What would be even nicer is less stigma and discrimination against those with mental health issues.  Seems to me that having mental illness is one of those few things many people don’t feel bad at all about stigmatizing.  It is essentially stigma’s final frontier.  Every week it seems there are crime drama shows where the accused perpetrator is mentally ill or an introverted loner who doesn’t fit in.  It also seems too common someone with a mental illness committing a violent crime gets far more attention than homeless mentally ill people being beaten by cops or gangs of ‘concerned citizens.’  Funding for mental hospitals has been dramatically cut over the years, often leaving the most afflicted to either the street, prison, or dead.  It seems that prisons have become de facto mental health hospitals for a sizable portion of the mentally ill population.  I know that the stats are a few years old in the link.  But I have little reason to believe that the situation for mentally ill individuals in prisons has gotten much better in recent years.  The treatment of seriously mentally ill individuals, at least in my country, is barbaric and insane.  What did you think was going to happen when funding for mental hospitals was cut?  Did you think the problems of the mentally ill would magically vanish once the hospitals were no longer well funded?  Or did you think mentally ill people like myself are making our illnesses up and don’t need help?  There should be no wonder why I was so quick to self commit myself on two separate occasions.  There should be no wonder why I want to change my medications even after a few mini breakdowns.  I don’t want to wind up in prison or dead for the crime of having a psychotic breakdown in front of the wrong person.  You won’t prosecute the handfuls of crooked bankers who triggered the Great Recession but you will throw thousands of mentally ill people in jail because you don’t know what else to do with them?  Way to stay classy. This is certainly one old normal that is in dire need of a quick death and being replaced by a new normal of more understanding, compassion, and better treatments.  And yes, we can find the funding to do this transition if we care enough to do so.

Speaking of practices some currently on the fringes of normal society abhor, maybe even the age old practice of killing animals for food will seem barbaric to future generations.  If lab grown meat gains traction in future years it could.  Don’t be so quick to scoff.  In 1900, who would have thought Henry Ford and his insane motorized carriage would put the draft horse out of business within several years?  Or who would have thought in 1850 that John Rockefeller would find great and numerous uses for a scummy and sludgy nuisance called petroleum?  These two by themselves got rid of old normals and created a new normal.  The internet is a key example of a new normal.  If I was born even fifteen years earlier I would have never been doing this blog.  Who knows what new normals are on their way?  Stay tuned my friends.  Things are going to be getting more interesting than they already are.

Relapses and Lonely Friday Nights

The last several months haven’t been the most stable for my mental illness.  I had a “small” psychotic relapse yesterday afternoon.  Unfortunately this was at least my fifth breakdown since last summer and the second just in the last six weeks.  Things haven’t been stable and what I’m doing to minimize these relapses is no longer working.  I called my psych doctor and I’m now on the waiting list for an open appointment session.  I think I’m going to probably go back to my old medications.  They worked much better than what I’m on right now.  On the old medications I was on for at least six years I probably had only one or two relapses in an entire year, usually in late August or early September.  And even then the relapses weren’t as vicious as they are now.

I am afraid that changing medications could sink my attempts to lose weight.  I’ve lost over forty pounds in the last two years with these newer medications.  But these relapses are getting too frequent.  And even when I’m not relapsing I am more paranoid, more easily irritated, and more delusional than I have been in previous years.  One of my delusions now is that most people are stupid and malicious.  I’ve even gotten to where I don’t socialize in person unless it’s absolutely necessary.  But there’s only so much youtube, online articles, and computer games even a mentally ill man can do before such things become detrimental and unhealthy.

I can tell other aspects of my life are suffering.  I haven’t shaved in weeks and I don’t grow good beards.  I also haven’t showered every day like I normally do.  I haven’t been doing laundry as often as I should.  Things like my personal habits have been slowly deteriorating for the last few months.  I haven’t even gone to the park for over a week.  I normally go to the park three to four times per week.  Driving has become an irritable chore.  I drive so little now I usually go three weeks between refuels.  It’s been this way since mid October.  Besides a few snowstorms and one major blizzard, we didn’t have a bad winter.  Another delusion I have developed lately is an irrational fear that I’m going to get into another car wreck.  My social life and entertainment activities have been completely curtailed for months now because of the irrational fears that I’ll get into a wreck and that people are stupid and violent.  This is no way to live.  Changes are needed.

Breaking Out of My Normal

Anyone who knows about living with a mental illness is aware that what is normal for us is beyond the grasp of the unaffected.  Excessive anxiety, unshakeable fears, crippling depression, and bouts of unreasonable anger are scary for anyone without a diagnosis when they see us acting this way.  For us, it’s just another day at the office.  Yet there are times when things are going better than normal for us.  Mental illness isn’t just day after tormenting day of bleakness and horror.  There are times when we are doing alright, in fact almost indistinguishable from the normal who don’t have such problems.

These last several weeks have been such times when things have gone well.  I’ve gotten out and socialized more the last two weeks than the previous four months.  I have been avoiding my neighbors in my low income apartment complex by in large for the last several months.  Seems like my neighbors (everybody in our 50 unit complex is my neighbor as there seems to be little privacy) had been in more foul moods than normal.  It didn’t help that my three closest friends in here died in late 2014 to early 2015.  These were good, witty men who were pleasant to chat with.  After those three died, it seemed that we got a bunch of new tenants who were just in lousy moods all the time.  And as we live in tight quarters already, that kind of poison infects other people who in turn put other people in foul moods.  We have also had a rash of thefts in our complex the last several months.  Unfortunately, living in low income housing, who we get for new tenants can be hit or miss.  Lately we have gotten some cranks, jerks, gossips, and other assorted nonsense.  Finally I decided to quit hiding out in my apartment and just made it a point to avoid the losers and mingle with the sane and cool tenants we still have.  I didn’t even go to last year’s Christmas party because I didn’t want to have my holidays spoiled by toxic people.  But I just had to get out of my apartment more.  It gets too easy to hide out in winter when there’s too much snow and ice to really do anything.  I no longer want mean and stupid people dictating the terms of my life. I refuse to feel like a prisoner in my own home.

I got to see my niece and nephews last week.  They had a few days off from school and came up to see the grandparents.  We cooked hot dogs over an open fire and I played magnetic darts with the kids.  Found out the oldest, who’s going into middle school this fall, is joining the school band and taking classes in robotics.  I am thrilled about both, especially about the robotics classes.  My brother’s kids are always taking apart electronics and seeing how they work and how to put them back together again.  When I went to school in the 1990s, computers classes weren’t even required after sixth grade.  We had maybe a couple computers classes offered as electives but nothing like ‘one hour a day of coding’ that some places do now.  Pretty much everything I learned about computers I either learned on my own or from some of my more adventurous friends.  I would have loved to been able to take things apart and tried to put them back together or just trial and error computers as a kid.  I’m glad my brother’s kids are being encouraged to do these new things and learn from their mistakes.  All three of the kids in school are also in advanced classes and gifted programs.  My brother and I would have been in such programs but my school didn’t offer those programs years ago.  So I got to see my nephews and niece and got to hear about the projects they have going.  I hope they continue to do well.

I have also been tracking my eating and exercise for three weeks now.  I’ve lost almost ten pounds in those three weeks.  Besides keeping track of everything I eat and shutting myself off for the day once I come close to a preset calorie limit, I am not doing anything crazy or fadish.  I don’t even restrict anything, just how much I eat.  If I want pizza, I go to the neighborhood pizzeria and buy a couple slices and that itch is scratched for a few days. If I want a cheeseburger, I hoof it over to the McDonalds and buy a cheeseburger or two.  But I also keep track of what I eat throughout the day.  Yes it means updating a few times a day.  Yes it means being anal retentive about keeping records and watching calories.  But, it works for me.  The previous several months when I wasn’t tracking and gaining weight despite my exercising, I was no doubt eating more than I thought.  I don’t do that now.  I have lost close to ten pounds in three weeks and I didn’t even have to strain myself exercise wise.  I usually do only fifteen to twenty minutes a day but I do it everyday.  I suppose I could try to push harder on exercise but why burn yourself out one day and be forced to take the next day off?  That makes no sense.  What I am currently doing is starting to work again.  And it will continue to work as long as I keep following the setup I have figured out after years of trial and error.

 

It’s a Sane, Sane World

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Over the years of trying to learn what makes average people act the ways they do, the only absolute I have come to is this; the biggest difference between being diagnosed as insane or sane is the number of people involved. It is considered insane to have crippling paranoia or depression. It is considered sane to complain about your shortcomings but do nothing to address said shortcomings. Over the course of the almost three years I have done this alifeofmentalillness blog I have stated on several occasions I would do just about anything to be sane and normal again.  I should be more specific and revise this.  I would give anything to not suffer delusions of persecution, hallucinations, crippling bouts of anger and depression, and the general isolation that comes along with it.  But I do not want to become what most people would consider normal.  By that I mean I do not want to lose my ability for empathy.  From what I have seen out of normals over the years, they seem to have a general lack of empathy or ability to see things from others people’s viewpoints.  I do not want to be uncaring.  It causes a great deal of pain that I sometimes have to be mean and even borderline abusive to people just to get a point across.  I hate being angry and mean to people.  I’m not a natural jerk.  Never have been and never will be.  I don’t know how much of that is the illness and how much of that is my natural personality.  But I absolutely hate being mean and combative to people. If I can’t be pleasant with someone and have them be pleasant to me, I try to avoid that person. To paraphrase Lee Marvin from the classic ‘Paint Your Wagon’ “you don’t have to love thy neighbor if you just leave the poor fool alone.”  But too seldom have I seen anyone, mentally ill or not, just leave other people alone.

Another aspect of sanity I never want to possess is the tendency for group think.  I love having a mind and using it. I hate celebrity gossip.  I hate reality tv.  I hate tabloid journalism.  I’ve even come to hate watching sports on tv because of the base nature of what is modern sports journalism.  It doesn’t bother me that a pro athlete makes more than any worker that isn’t executive management or an entrepreneur.  If I had 50,000 people pay $50 for tickets to read my blogs  or ten million subscribers like some popular youtube personalities, I’d be wealthy too.  Besides, well over half of pro athletes wind up bankrupt within five years of their retirement.  Watch the ESPN documentary ‘Broke‘ to see how true this really is. I am however bothered with how people will build up someone with talent only to knock them down later.  That is why I hope and pray I never become famous or wealthy.  “More money, more problems” as the late Biggie Smalls said.

I love learning new things, which is a skill which will become more valuable than it is now in the coming years and decades as technological and scientific advances get even faster than they are now.  For years I have listened to normals complain about their jobs.  I heard the “Oh God It’s Monday” and “Thank God It’s Friday” memes long before I had even dial up internet.  And I’ve seen and read articles on both domestic and foreign news sites about how potentially we could see job losses to automation with future unemployment rates that would make the 1930s look like a bull market on steroids.  NPR had an interactive article I’m linking to about chances of different types of jobs being taken over by machines and computers.  For example many jobs in customer service will likely be taken over, but many traditional medical and STEM jobs probably won’t be automated anytime soon.  And I bring this up because now many people are fretting over their jobs being taken over by machines.  Seriously?  First you complain about how bad you hate your job.  Now you complain that you may lose said job that you were cursing not even a couple months ago?  Make up your minds, people.  Do you think your current job sucks or do you want to do that lousy job?  Personally I don’t care if the robotics take the jobs I’ve had, providing there is some restructuring to tax laws and social safety nets.  The robots are coming, make no mistake.  They will take a lot of jobs.  Advances can be temporarily delayed but will win out.  Robots and computers will take many, if not most jobs.  How will we address a significant portion of people who identified with their work for their entire lives being unemployed and behind on their payments?  I normally don’t talk politics on this site, but regardless of your political philosophy these are issues that we need to demand our lawmakers discuss, ideally sooner rather than later.

Believe it or not I have worked before, even after I was diagnosed with a mental illness.  I have been a retail clerk, fast food cook, waiter, factory worker, teacher’s aide/graduate assistant, dish washer, janitor, construction worker, farm hand, lawn mower, and newspaper delivery boy (when I was 10 years old).  And everyone of those jobs (with the exception of teacher’s aide) was repetitive, mind numbingly boring, required no creative imagination, and didn’t really make a difference to even my small hometown.  Most of those jobs stand a good chance of being automated within the next twenty years anyway.  So those jobs were drudgery, not stimulating, and I worked mostly with people who were not very creative or intelligent. But those were the only jobs available to me, at least in my small town and rural area.  I can foresee a mass migration out of rural areas and small towns all over the world (more so than now) once automation really gets rolling.  Even I may be going to a big city if enough of my hometown dries up and or stagnates.

Creative jobs will likely become in demand soon.  I liked the teacher’s aide job because I got to interact with above average intelligence people everyday, got to use computers, got to teach a few college courses as a substitute teacher, and was actually encouraged to use my creativity.  Unfortunately that job was contingent on me being a graduate student in the Masters in Business program.  I loved the job but didn’t do well enough in the classes to keep my job.  I could have seen being a computers instructor and research rat for the next fifty  years.  But I can’t because I don’t have that piece of paper that states I am qualified for a job like that.

So here I am living on the fringes of society because of my disability.  Wasn’t my first choice but that is the current system we live under.  I don’t make the rules, I just live by them.  I never wanted to just waist my mind on disability.  But the aspects of the illness that make figuring out office politics and dealing with vicious bosses and coworkers will not allow me to function in our toxic modern work environment.  I don’t see how normals function under such systems.  Perhaps normals do it only by copious doses of reality tv, alcohol, anti depressants, tabloid news channels that don’t report anything that really makes a difference (I watch foreign news casts even more than U.S. news because I don’t care at all about celebrity gossip or what steroid pumped football god beat up his girlfriend this week).  I didn’t like the work environments I was in.  Not because I couldn’t physically or mentally do the work.  Far from it.  I just couldn’t adjust to the environment of toxic coworkers and borderline abusive bosses.

As far as people who think I am lazy and just being a leech off the good tax payers of my nation, I wish to leave you with the following thoughts.

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I am definitely not one of the one in ten thousand who can make the breakthrough, perhaps maybe among the one in ten who truly try to appreciate the men and women who make breakthroughs possible.  If it weren’t for brilliant scientists working on psych meds I would be in a padded room in an insane asylum as would some of the coolest people I ever met.  If it wasn’t for medical science my dear mother might be dead because of heart and thyroid problems.  If it wasn’t for scientists and engineers we wouldn’t have the internet, anti biotic drugs, sanitation, etc.  I am grateful every day for the ‘one in ten thousand.’  Everyone should be.

Trying to Understand the Workplace With a Mental Illness

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I will give you a head’s up.  This is going to be a serious rant.  And I am going to, at least for this post, stop holding your hand and give you feel good platitudes about the life of a mentally ill individual.  This is a rant that is long overdue.  So here goes.

As a grown man afflicted with a severe mental illness, I readily admit I do not understand the thinking and actions of normal people.  I never have, even before I became mentally ill.  Seriously, there are things you normals do and complain about that seem insane to me.  But since that is the norm instead of the paranoia, delusions, crippling depression,and hallucinations of schizophrenia, the complaints and senseless actions of the normal are not construed as the manifestations of mental illness.

Today I would like to discuss the world of the workplace.  Ever since I was four years old and old enough to listen in on grown up conversations, I have heard adults complain ceaselessly about their jobs.  I’ve heard you complain about how your boss is an idiot.  I’ve heard you go on without end about how incompetent and lazy your coworkers are.  I’ve heard you complain about how unreasonable and demanding your customers are.  I’ve listened to you gripe about how bad government agencies and regulations are hampering your business and productivity.  Since my parents were health care professionals, OSHA was one of their favorite whipping boys. I have heard you normals complain about how mind numbing and soulless your job is. And I have definitely heard about you normals complain about taxes.

Ah, taxes.  Kind of appropriate so close to tax deadline here in the U.S.  You complain about how you pay too much in taxes, how the rich pay too little in taxes, and I have sure heard you complain about how people on disability and unemployment don’t deserve what they get in tax payer funded programs.  As if throwing these people in jail and asylums would be any cheaper.  And to line the disabled up in ditches and kill them is absolutely unethical and uncivilized.  I have heard you normals complain for thirty  years about how bad your jobs and lives suck. I for one am absolutely sick and tired listening to you normals complain about your jobs.  KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY!!! And I have to this very day never once heard even one of you idiot normals formulate a plan as to how you were going to get out debt, start that potential dream business, leave that abusive husband or codependent girlfriend, or how you were going to make sure your kids do better in their adult lives than you.  You are the primary reason your life turned out the way it is.  You are the reason you stayed at that dead end job in that dead end town just like four generations of your forefathers.  For once in your life complain about how bad you suck and actually do something to make sure your life stops sucking.  The facts are your job is lousy and your life is lousy because you settled for lousy.  Stop settling, start making great plans, or shut the hell up.

I admit what I have told you is harsh.  But you know what, I am harsh only because I care and love the human race and want to see us go on and keep doing cool things.  We have done some pretty cool things as a species already.  Cooking meat over fire, writing, the printing press, basic education for the young, fire arms, astronomy, mathematics, the steam engine, space travel, the internet, anti biotic medication, robotics, etc.  We’ve done some pretty cool stuff ever since we parted ways with our monkey relatives.  Having purpose and goals to strive for is what drives our species. Monkeys didn’t develop a cool civilization or make great inventions because they didn’t have any purpose or goals beyond mating, eating, and flinging manure at each other.

Having a goal and a purpose is a complete game changer. It isn’t just the brilliant scientists and engineers that need to have the purpose for their lives.  I often think you normals complain about your “mundane” jobs and your current situations only because you have no goals or purpose.  But your job working in a heated office or working with advanced tools on a construction site are anything but mundane.  Such jobs either did not exist or were much tougher even fifty years ago.  And yet here you are complaining about how bad your job sucks and your coworkers are lazy fools. Oddly, some of your coworkers would have the same complaints about you, especially if they saw you at your worst. You, for whatever reasons, killed your dreams as you tried to settle into something safe and secure.  In the early 21st century, being safe and secure and not rocking the boat is death.

I never got a chance to chase my dream of being a medical research scientist.  The schizophrenia killed all chance of that.  Some consider me a failure or a nonhuman because I can’t work a job for my living.  I hear too much of this outdated Puritanical nonsense about ‘if you don’t work, you don’t eat’ or ‘by the sweat of your brow you shall earn your bread.’  What an idiotic stance.  We are now to where most of our manufacturing work can be done by machines.  It won’t be the multinational sending thousands of jobs to Asia that will be an issue. Soon most manufacturing jobs (even the ones in Asia) will be done by robots.  And many new technologies will replace many old style business models.  Google ‘3D printing’, ‘robotics’, and ‘automation’ if you don’t believe me.  There are even companies in both the U.S. and China experimenting with building inexpensive housing units entirely with gigantic 3D printers.  Shoot, it won’t be long before most telemarketing and customer service call centers will be handled by computer programs.  So will bookkeeping, accounting, and many insurance and finance jobs.   Did those autoworkers in Detroit or steel mill workers in the Rust Belt suddenly become worthless nonhumans not deserving their daily bread because machines can do their jobs faster and more efficiently? Nope.  Will the armies of customer service reps, tax preparers, bookkeepers, finance workers, and other white collar workers lose their status as human beings because they are unemployed because machines will be able to do their jobs?  No.  Does a man or woman only have value because they make money?  Not a chance. Seriously, there are over one billion people on this planet (mainly in Africa, rural Asia, and Latin America) that live on two dollars a day or less. You couldn’t buy a Big Mac at McDonald’s for that. Are they less worthy of their lives because they don’t have much money?  Certainly not. I think these people are quite resourceful and creative to stay alive on such low wages, especially the ones who don’t have debts.

A job does not give a human value.  Never has and never will.  Neither does the size of a person’s bank account.  I know that flies in the face of generations of protestant work ethic and the mentality most Americans have in identifying themselves by what they do for money.  I cringed every time I was asked ‘what do you do’ when I first meet someone.  What do I do?  I breathe, I sleep, I laugh, I cry, I lust, I love, I play Skyrim, I watch baseball, I hallucinate without drugs, I eat Chinese food, I write, I ask questions, I learn, and I am a great friend.  But I know you want to know how much money I make so you can categorize me and rank me.  But it’s quite tactless in America how much money someone has (which is odd consider how much money is revered in this country).  Maybe the upcoming shakeups our civilization will experience within the next twenty years will force us to reexamine how we identify ourselves.  With so many people most likely being without paying jobs because machines and computers can and will do the jobs better, we will have to stop identifying with our jobs and stop condemning those who don’t have work.  We may have to take drastic actions to keep civilization from descending into chaos.  Desperate hungry and homeless people don’t make rational decisions.  We may even have to completely overhaul or tax and social safety net systems.  We may even have to resort to the whole universal basic income to keep the economy afloat and keep civilization functioning.  I love civilized life and not just because I’m bad at hunting and fishing.  I believe civilization has accomplished some cool things, led to billions of people with billions of talents being born through the ages who wouldn’t have been born had civilization never happened.  I want to see this thing keep going.  And things won’t get better by people believing a person has value only as far as they can earn money by their jobs.

So Long Winter

Winter is all but over now.  The weather has been warming up and the days have gotten longer.  It will be staying light longer since time change is this weekend in my country.  As a result I’ve been feeling better mentally and been more physically active.  I had forgotten what is was to be able to go outside all the time and not worry about the cold and snow.  These last couple months have been the longest stretch of mental stability I have had in months.  Between the increased physical activity, the better mental health, and the better weather, these last two weeks have gone remarkably well.

Made a couple road trips in the last two weeks.  Went to the family acreage for the day yesterday.  Got to relax, catch some sunshine, see some wildlife, and spend time with the family.  I rarely go to my hometown anymore except for holidays and family gatherings.  There just isn’t much holding me there anymore.  I can get and do pretty much anything I need and want in my current town.  I have a few more road trips planned for the spring.

The stabilized mental health has made it much easier to enjoy this spring.  Didn’t enjoy last fall as much as I normally enjoy fall because a few flare ups of the mental illness.  But that seems to be in the past now.  Been an enjoyable last two weeks and I’m anxiously looking forward to the rest of spring.