Tag Archives: consumerism

The World Won’t Improve Until You Stop Being A Vidiot

The quality of the world is determined by the quality of people in it. A perfect world would be full of educated, self-actualized people. In a society like that, we wouldn’t even need the perfect government because people would behave rationally and empathetically without having to be micromanaged. In a world full of idiots, it wouldn’t matter if we had a perfect government because people would still behave irrationally, selfishly and mercilessly, and we would destroy the systems we put in place to make life better.

The world we live in is far from perfect because we are far from perfect. Even if it’s impossible to define or create the perfect person or perfect government, we can still do a lot better than we’re doing. Even if we can’t save everyone else in the world, it behooves us to become better individuals ourselves. Truly, the only way society will improve is by each individual improving themselves, because each individual’s life is their own responsibility, and nobody can live it for them.

In order to fulfill your obligation to improve yourself, you need to proactively educate yourself, analyze yourself and the world around you, and stop spending 34 hours per week watching television.

Watching TV isn’t a sinister act in and of itself. The problem is that the content we’re currently broadcasting is designed to appeal to the lowest mental common denominator. It’s vapid, unedifying brain candy.

Sitcoms, reality TV, and cartoons revolve around petty characters who spend their lives stressing over petty conflicts. They rarely, if ever, teach us valuable life lessons or set positive examples to live by. Even the “mature” characters such as the adults on children’s shows act like unrealistic, goofy, neutered youth pastors.

Emulating these characters will cripple your ability to cope with the realities of life more than they will prepare you. Since these characters are presented as role models and children have a hard time separating fantasy from reality they skew children’s perception of reality for the worse. And those are the “good” characters. Television is full of glamorized characters who are flat-out bad role models.

Only a handful of shows such as Star Trek the Next Generation feature protagonists who are intelligent, proactive thinkers who value knowledge and reason, but more often than not, if a television show features a protagonist with an above-average intelligence he/she will be monstrously flawed in some other way. The rest of the protagonists on television simply celebrate their stupidity. In big ways and little ways watching television skews your perception of reality by presenting you with a warped reality, and the less you get off your couch and experience the real world the more susceptible you’ll be to accepting, mimicking and defending that dumbed down perception of reality.

Millions, if not billions, of people are able to watch television without mimicking the worse behavior they see, but they still worship the actors who play those characters since they’re presented as larger than life. Since these actors appear as authority figures on television we tend to hold them as authority figures in real life even if we know they’re not. Worshipping celebrities is a complete waste of time and distracts you from real intellectual authorities who actually have useful knowledge to impart and can back up their statements with research.

Celebrity-studded sitcoms, reality game shows, and children’s cartoons aren’t the only intellectually toxic programming on television. There are over 100 channels devoted entirely to sports.  I understand that professional sports are near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts, but we all need to understand that the only reason that is, is because of the billions of dollars the sports industry has dumped into manipulating people into thinking that sports matter. If all the professional sports in the world disappeared tomorrow the consequence would be that we would not be wasting our time glued to the television watching people move a ball from point A to point B. Then we would have to find edifying and productive things to do with the short, irreplaceable time we have on this planet.

You might reply to my these criticisms of professional sports by saying, “Sports teaches you about teamwork and exercise.” To that I would reply, little league and intramural sports teach you about teamwork and involve exercise. Watching professional sports builds rivalries as senseless as street gangs who hate each other because one gang wears red and the other gang wears blue. And sitting in front of your television watching sports while your body atrophies, is the opposite of exercising.

Even the news has become more entertaining than informative. Some news actually makes us dumber.

Probably the best reason not to watch television is the commercials. The word “commercial” is misleading. It would be more accurate to call commercials what they really are, propaganda. Commercials are designed to manipulate the viewers into buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have. They redesign your values so that you believe there’s something wrong with your life that can only be corrected by buying consumer goods. They turn you into a consumer whore who is more interested in the accumulation of objects than solving the world’s problems, and when you adopt that lifestyle you become part of the problem.

You may respond to all of this by saying, “Yeah, the world has its problems. It’s a tough place, but that’s why it’s so important to have a little distraction every once and a while.” There’s truth to that statement, but watching 34 hours of television per week isn’t a little distraction. It’s a full-time job. Think of how much work you get done each week at your real full-time job. You could accomplish that much work making you a better person and solving the real world problems that make life hard by cutting television out of your life. But when you spend a major portion of your free time aging in front of the television, ignoring all the problems crushing civilization, when you could be fixing them, then your complacency makes you as responsible for those problems as if you were an active participant in creating them.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Talk About Saving the World
Be Better People
 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World

You Might Be Depressed Because The System Is Crazy, Not Because You Are

Suffering from high anxiety or depression is a sign of bad mental health. If you see a psychiatrist, they’re likely to diagnose something wrong with you and prescribe you pills to fix the problem,  but most of society’s anxiety and depression stems from the fact that the political and economic systems we live in are insane. So if you’re a logical, reasonable person, then the absurdities and abuses you’re subjected to will drive you to anxiety and depression. Think about these points:

Work places have totalitarian control over your life while you’re at work, and America has one of the largest prison populations in the world, but we’re told we live in the land of the free.

All day long the television and radio churn out commercials encouraging us to buy wasteful junk, and then we’re told if we buy that junk, we’re irresponsible and destroying the environment.

It’s fashionable to get drunk. It’s unconscionable to get high.

If you feed your family poison over the course of several years until they die, you can get the death penalty. If you run a tobacco company that poisons millions of people over several years until they die, you get a golden parachute.

The stock market is designed to fund companies at the expense of the investors, but when investors lose their money (in the system that was designed to take their money) the investors are told they were foolish with their money.

Houses cost twice what they’re worth and are so confusing to buy you have to hire someone to help you navigate the paperwork, and we blame the people who got tricked into buying houses that cost twice as much as advertised for the mortgage crisis.

A higher education is necessary to earn a living wage, but if you can’t afford a college education you’re told the reason you’re not earning a living wage because is because you’re lazy and worthless.

People are killing each other over which mythology is the most loving.

We’re taught that slavery is unconscionable, but almost all of our clothes and household goods are made by slaves in sweatshops.

Poor people work the longest hours at the hardest jobs, but we’re told they’re poor because they’re lazy.

America spends trillions on the industrial war complex to protect freedom, but America is the largest exporter of war.

Janitors have to take drug tests, but political leaders don’t. In fact, they have diplomatic immunity.

Police cars are designed to look intimidating, but they have the words, “To protect and serve” printed on the sides.

Shows like South Park and The Sopranos come with warning labels that say, “For mature audiences only.”

A man can take off his shirt in public, but women are told their chests are immoral.

Bribery is called lobbying, and propaganda is called advertisement.

When goods in a store are only sold at a 1000 percent markup instead of a 1200 percent markup, we’re told they’re on “sale.”

Banks call their investors “valued customers” but they charge you with fees for everything possible, even for not having enough money.

We’re told there’s no cruel and unusual punishment for breaking laws in the West, but going to jail is almost a guaranteed sentence to get beaten and raped.

The tax laws are so complicated you have to pay someone else to do them for you, and if you can’t pay your taxes or you fill them out wrong, you’re a criminal.

Workplaces use performance quotas to push workers to the limits of human endurance, and if that stresses you out you’re told it’s because you don’t have a positive enough attitude.

Self-help books and religious books offer ineffective, fantasy-based solutions to real-world problems, and when they don’t work, you’re told it’s because you didn’t believe in them enough or try hard enough.

Fox News is considered “news.”

We’re charged the highest possible cost for goods and services while being paid the lowest possible wages for our work, and we’re told that wealth trickles down and that supply and demand justifies our exploitation as necessary.

The celebrities we’re encouraged to emulate churn out mindless, idiotic, formulaic art. People who actually take stances on important issues are told they take life too seriously and should lighten up. And we wonder why the world isn’t improving.

We’re raised from childhood to believe romance and wealth are the most important goals in life, and when we spend our whole lives chasing them only to find out they don’t work in life like they do in the movies, we’re told we were childish for believing what we were taught on television.

Western society is a labyrinth of smoke, mirrors, contradictions, misdirection and dead ends. The lies and falsehoods are so ingrained in our society you can’t escape them. If you even begin to wake up to the reality of how un-user-friendly society is, it will cause you deep anxiety and depression, and when that happens you’ll be told by the television, your boss, your co-workers, your political leaders, your mental health professions, your religious leaders and maybe even your friends and family that there’s something wrong with you. And just like the military, you’ll be pressured to conform to their twisted mindset or be rejected and even punished by the brainwashed individuals who have given up the quest for sanity and given in to the status quo.

Anxiety and depression can be signs of mental health when the rest of the world around you is insane. If you don’t experience anxiety and depression, then you should be very, very worried, because that means you probably aren’t paying attention or asking the right questions, and that’s not mentally healthy.


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Leadership and Authority
My Tweets About Self-Help

The World Won’t Improve Until You Stop Being A Consumer Whore

In order to understand why the world won’t get better until you stop being a consumer whore, you have to understand how the economy works: Businesses don’t make money unless they sell products. The more stuff we buy the more money businesses make. In theory, this should create jobs, and it does, but it creates as few jobs as possible, because the goal of business is to make as much money as possible for the owners and investors. They maximize their take-home pay by making as few workers as possible work as long as they can get away with, paying their workers as little as they can get away with, making as cheap of quality of products as they can get away with and selling them for as much as they can get away with.

Businesses can only sell as many products as customers are willing to buy, and people don’t have any motivation to buy things they don’t need. In order to remove this roadblock to profits, big businesses have dumped billions of dollars into studying human psychology in order to perfect the art of manipulating consumers. Today advertisements are ubiquitous and effective. We are inundated with them to the point that we accept an advertisement-saturated life as the norm. Inevitably we grow up buying crap we don’t need with money we can’t afford to spend. We’re all guilty, but for what it’s worth, we’re as much victims as we are offenders.

But make no mistake, we are offenders. Every time we buy something we don’t need, big business owners and investors take home profit that they can hoard, invest in more brainwashing advertisements, or influence politicians to pass laws that make it easier for them to screw more people harder, quicker. At the same time, every time we spend a dollar on something we don’t need we take a step away from financial independence and a step towards dependency on whoever is going to give us our next dollar. The less financially independent we are the more desperate we’ll be. The more financially desperate we are the less money and dignity we’ll demand from our employers.

Mass consumerism makes life in the present less enjoyable for everyone who gets squeezed by greedy businesses, and given enough time, it will make the planet unlivable. Our factories are tearing through the world’s resources as fast as possible in a mad dash to make cheap, barely-useful junk that will end up in a landfill within a year. The fewer resources the world has the more expensive they will become in the future, and thus the more expensive consumer goods will become, which will make economic disparity even worse. If the economy doesn’t change then eventually the majority of the population will live in polluted ghettos where there is no hope of upward mobility. In fact, this has already happened in the poorest areas of the world.

Arial photo of an endless shanty-town ghetto in a third world country

The survival and expansion of the economic system that creates inhumane slums depends on us buying mass-produced stuff we don’t need.

You might defend your purchasing habits by pointing out that if we don’t buy consumer goods, then companies won’t make money. Then they won’t have money to pay any workers or expand production to create any new jobs. This argument isn’t justification for continuing business as usual; it simply states why the current system is oppressive and unsustainable. The call to action it raises shouldn’t be to keep feeding the beast. The call to action should be to redesign our economic model so that workers and consumers aren’t caught in an inescapable downward spiral of economic oppression.

It would be a shame for people to lose their jobs and their meager livelihoods by starving the system to the breaking point, but people are living in hunger and fear now, and that’s only going to get worse the longer we continue doing what we’ve been doing. Starving the economy to the breaking point would at least allow us to start over and change directions. There is another alternative though, start building sustainable communities now and slowly transition workers from the oppressive system to a more humanitarian one. Unfortunately, it will cost a lot of money to build sustainable communities since those materials will have to be bought from companies that charge as much as possible. However, if the poor stopped being consumer whores, saved their money and worked together instead of fighting each other for the scraps that fall from their masters’ table we could build a better world.

One way or the other though, the world won’t change until you stop being a consumer whore.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World
Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Fixing the Economy

Stop Guilt-Tripping Poor People Into Saving The Environment

97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming and threatening the extinction of life on the planet as we know it. Even if that’s not true, as some believe, there’s no doubt pollution and urban sprawl are killing off thousands of species. On a long enough timescale, this will tip the eco-system into catastrophic failure. So there’s definitely a call to action here. It’s vital that humans change their behavior, and millions of dollars have been spent on propaganda and movies trying to convince us to do so.

This is a message we all need to hear because we’re all complicit in the destruction of the environment. Wildlife habitats were bulldozed over to make room for the cities we live in. Pollution is created from manufacturing the products we fill our houses with, and the leftover trash goes right back into the land we’re not occupying.

Even if we all reduce our consumption and only buy eco-friendly products, that will only slow the damage we’re doing to the planet. It’s still an inevitability if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, but the problem isn’t that the average person needs to be more responsible. Guilt-tripping the average person is blaming the victim.

It’s pretty much illegal to live anywhere except in a modern house. The only place you can find enough food to survive is at a grocery store where every product is mass produced, pumped full of poisonous chemicals and packaged in disposable containers. In order to make a living, you almost have to own a car that you have to keep dumping toxic chemicals into. In order to pay for all of this, you’ll have to work for a business that makes and/or uses mass-produced consumer products.

While it’s great that we’re not all living in caves and hunting wild animals, modern life is more of a grueling, soul-crushing rat race than a futuristic utopia. The only way to escape the daily grind is to make enough money to buy land and build off the grid. Even then, you’ll still be hounded by taxes. So you need a permanent source of income to keep feeding the beast, or the police will take everything you own and throw you in jail.

If you’re one of the 3 billion people who live on less than $3 per day there’s no chance of you being able to afford to move off the grid. Even if you live in a first world country, you’ll have to make at least $28k annually just to cover the cost of living, and you’ll still be eating eat cheap processed food, living in the ghetto, driving an old, unreliable car, and never seeing a doctor or dentist.

It’s no accident it’s so expensive to live or that so many people have so few options. All of these worker/consumer/taxpayers aren’t lazy. Almost all of them work full time. They’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of working just to make enough money to be broke after they’ve paid their bills because that’s how the system is designed. Everyone except the ultra-wealthy are trapped in an endless cycle of debt. We would love to escape the rat race, but all the exits have been systematically blocked. So we have no choice but to keep working, shopping and helping destroy the planet.

Money is power, and the owners of the businesses that are strip-mining the planet’s resources have taken all the money. They’re the only people who have the ability to break the cycle by investing their fortunes into building self-sufficient cities and an economy that doesn’t require the mass production/consumption of junk. They’re not taking any steps in that direction because that would mean scrapping the system that made them wealthy in the first place.  It should come as no surprise that they’re using their fortunes to make the economy even more unsustainable for the poor. The harder it is for the poor to live self-sufficiently, the more secure the revenue streams of big business are.

If you’re going to make propaganda urging people to save the environment, then you need to target the people who are most responsible for the destruction of the environment: wealthy business owners and investors. Any effort spent guilt-tripping the poor only accomplishes two things: making poor people feel bad about themselves and distracting them from the source of all the world’s problems: our unsustainable economic model.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Talk About Saving the World
Be Better People
 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World

A Grim Letter From A Wise Sloth Fan About The State Of The World

I regularly receive E-mails from readers saying they share a lot of my views and feel relieved to hear someone else express what they were thinking because they were starting to feel alone and crazy. I enjoy getting letters like that because sometimes I feel like I’m taking crazy pills too. So the relief of meeting a like-minded person is mutual.

"Am I the only one around here who doesn't feel like I'm living in Utopia? Because this seems pretty dystopian. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills."

I recently received an E-mail from a reader, who I’ve been corresponding with for a while. He wrote an eloquent rant that summed up many of the feelings I’ve been having and questions I’ve been asking. It resonated enough that I asked the author if I could post their words on my blog, and they agreed.

You don’t have to agree with any of the author’s opinions or conclusions, but you can probably sympathize with the frustration and exhaustion that drove the author to pen this rant:

“Hello, Travis.

It has been quite some time since we spoke, no doubt you might have forgotten my name or the subjects we discussed, but it has been a learning experience, after which, I have further progressed my world perspectives and have formed an even more grim conclusion: our lives are never going to improve and our potential will never be fully utilized, as long as this socioeconomic system is in motion. Never.

When we spoke last, on Skype, I was very saddened to see your living conditions, knowing that such an intelligent and truthful individual is not being appreciated by the corporate system designed to maximize the profits of the few at the expense of the majority.

You told me that I’ll never get as good of perks as I do in the military, and those perks provide much security at the expense of several freedoms, which I am sure does not need elaboration given your former military experience. That statement seems quite accurate. I have met geniuses in the military, but the individuals I am surrounded by have the lowest intellectual prowess I have had the displeasure of dealing with, and there is very low probability that these types of folks could thrive in the civilian environment.

Recently I have been conducting a social experiment, that is, in fact, a very easy one: silence and listening. And behold, the topics such as Will Ferrell movies, ways to torture people, worthless ESPN and media trivia and other pop-culture nonsense is in never-ending supply during the 12-hour shifts which we now stand, thanks to the boss wanting to look better on paper. And now all 12 people, save me, pay grades E3 to E8 are gathered around Google Images to see which celebrity each person resembles, while no free education that could be accessed 24/7 is being regarded.

George Carlin could write dozens of books about people like these, unfortunately, he is not in this material world to call wasteful people out on their bullshit. Like many others before him, he has perished at an earlier age than the life expectancy of the people in that country at that time, and it just seems the intelligence attribute is inversely proportional to longevity. Perhaps because the more intellectually inclined folks are appalled and saddened by the depressing reality of this world and declining social functionalities, and this stress manifests in terms of immune damage, disregard for health conservation and substance abuse. But maybe those individuals have long foreseen the irreparable damage coming, where most people are enslaved to be a cog in the wheel and spend most of their lives doing things they do not want to do.

Like you said, the rich cannot exist without the poor. The 1% does not exist without the 99% and as such, to create this expanding socioeconomic inequality, products are overpriced despite being made with cheapest resources and workers are being remarkably underpaid despite ever-increasing working hours of repetitive jobs, many with little productive merit. So you are forced to spend 40+ hours per week to make the minimum salary that the business owners can spare, and end up having little free time for yourself with little entertainment you can afford.

The promise of going to college in order to make more money would hold some water if education was easily accessible, professionally applicable and free. But as it stands, right now the college loan debts in the States exceed those of credit card and auto loans, and the companies who hire new employees do not care for the intellectual potential of the candidates unless a piece of paper says so. Certainly you have met some brilliant people without a college degree, unfortunately the employer also seeks someone who has credentials and incentive to pay back the expensive education that could be obtained for free on the Internet and public libraries, and as such the people without a degree are considered an inferior human being regardless of the actual values they represent.

So now, some poor blue collared workers, some of them with families, also try to attend college part-time, and have even less time to sleep, feed (and of course the food is mass-produced with damaging chemicals and overpriced)  and of course be covered from natural elements with reliable shelter and clothing. As far as air and water quality, many times those attributes have to be accepted at the expense of having the opportunity to live in a populated area where a job can be obtained.

All of this leads to health degradation in the long run, and as such, your potential is forever hindered unless you have a very high paying job that can produce enough monetary influx to not only have the needs covered, but the material wants as well. Not a very common occurrence, and so you see how most of our lives we devote to doing what is against our immediate wishes, even though resources, technology, and knowledge to create an intelligent and cooperative utopia are very real, albeit not mass propagated.

Trying to explain such ideas to the public is often unsuccessful, as the majority of people are conditioned to be ignorant, primitive and materialistic. Not entirely their individual fault, as many variables are responsible for shaping public attributes, whether it be teachers, parents, or the media. But one thing is for certain: resisting this system is going to be a losing battle, even if thousands of people exert public pressure, the special force like police is ever ready to crush any resistance to defend the standing of the corporate owners. Numerous riots today have the same after effect, and the rich continue to thrive.

Meanwhile, my wife and daughter have me to protect them, and even though I can stay in the military until l I retire safely and comfortably, I feel like there is no great achievement on the horizon anytime soon, that I’ll still blend in with the gray crown of unfortunate middle-class people and that any contribution to this world will be drowned out by the system that offers minimal securities at the maximum loss of freedoms.

Please tell me, what is the best course of action I can take to help propel humanity to socioeconomic equality and efficiency? Thank you for your intellectual content and politically incorrect, but technically correct explanation of reality. Hope to stay in touch.”

I don’t believe anyone has to die to make the world a better place. We don’t even need to agree on a Utopian philosophy. My current theory is that best course of action one can take to help propel humanity to socioeconomic equality and efficiency is to invest in sustainable infrastructure and free education. I explain why in the posts below:

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

Talk About Saving the World
Be Better People
 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World

10 Reasons You’re Surrounded By Idiots

Man laying in a hospital bed talking to a concerned woman says, "Doctor says it's because I'm surrounded by idiots."


1: Cultural Isolation

Great leaps in human progress have often come from the meeting of minds. The Crusades brought Europe out of the dark ages. Christianity would have never evolved out of Judaism were it not for the cultural diffusion the Romans brought to the Middle East.  The founding fathers of America based many of their political ideas on what they learned from thinkers all over Europe as well as the Native Americans.

The printing press made the ideas cheaper and easier to transport, and the internet has sped up the growth of human knowledge exponentially, but throughout history, our minds have been cut off from each other’s by physical, linguistic and political barriers… and they still are. If we had free energy, one language and no political barriers our knowledge would explode like an algae bloom in the ocean… but the people with the power to remove these stumbling blocks from our path fear change. So despite the globalization that is shrinking the world and bringing humanity together, all of our minds are still limited by the relative cultural isolation that remains.


2: Stress

The greater the disparity between the rich and poor becomes, the less wealth there is for the poor to fulfill their base needs/desires, much less achieve self-actualization. The harder and longer the poor are forced to work, the less time, energy, opportunity and motivation they have to turn their minds towards self-actualization and learning for the sake of learning.

Throughout history, the gap between the rich and poor has stretched and contracted in cycles, but the contractions have been few and far between. If human nature wasn’t to be so greedy, and the distribution of wealth had been more equitable all along, then the human race would have progressed at an exponentially faster rate, but since the vast majority of humanity has been poor and stressed throughout history, we’re suffering the compounded consequences of generations of ignorance.  Even today most people are still too stressed over their base needs/desires to turn their attention to becoming more complete people.


3: Peer Pressure

Humans don’t like it when people act differently than them. Our brains are designed to fear what they don’t know. It was a useful survival instinct for cavemen, but in modern society it mostly causes us to bully, insult, ostracize and find other ways to punish each other, for being different. One of the big reasons we’re all so dumb is because we’ve beaten the courage and inspiration out of each other.

Another consequence of fearing the unknown is that progress is by definition, deviant, which means humans tend to reject improving the status quo. History is full of examples of heroes who died trying to pull their fellow man out of the dark age, and humanity is still being dragged towards enlightenment kicking and screaming.


4: Media caters to the lowest common denominator

Mass media isn’t designed to enlighten its viewers. It’s designed to cater to its viewers most base desires: fortune, glory, excitement, sex, drama, and shiny things.  Mass media is puerile brain candy. If you always eat brain candy, and you never eat brain food, your brain regresses. The longer you stay in Stupid Land, the more you accept and defend stupid as reality.


5: Government doesn’t make education a priority

The world wouldn’t be so dumb if our governments devoted more resources to education than war. If we’d spent our entire war budget on education we could end the need for most of the world’s wars and prisons. Our leaders aren’t doing that though because it’s very difficult to exploit and manipulate highly educated people who are capable of solving all the world’s problems. The rich need the poor to stay poor, desperate and ignorant in order to exploit them. So they lobby our leaders to under-fund schools and over-fund the prison industry.


6: Academic philosophy has failed humanity

Ideally, school is supposed to teach students to be curious, to seek knowledge on their own, to ask questions and seek answers. Unfortunately, academia has suffered the same fate as any large, hierarchical bureaucracy that controls vast amounts of wealth and power. It has come to defend the status quo and ridicule, ostracize and punish deviant thinkers.

Universities rarely teach people to think for themselves. More often than not they teach students to think what their professors or the authors of their textbooks think. There are some good academic philosophy classes out there, but standardized tests don’t measure original thought. They measure memorization. So most curricula are designed to challenge students to study old thoughts and regurgitate them, which makes students experts at bragging about how much they know about the history of philosophy without doing much original or practical problem solving of their own.


7: Religion has failed humanity

There may be some force somewhere in the universe that fits some definition of the word God. There’s some evidence to suggest that might be possible, but there are mountains of evidence that all the religions humans have invented are mythologies. While these belief systems may make some good points and give people hope, there are catastrophic consequences to a single person, let alone entire world, of people basing their real-world decisions on a mythology-based understanding of reality.

History is full of examples of people hurting each other and discouraging progress in the name of religion. These aren’t anomalies. That’s what happens when you base your understanding of reality on mythology. That’s still happening, and it’s going to keep happening as long as people keep believing in mythology.


8: Our leaders don’t know what they’re doing, and they lie about it

Society is so lost we don’t even know we’re lost. This is true for the lowest street sweeper all the way up to the highest political leader. We have no idea what we’re doing, and we’re just guessing while putting on enough airs to make it look like we have it together.

In this kind of world, it’s natural to look to leaders for guidance, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing except that our leaders are just as blind as the rest of us. The only difference between us and them is that they’re better at lying. This causes two problems. First, when we attempt to emulate our leaders we end up emulating fools. The second problem is that our leaders are leading us in circles as our world becomes overpopulated and better armed.


9: Parents don’t know what they’re doing, and they lie about it

Nobody knows the meaning of life, and psychologists are still figuring out how what makes a mentally healthy human being. Most K-12 schools don’t teach philosophy, and I’ve never heard of one that teaches child psychology. Parents are mostly making up their parenting skills as they go along, but they still demand respect and obedience from the younger generation. So children are raised to look up to and emulate people who are doing their best at faking it until they make it. This haphazard approach to raising children into adults yields haphazard results.


10: Evolution has designed us to be stupid

All of these problems aren’t accidents or anomalies. They’re all inevitabilities considering how evolution has designed us. As surely as evolution gave us hands, feet, eyes, ears, and noses to help us survive it also gave us pain, pleasure, hunger, fear, love, greed and all the other emotions and base desires that steer us away from logical accountability. It also put shortcuts into our brains like cognitive dissonance, cognitive bias, schemas, trust for authority, fear of change, the fundamental attribution error and a slew of other mental processes that reduce our need to think about what we’re doing and encourages us to sleepwalk through life on autopilot.

The truth is ugly, but we have to face this demon in order to fulfill our potential. We were born to be stupid, and make no mistake, we are stupid. I don’t say this because I’m better than you. I’m no better than you. I’m stupid too. The big difference between me and the gangstas, rednecks, preps and religious fanatics that infuriate me day in and day out is that I’m afraid and ashamed of my stupidity whereas they celebrate theirs.

How terrified are you of your stupidity? Because the greater your terror is the more motivated you’ll be to do everything in your power to get unstupid. The more confident or even resigned with who you are the less critical of your own stupidity you’ll be and the more you’ll wallow in your own stupidity, infuriate the intelligent people around you (who you will have ignorantly mistaken for being stupid) and waste your life and lower humanity’s potential.


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One Dollar Equals One Vote In The Economy

"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want." Anna Lappe

The term, “free market” is defined as, “an economic system in which prices and wages are determined by unrestricted competition between businesses, without government regulation or fear of monopolies.” The American economy is not strictly a free market. There’s a lot of regulation that goes on, but by and large, the general population determines what’s sold and how much it’s sold for via supply and demand. If we don’t want something that’s offered, we won’t buy it, and then business offering it will cease to exist. If we want something, we’ll buy it, and the more we want it, the more we’ll pay for it.

The more money we spend on a certain product or service, the more money that business will make. Thus, the more money that business will have to reinvest into making that product or service better. As investors see us spending our money in certain places they’ll start more business to fill that need. That drives up competition and forces each business in that field to make even better products for potentially lower, more competitive prices.

There’s no ballot box where we deposit our voting slips and determine what we want businesses to sell us, but there are cash registers and dollars. A free market is a democracy where we vote with our dollars, and we suck at voting. If we took all the money we spent on sports over the past 30 years and invested all of that money into energy we’d all be riding around in flying cars right now. If we took all the money we spent on designer clothes in the past 30 years and invested it in public transportation there’d be no traffic. If we took all the money we spent on movies and invested it in housing there’d be no homelessness. We’ve done a good job of voting on computers at least. For every other bad decision, there’s Master Card.

As we watch banks collapse and the economy lag, we hear a lot of talk about the role regulation and deregulation of business practices has played, and it’s all very confusing. We’re all looking for someone to point the finger at. We need a scapegoat, and I have no doubt that one will be found for us. It won’t solve our problems, but it’ll make us feel better because we won’t have to point the fingers at ourselves. We won’t have to admit that gas prices are so high because we voted for it by buying Hummers. We won’t have to admit that the reason so many mortgages have defaulted is because we voted on mass-produced houses we couldn’t afford in unsustainable suburbs. The reason we’re worrying about whether or not we’ll have the basic necessities of life when we retire is because we didn’t vote on them. We voted on Pepsi, Prada, Persian rugs, iPods, Hollywood, Harley Davidson, Marlboro, Ikea, and Viagra.

There are a lot of corporate villains and incompetent politicians out there who have done a lot of unethical things to bankrupt the economy, but we shouldn’t forget we voted in all of these mistakes with our dollars, and we should take responsibility for it and feel ashamed. However, that won’t do us any good unless we use that shame to vote wiser in the future. Don’t waste your money. Spend responsibly on the things that matter, and the things that matter will improve. Not wasting your money on things you don’t need will also allow you to save money to give you a cushion when things go bad. Then, the shit will never hit the fan.

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