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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
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Abort, Abort!

Posted 08-05-2014 at 09:40 AM by rocket357

I read a blog post on zenarchery earlier that was incredibly dark and depressing. Unfortunately, it was pretty accurate as well. It was about the brooding depression that seems to be commonplace among "corporate workhorses" and pretty much anyone living in the US. Here's the article:

I agree with the author on many points, namely that I identify with the angst that he alludes to, but more importantly that we've engineered a culture of failure in the US. "We’re all sharks now; if we stop swimming for just a little too long, we die." Very well said.

I believe that much of the issue surrounding the depression is twofold. One, access to information (as the author mentions) is cheap and easy in this day and age. Did violence occur in US schools/US cities/the middle east/etc... 100 years ago? Absolutely. Did people hear about it 24/7 and think about the atrocities constantly 100 years ago? Not so much. Today you can't check twitter or facebook without being forced to face reality. (Availability Heuristic, as it's called). Second, we've been hypnotized into believing that our lives are worth more attention than they are actually worth. It's easy to amass followers on twitter, or friends on facebook, or whatever. We do it because "it really IS that important to let everyone I know marginally about what I had for breakfast". What a crock.

Combine those two. My life is more important than everyone else + everyone else is crazy and cutting up children and such. No wonder everyone is lonely.

Here are the steps to a solution to the depression problem, one that I use daily to remind myself of what's important:

1) Shut up. No one cares that you drank a fifth of vodka and didn't make it home last night. (That used to be something people *actually looked down on*). (Disclaimer: yes, I could apply this step to this blog post and delete it. But I won't because that defeats the purpose...and if you only knew how many times I started a blog post/facebook status/tweet/etc... only to go "this really isn't that important"...).

2) This world is full of hate. Get used to it. Your politics/religion/beliefs/activism aren't going to change that fact. Oh, and this isn't anything new. Hate has been around a very long time.

3) Now that we can see in a moment what is going on in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and how one police officer did $bad_thing, we start *short cutting* logic and assuming that all police officers in Sheboygan, Wisconsin are $bad_characteristic. (Disclaimer: I picked Sheboygan randomly. I'm not aware of any ill-doing by Sheboygan police). Stop short cutting logic, and let people give you a reason to be pissed off rather than being pissed off at everyone over one person's bad judgement. It takes a ton more effort, yes, but it's *worth it*.

4) I've always hated the phrase "Be the change you wish to see in the world", but sadly it is true. Want to make a difference? A **real**, lasting difference? Work on improving your own life. I don't mean go get a fancy, cush job so you can afford a Tesla sportscar and an armani suit, I mean work on *yourself*. My wife taught me this particular lesson...she had a string of very bad relationships before we met, and rather than continue the cycle, she took a year off to reflect and analyze her life, determine what she wanted, and figure out how to achieve that. Once she let go of the hurt that was driving her into bad relationships, she could see clearly and take new direction. (Whether or not I am a "good direction" is still up to debate =)

There's a lot of angst and pain floating around lately. I really feel like the reason for this is a feature of the priorities we've taken on in American culture. We've accepted that life should be fast paced and we deserve to get answers immediately, and that is making us all a bit crazy...and it makes us form opinions on topics before we have all of the answers. I personally believe that #4 above (work on yourself) is the most critical of the four steps. Should we ignore the violence going on around us? Absolutely not! But it doesn't hurt to take time every now and then to disengage from the firehose of bad data and reflect on life.
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  1. Old Comment
    Yeah, being jaded can be depressing and turn one into a bitter old fart.

    Lucky for me. I have been riding motorcycles all my life. The girls have always loved me.
    Posers can be hard to take.
    Whether their name be Rick Perry or our current president.

    The rest of the world can go to hell in a bucket.
    But at least I am enjoying the ride.
    Posted 08-05-2014 at 09:52 PM by rokytnji rokytnji is online now
  2. Old Comment
    Well said about the media.

    Psychotic episodes leading to killing sprees and such are nothing new. Now that the media has found its niche in sensationalism and reporting this stuff constantly, we have become more "aware" of it. We think it's new, but certainly not.

    And I like your final paragraph... right on point.
    Posted 08-05-2014 at 11:23 PM by goumba goumba is offline
  3. Old Comment
    @rokytnji, That's a great way to disengage from the insanity and live a little bit. I've known many bikers who thrive in the most bizarre circumstances with an almost zen-like calm when it seems like everything is falling apart around them. Makes me wish I'd bought the motorcycle I decided against in high school.

    @goumba, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it!
    Posted 08-05-2014 at 11:54 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline


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