Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism’

“We learn the inner secret of happiness when we learn to direct our inner drives, our interest and our attention to something besides ourselves.”
Ethel Percy Andrus

How common is selflessness in our culture today? Have we become a society where the “me” first mentality reins supreme? How many people out there can honestly say they put others needs before there own? I would imagine the percentage is rather small, but then again I have very little faith in our current humanity. I know there are many wealthy Americans who do great deeds of charity, giving away millions of dollars to various organizations, but are they doing this because they are putting others before themselves or are they doing these things for tax breaks, self-image, or some other form of self-interests. I know like our country I struggle with the disease of selfishness. When I slack on studying the Tao Te Ching, I tend to lose my center and allow ego and selfishness back to the forefront of my conscience. The days I am able to live by putting others before myself, tend to be my greatest Tao moments. I have learned so much from the Tao thus far, but I have a hard time living the lessons on a daily basis. I would love nothing more than to rid myself of my most embarrassing character flaws, but this has proven to be a hard habit to break.

Ever since I started writing I have directed my inner drive on achieving my writing goals; neglecting my other responsibilities. There was a time when I would get home from work and do nothing but write until it was time for me to go to bed. Naturally this produced friction in my marriage and my ability to be a good father. My interests and attention was focused in a selfish manner, and my happiness was greatly impacted. Once I started to let this desire go I noticed a greater sense of happiness inside of myself as well as my family. I also noticed how much my happiness was affected by this simple change. Now this could be because my selfish focus on my writing was causing so many arguments, and now they were not, or it could be because of how I felt about myself knowing I was putting others before me. I know my wife and kids are happy I made this transition. Yes there are days where all I want to do is write, but if I only do this once every other week or so then I am met with love and understanding from my family. The question I need to answer is finding balance. When I do not work at home my writing suffers, but when I do get sucked into writing I can’t seem to find a happy balance.

There are some aspects of my life where I need to be selfish and that is in managing my mental health. For many years I felt guilty for shutting down and tuning out when I finally hit a mental wall. I have since talked to my therapist and she reassured me that being selfish when managing your MI is actually a good thing. I can only go so long before my mind and body begin to deteriorate. I for the most part have been good at recognizing my symptoms prior to just completely breaking down. When I recognize this I immediately need a few days to shut down and recharge. I need to have little to none negative or hyper stimulation, and I either need to cuddle on the couch and watch television or play Madden. My therapists praised me for being able to identify my current state and know what I need to correct this. My wife is understanding of this and accommodates me well. My problem is I will turn a weekend or evening of recharging into two-weeks of laziness. I have transformed productive selfishness into damaging and negative selfishness.

I work everyday at trying to put others before myself. I am a bit frustrated with my progress to this point. I began studying the Tao Te Ching ten months ago. It has taken me this long to get through twenty-five verses. I feel like I should still be on the first verse. Should I really move on to the next if I have not yet mastered the lessoned learned from each verse. The first verse talks about turning desiring into allowing. The verse says to sit back relax, and stop trying so hard to achieve something, instead just allow it to happen. Although this verse does not directly mention selflessness it is perfect for my selfishness because in times I want to get something done, it is all I think about and I become irritated when something stands in my way. The third verse builds on this concept and says it much better “practice not doing. When action is pure and selfless, everything settles into its own perfect place.” Now if I could just live this everyday I would be golden. 

“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”
Ethel Percy Andrus

Our country is founded and thrives on capitalism, where greed and selfishness are the building blocks. Imagine a world where every citizen inhabiting our planet stopped with the “me” first mentality and instead lived to serve their fellow man. There would be no war, poverty, violence, starvation among many other things. We would live in a world where the rich would shelter the poor, instead of stepping on top of them. Sick adults and children would receive life altering medical care, not because they have insurance but because it is the right thing to do. If every one of us took the very first step towards thinking of others in time we would live in a much better world, but who am I to talk. If I cannot cure the disease of selfishness in my own life how can I ask others to change theirs?

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“The only reason I’m coming out here tomorrow is the schedule says I have to.”
Sparky Anderson

You could say this statement can be true for most people in America today. I would imagine the percentage is pretty high where people go to work not because they love their job, but because we have no other choice. We are so self-dependent on the all mighty dollar we are often times chained to our jobs. We do not go there because we enjoy ourselves we go there because we have no choice. Think about that for a second….Well? I personally think this is a fucked up situation. I know there is no way to live in a world without money, so there is nothing anyone can do about this situation. We need to live in and accept the society we have created until it can no longer sustain itself and crumbles. I believe America is the only country which places such high demand on its workers. We carry heavy burdens to live, provide, and survive.  If I could have it my way I would move my family to Tibet and live like monks; free of any stress or cares, but this is an unlikely scenario.

I am sure my readers are aware I often times sit and think about life and this society we live in. I am also sure my readers know I despise the system we live in.  We spend more of our lives working than we do with our friends and family. Our work defines and shapes our lives more than I think people realize; our job ultimately defines who we are and what we do. We are slaves to our paychecks; the very same paychecks we get immediately goes back to the corporations which pay our shitty wages. I know this is the life blood of what makes capitalism flow, but something still seems unfair about this societal relationship. The situation is we work our asses off to pay our bills and provide for our families. This gets harder and harder as time passes. Our wages seem to stay the same or in cases decrease, but the products we need to survive continue to increase. This is yet another way corporations can use to keep their foot on our throats. We now need our wages even more, and in many cases need to get a second or third job just to keep our heads above water. I find it sad that the people on the bottom work themselves to death so those on top can fly in private jets. I look at this country and where we are and compare it to communist Russia. On paper communism seems like a reasonable form of government, but failed terribly because mans greed had to fuck it up. In this communist state it was all about the haves and the have not’s. There was the wealthy and powerful then the poor and the powerless. This country is slowly going down this road. Soon the middle class will be pushed out by lower pay and higher overhead all in the name of a few more dollars.

The tricky part in this scenario is there are many people out there who worked their asses off to get where they are, and in my opinion deserves higher pay. I do not think everyone should be paid the same wages, because then what would motivate those to spend an extra eight years in school to become a doctor. This is where my opinions are sort of contradictory. I think our system would be great if the people slaving away to make the company they work for prosper got better compensation. I am not just saying in dollar wise although I think that is a good start. I think we need more compensation via free time. Working 40-60 hours a week is utterly insane and frankly just wrong. How many people take the time to analyze this situation? We are only awarded one life; one chance to live, and we are forced to spend this life slaving away at our careers. The employee has no choice but to fall in line or risk losing their  job. I don’t know how many people are aware of how precious time is. Each minute or hour that passes is minutes or hours we can never have back. They are lost, and I believe they are lost in the wrong areas. We need more time for our families. We need more time for ourselves. It is a sad waste of a life to be dependent on a system set out to screw you around every turn. This is one example of how we are corporate slaves.

My solution is easy and fair to the people. Companies should only hire part-time employees but pay them just and fair full-time wages. This would give everyone the time to not only work and contribute to society, but we would then be afforded the time to enjoy our lives. Hiring only part-time employees would most certainly cure our unemployment problem. Now some may say “this is crazy companies would lose millions!” But is this true? I am but a simple man with limited knowledge, but I would think with more people working then that would create more consumers and in turn create profits for the companies which may offset the higher wages given to employees. I am an idealist not a realist, so I am pretty sure there is no way to actually make this work; with that being said I also do not believe this ideal life is impossible to achieve. The same problem in communist Russia exists today in American capitalism, and that is our thirst for wealth and power.  This thirst blinds us of our main responsibility which is the betterment of our fellow man. This has and always will corrupt us.  

George Lee “Sparky” Anderson (February 22, 1934 – November 4, 2010) was a Major League Baseball manager. He managed the National League’s Cincinnati Reds to the 1975 and 1976 championships, and then added a third title in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers of the American League. He was the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues. His 2,194 career wins are the sixth most for a manager in Major League history. He was named American League Manager of the Year in 1984 and 1987. Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. I was shocked to hear Anderson’s age when he passed away at the age of 76. I remember watching him coach against the Twins when I was younger, and I always thought he was around 70 back then.