Saturday, February 14, 2004


Going on a bit more about the former USSR.

I am not sure I made my point as clear as I could have yesterday. I am going to try and do a better job of it today. Don’t know how successful I will be, but I am going to try.

Firstly though, I do not have the news as of yet from the court. Again, I got the notice that we have the decision, but I have not yet had the ability to read the contents. I sincerely hope that this situation will be rectified shortly.

Today’s essay is more of the same: How to make a homeless guy….

We in the west love to speak of how great competition is, and how fulfilling and exciting life is in the west, and how wonderful it is when one has the money to afford such wonderful things that make life so much easier. But what abut our losers? Have you ever stopped and talked to a “homeless” guy? Have you ever asked them about what was going on with them or what their story was? If you never have, you should; it’s really interesting. In general, the basic story of why would fall under just a few simple categories:

1. They are actually nuts and incomprehensible and should be in mental hospitals and would be but for a lack of funding for such housing.
2. They have had some really bad luck, which led to some outrageous about of chemical intake, which changed their perspective sufficiently to cast them out of the “responsible” world. Or
3. They like it better this way.

Check it out and tell me how wrong I am. But in addition to these simple story lines, there is also a prevailing point that will always be apart of the equation: They came to this point because no body seemed to care about them any more.

They became alone.

If you were to address this issue and simply ask them why this was so, you will get some variation of the answer: It became too difficult for other people to deal with them. Any specific reason fits. No one cared, so they stopped caring themselves. It’s like a contract you see? It is logic.

But now take a minute and ask yourself how many of “them” are there really out there in the world. There really are SO many of them out there, aren’t there? Millions I would say. This is true not only for the states, but for all of Europe as well.

So what to do about it? Well, the answer to that increasingly is a cry for some bootstrap pulling on the part of those who have disenfranchised themselves from the humdrum every day. “They can’t just eat our garbage and get away with it! Make them pay like we must pay. Make them be more like us, that would be a good punishment for them!”

But for the purposes of this argument, lets assume that the argument of disconnection as a result of being forgotten is a legitimate one; let’s not simply lay the blame on the bum, let’s ask first if there is some validity in that argument, and if there is, why is it so.

Why is the weight of out fellow man too great for us to carry?

The answer is of course that in our world, there are those that have, and those who do not. There are people who have sufficient funds and clarity of mind to maintain houses and households themselves and there are those that need help. However, the “help’ needed by the social failures obviously must come from the social successes, but ironically enough, this help is never available. Why not? Because those that could help can’t because they personally can’t afford the time or the money. How can this be?

Well, life is hard people. It is an everyday struggle and we all have to do this alone! People can’t just give a way their hard earned recources, they need this money themselves. They have to pay for the take out pizza, the shopping sprees, the drugs, the toys, and the trips; all of which are needed because of the “stress” these individuals feel because of all of the hard, individual work they have done. They have to keep going themselves or suffer the same fate as the ones in need. It takes everything one has to remain free of need.

They can’t help because they won’t carry the weight. And they can’t carry the weight because they perceive them selves as being alone in the responsibility.

And in case you haven’t noticed, the game is getting harder to play. In the States and in Europe with the cost of real estate alone at the point where severe levels of income must be ongoing to even think of supporting a place to live. Inflation is a global issue, mechanization is replacing manpower while at the same time, the amount of people is growing at an exponential rate. It’s tough out there.

Wanna hear about a few winners?

· A good friend of mine in California has a combined income of close to $50,000 a year. But after taxes and expenses and paying simply for the note on a several hundred thousand dollar home, he has no extra money to spend. A thousand a week, and nothing extra to spend. Pay check to pay check on fifty grand.
· An elderly couple I know who maintained an extremely high income level for the majority of their working lives, had 90 percent of their retirement savings wiped out simply waiting for the sale of the house that had only been affordable during times of high income.

What I am trying to point out is that in the west, even those who have have to maintain a voracious that same single-minded attack on the pursuit of financial gains they needed at the start. But also, they practice this attack alone and with only personal goals in mind. What are the motivations?
· You must fight for the check alone and you must fight for the check, with all of your heart because anything less leaves the burden of blame on you in the end for your failures. Such is the life.
· If you win you get toys, better texture, more space.
· If you win, all of your friends might admire you for being the great man that you are.

Or, in other words, you get to be alone. And this is our practice and our philosophy and it is one that eventually leaves us alone, isolated and distrustful of others; a victim of our perpetual cycle of social stratification. In the end, we get what we pay for.

And how this applies to an inabuility to perform social aid or to care for our fellow man translates into a simple thought process: If it is all up to me, if I am alone, I simply do not have the energy, strength and recourses to care for those less fortunate then myself. I am not a part of that guy’s world, I take care of myself!

Want to disagree with me?

But we are only talking about the homeless here, right? We don't have to care about them because they smell bad. But what if we were to turn our perspective a little to the left and say that this argument is not really about the homeless but really about how we raise our young? Would this change things?

If the “haves” have no time, energy or inclination to deal with the “have not’s”, simply apply the situation to the young people in our world. Children are natural beggars, don’t you know. They make no money. They are helpless and useless. If there is a general attitude of “selfishness”, helpful to the acquisition of wealth but one that disallows for an ability to help others, wouldn’t this also touch the children of our world?

The answer is that of course it does. And proof of this problem is seen in the absolutely profound disinterest in social responsibility exhibited by our young people. In case you haven’t noticed lately, our younger generation is quite chemically dependant and morally bereft. The philosophy for the modern young is to utilize the freedom to express oneself regardless of the effect of that self-expression. There is no responsibility to worry about; it’s all good don’t you see, and eventually mom and dad will pay the bill. Or if not, I guess I’ll just have to get a job. Or if not, I don’t really care anyway because in the end, it doesn’t really matter…

And not doing everything your heart desires when you are young is seen as missing a chance that you will regret when you are old.

Well, I have a problem with this. I have always thought that the difference between children and adults is recognition of responsibility.

a. Actually being a child means not understanding about “being older”
b. Knowingly acting in an irresponsible way is socially destructive.

And that is the point. Or young are acting in a socially irresponsible was and I say they are doing so as a means of acting out against what they feel is a social injustice done to them: Being ignored and made to feel alone and helpless.

And, I would say that this is about right. Selfish parents breed selfish children and selfish people do not care about the world they are living in.

So what does this have to do with the former USSR? Well folks, they ran a world where they tried to diminish social stratification as much as possible. Without the fight to be better than one another, they ended up having to live with and in turn, learned to respect one another. Or, if they didn’t have time, they made time because it was the right thing to do. The kids there actually got a monumental amount of attention and care. And not only that, they were taught from a very early age to be socially responsible and respectful of their world.

Did it work? I think it did. Why?
1. What I saw was that the place was clean in general. What this meant is that people were not throwing a lot of garbage in the streets, an act of disregard for ones surrounds.
2. There was no graffiti. The same as reason #1.
3. Well, they did vote 80% to keep it going. That kind of agreement DOES NOT COME FROM SOCIAL DISCONTENT!
4. There were no homeless people. And this was, in my opinion, exactly what this article was about.
They never “forgot about each other”. No body was ever allowed to slip away. Certainly there were drunks, but no one was allowed to lose dignity.
Or, to say it another way, all complaints were in some way dealt with, a satisfaction found, and the way cleared. Problems were not allowed to fester to the point of massive discontent. And this applied to both the adults and the children.

A boy of fourteen who finds nothing more interesting in life then sniffing glue or dropping acid is telling a story folks. He is saying that the world seems to have no place for him. Protract that out a few years and you find this kid “perpetually camping” because there was indeed eventually no place (home) for him. This was not the case for the east because the young were specifically told, and told, and told that there was not only a place for them in the world, but that they were needed and important! And yes, there was competition for good jobs for those had such energy. But the truth of the matter is, all complaints from the top few percent aside, the vast, vast, vast majority of all of us “normal” folks would rather content ourselves in a somewhat less bloodthirsty arena. I hope this isn’t news for everybody, but for every one “island survivor” thirty went home with nothing more than a malaria pill habit. Is this really the world you want to live in?

In the town where I now live, we are now practicing Europeans. There are some people who have “pulled them selves up by the bootstraps”. A few. God love ‘em, they must be made of gold. But there is also now here a class of homeless people. These same people who are now mercilessly deranged, forgotten and staggering around begging, were exactly the same people who were just a few short years ago very much a part of the community. Their weight was carried exactly as the weight of the rich, the beautiful and the smart must be carried.

I am sorry folks, but I do not believe the problem has been solved by brushing it under the rug. The place is still exactly as impoverished as it was a few short years ago, only now she is a little filthier, and without even an ideology to remind them why they are doing it.

More tomorrow…