I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Selling your stocks never made more sense

As my beard's begun growing and, of course subsequently, I've been wisening-up over the past few years, I've felt more and more certain that American culture and its globalizing capitlaist economy is falling faster than it is climbing. It never made sense to me that I had video games, I had friends, I watched satellite television, I wore name brand clothes, but the more I aquired the less happy and secure I felt. Even if I bought a Playstation, Playstation 2 would come out a few years later and I would need that one. How pathetic and commercial washed I had been. Of course I never needed them, but I wanted, I was hungry, and I never asked my stomach why.

I'm writing this to show that for all of the people still not asking why, there is still a chance to get your mind back.

Throughout college, as the wrinkles started to grow, I started dropping old habits for more worthwhile and self-improving methods. I began to read again. As I child I loved the sport, but something about adolescenece just tricked me into believing that fiction on a page was too boring, and that only seizure-striking images on TV were interesting enough. I began listening to different, again returning to some favorites I heard as a child: classical, jazz, and blues and other of my father's favorites that I heard around the house. I tuned out the droning popular radio stations that choose top ten hits for you with their hypnotic repeating of the songs they want you to like––back to good old NPR!

  • Here's a link to an "Infinite Mind" report on just this subject: "Satisfaction"

  • This broadcast talks about how human cognitive processes are being changed by contemporary business. Our minds and hearts are being spoiled by an excess of junk. We didn't know what the internet was thirty years ago and we funcitoned just smashingly. Now we become petulant and pout like a child if we cannot have a Cable or DSL connection. What improvement is this? Kids are not happy with simply having shoes, they want the one's endorsed by the latest basketball star. How does this help our children, not to mention ourselves, mature and grow into adults? Even worse, we are now reliant on our toys and upgrades, so that if we, for whatever unheard of reason, were forced to downgrade, we could not compete or keep up with the trends. This is the aim of today's businesses: to make you believe, on an emotional and physical level (ever heard or TV or alcohol or cigarette withdrawals?) that you cannot live without the newest fad. It takes very little to manipulate the human mind in the way, as I have learned from my psychology courses, and corporations today even have psychologists working in their marketing departments. These are walking leeches that you wouldn't recognize because they look just as normal as anyone with a cell phone (literally) tied to their ear. These people are paid to maximize your misery so that you run to their company for the next fix. I have an idea, try heroine! You're only one step away, and at least it's honest about the fact that it hates you and wants to make you depressed. That and you could remove the irony of being mind-raped by another human capable of compassion, but who instead chooses to make you into his or her veal dinner (whether knowingly or because leeches are just as brainwashed as their hosts). This is true terrorism.

    As I mentioned, I learned much of these things in my psychology courses. Part of what frustrates me is that the people who best understand and see through the facades of modern American culture are least often listened to. I've read many articles that have come to the following conclusions.
    1) A capitalist society, especially those with large poverty gaps (America), tend to aim more for individualism, increasing affluency, and have little social welfare.
  • Take a look at this recent New York Review of three different books, all analyzing America's inevitable failure to keep true on its promises of creating a stable international community.

  • 2) More money does not make people more happy. Big suprise. But while Americans are driving themselves nuts trying to work harder to make money, they don't realize a few things. How can they enjoy their money if they're always working? There's always someone who can always do the same work at a lower price--that's the essential element of capitalism. Maximum product with minimum input. So what we've established is a company that will take any shortcut for a profit. They close their eyes to environmental, human, and animal devestation every day, and we let them because we want our cheap products.

    Think again about some very basic parables. The man who built his house upon sand. The Emporer's new clothes. How can we expect to create a stable country, sustain homeostasis within environment, and maintain bonds with each other as human beings if we are willing to sell ourselves and each other short? Why would you cheat on a test? For a good grade, obviously, but when did the primary aim of education become the numerical result rather than what the child learns?

    Outside of psychology there are thousands of other pure voices attempting to get the same message across. Listen to some old Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles or other excellent protest music of the 60s and 70s. Support organic farming. Watch a film by Jean-Luc Godard. Read Plato. Read Shakespeare and about chivalry. I recently read the "Bushido" by Inazo Nitobe, which describes the samurai code of Japan. We need to remember how to respect each other and our earth again.


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