Monday, 8 October 2012


The other day we received cards, envelopes and bad quality coasters with roses on and a letter of exhortation asking us to donate money to some research, I think it might have been cancer research but I'm not sure. So you're given things for free and then asked to pay... I get so irritated with this kind of emotional blackmail that I don't even take note of the charity that sends these letters out to unsuspecting members of the public. I do not respond to blackmail. I remember how in all the years when I grew up, once a year we used to get a package of badly printed and really tacky Christmas cards with a rough surface, I believe it might have been from Jehova's Witnesses. Or maybe it was the Red Cross? Of course we never paid the "voluntary donation" but the worst thing really must have been when we actually received one of those cards in the mail from someone else who clearly decided to take advantage of the free cards! I suspect they didn't pay either. You can sort of tell...

There is a video just come out about donating to third world countries, again I don't recall what the charity is because I was so repelled by the emotional blackmail. 

Dan Cleeve already says it all. "Take so-called first-world problems — like a too-short lead on a smart phone charger. Then, put them in the mouths of Africans. Successfully compelling charity video, right?". I have thought about this a million times. We live in a certain environment and it causes certain reactions in us. It's true that Westerners complain about insignificant issues when there are people who suffer from serious problems such as lack of water. However... remember when your parents used to say, eat up child, there are starving people in Africa? Well, it's the same thing... exhortation is not nice. It makes you close off. It doesn't really matter what the issue is. You don't go around telling people to shut up and be grateful for what they have, stop moaning about this or that... would you say that to a friend? You might do it gracefully, with kindness and consideration, wouldn't you? Why would it be okay to say it to a stranger, without kindness and consideration? Don't plant guilt in other people. It's not nice and it's not good karma either for that matter. Not that I can be bothered with karma any more... it comes and it goes, and who knows how it really works? We try and do our best, from our hearts, not from our heads... thinking is great but not when done to excess... not when you go through your Facebook page and all you get is just bland second hand quotes with the "intent to inspire"... I tell you, I want to hear about what people really feel, not what they think other people should do with their lives!!

Dan goes on to saying, "But telling us that 'First world problems aren't problems' is self-evident, and if we're going to be all serious about stuff, problems in the first world include access to health care, domestic violence and wealth inequality." Absolutely! We have problems, we have loads of problems. Insulting the people who are asked to donate is not in good taste. Our problems just happen to be different from that of Africans living without water... now I have seen a documentary about the problem with water shortage and that really helped me see what's going on... it was the most useful thing and didn't smack of propaganda. However, the fact remains that we have so much to deal with here in the West, we should take care of our own issues before we even start to try and fix issues elsewhere. Knowing where to start untying a knot is essential, otherwise you're just wasting your time. Also take into account that people are so desperately unhappy or trying to avoid unhappiness that they numb themselves up with drugs, alcohol, mindless Facebook updates that pretend that everything is all right, and stupid movies or TV shows... this is a serious problem that needs attention.

The world is such a mess. Sometimes I just want to scream, I'm so overwhelmed!! Especially when I go to Ikea on a quiet afternoon (just picking up a cheap bar stool to sit on while working) and there's a kid there, yelling at the top of his voice, reaching the highest pitch humanly possible, for two minutes with two minute's intervals. And they keep following us as we navigate through the maze of shopping departments... 

I saw the film God Bless America last night. It's about a man who gets fed up with all the superficial crap that goes on around him and ends up on a killing spree, getting rid of people who "really deserve to die". He's especially upset with the baby next door, reality shows about spoilt brats and talent shows that take the piss out of people who aren't very bright. It's a straightforward movie, quite American in that sense, without the more subtle intelligence of Black Mirror. But I think in some ways people should see it and reflect upon the problems with modern day society, as the protagonist says in the beginning; the kind of utter decadence that tends to take place when a particular culture is about to crash. I've been to America and heard the jargon on TV... it really is that bad.

I often think about the way in which everything in society today seems topsy turvy. It's as if people had deliberately gone for solutions that are the exact opposite to what would actually work both in humanistic as well as practical terms. Greed pervades all layers of society. You cannot blame only a part of it (if you must blame, that is). You may not be contributing to it actively, and so you may be one of those few people who are in the world but not of it. It's a better place to be, but it doesn't mean you're liberated from responsibilities  The only difference is, if you have understood what things are really about, you are your own master and intelligent enough not to let so-called authorities keep you on a leash. I don't watch these kind of reality shows on TV or online, but sometimes I come across them, for instance I recently happened across a show about the problems of being a millionaire's wife, and I found myself staring at it with utter disbelief yet with a sort of fascination... I guess it's only my great sense of self-preservation that stops me from getting sucked up in this garbage! Well, to be honest, I like observing what's going on, I try and watch and learn. I feel that's what I'm here for. To some extent, because I don't want to pollute my mind either. And I try and keep in mind that the pendulum swings one way before it swings the other, and in the end will slow down in the middle - it's the symbol of the golden middle path. This is evolution, and if things are really, really bad right now, it's because they have to go to an extreme before things can change for the better. People are testing boundaries, seeing how far they can go... they have the right to, but hopefully they will soon see what's going on because I don't know how much longer the world can hold this kind of negativity.

I have always felt limited in my ability to make a difference. I've always been a world-betterer, but the world got the better of me... for years, I've had to concede that there's only very little I can do. I had many worries and learnt what it means to be truly limited. But perhaps it's a matter of strategy? Recently I've been reconsidering my conditioned attitudes, trying to think "outside of the box" (don't you just hate that expression!), trying to think from a different perspective; what if, then what would I do... we'll see, perhaps one day one's efforts will take off for real. You just don't know, you have to keep trying. But please keep a sense of perspective, if you must complain about the length of your phone charger, do so in private. We have the right to express our frustration about things that don't work. It's good to have the experience of situations that are really destructive, and therefore I would say it's a good thing to really suffer sometimes. But don't buy into people who take things out of context and play with guilt by having Africans repeat the flippant remark of a rich Westerner in order to get you to donate money... it's not the right way to do things. Find ways of fostering a sense of proportions, but also honesty and true gratefulness, and positive feelings in other people, without guilt, blame and a generally patronising attitude... I can assure you it will work much better.

Sometimes people just need to complain! Hear this choir of complaints from Finland!

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