After hanging out with new expat colleagues a few weeks back, I decided to head back to Joy City Mall in the more downtown area of Tianjin the following day.
The taxi took me along the same route as previously. It cost me a total of 20¥ ($5) for a trip of roughly 8km. I walk a little extra to get to Joy City Mall. It's huge - like all the others.
I walk inside and right away, to my surprising disappointment, were many of the Western brands I've seen all over Toronto. Wondering around for a little while resulted in near resentment. What the hell was this life change for if such Westernization is happening right where I've moved too? Are Westernization and development the same thing? It can seem like it.
And I get it, if I don't want the Western stuff, don't be where it is aka super centres. I suppose I was seeking a little more of the Chinese culture development en masse than the same old Western brands.
So I'm looking around the mall and decided to check out the Apple Store. The store looks beautiful, well designed, has great craftsmanship, and is buzzing. It's unmistakable. After talking with the specialists for a few minutes, I come to realize I have no desire to work at a major firm again. I permit them to run through their training, while withholding my previous employment. Being on the outside and observing them drunk on kool-aid, following the same shpeel, and being able to predict the structure and nearly the words of their response was like seeing my employment summed up in 30 seconds. This self-reflection was a strong reaffirmation of my decision. I believe many things were learned during my 5 years of employment, and am proud to have put in the time I did. I don't miss working there for a moment though. As an environment, you're treated excellent, the pay is great, the benefits are many and comprehensive. And yet, it wasn't fully satisfying. Not because it wasn't enough, but because it wasn't what I am not seeking anymore. Coming into contact with so many people and having to follow such carefully cultivated strategies really imposed just how much branding and marketing we are subtly influenced by.
Since I started using psychedelics over the course of the past year, I've unconsciously come to desire material things less and less. And becoming a redditor just added fuel to this fire and added government and institutional distrust.
To read extensively about the numerous global major fuck-ups Western institutions have wrought in the name of development and democracy is sickening. If you actually believe you live in a democracy you're simply blind and delusional, asleep in the comfy blanket of deception and false freedom. Don't believe me, just read about the systematic disenfranchisement of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Americans, who are unable to vote (a). Two "options", both representing the ultra-wealthy, isn't a choice. I'll save the speech about how the public is getting raped on nearly every end of the spectrum from education, food, Internet, military, media, surveillance, elimination of rights, monetary policy, jobs, taxes, big business perks, student debt, healthcare and more.
Suffice to say, I no longer want my life controlled from every aspect by an oligarchy. What I'm "supposed" to learn, the kind of food I "should" eat (which chemicals are allowed in it), what and where I can and cannot consume things, what I should buy, when I have to start and stop work, when and how much I get paid, where I should live... Government for the people by the people is a lie. Don't worry, for each example you find to disprove me (world's poorest prime minister comes to mind), you simply prove the rule. There can be no exceptions if there is no rule - the two require each other. People can, and should, govern themselves, by themselves. We've simply become too lazy to self-govern and don't want the responsibility. The idea of government in the form we have it simply leads the public being mis/uninformed and those doing the governing, develop a fence around their position so it may be maintained. Think of a time when you've seen a nice government building in the midst of surrounding buildings/houses which aren't as nice -- money flowing in, but not flowing back out.
What many seem to forget is humans have survived from the beginning of our species until this very point. And all without nearly everything we have today, most of which has only been developed in the last 100 years, and an increasing portion developed within the last 30 years (personal objects not infrastructure etc). Some concepts, like democracy have only been around a few thousands years, what is this compared to the history of our species?
Whether you believe in Evolution or Creationism makes no difference. I won't deny the scale of the obstacles humanity has overcome and the advancment on nearly every front. From medicine, technology and the sciences to lifestyle, art and travel. I acknowledge the benefits those have brought. I think we often forget the costs though. And it couldn't be more prominent.
What kind of progress have we (as humans) made whereby America houses more than 20% of the worlds prison population(1) (many in for profit prisons), most of which are visible minorities (2), and many them are being incarcerated for drug possession (3). That's right. Buy some weed and go to jail, if you're black. But if you're Hilary Clinton, you can store secret government information on your private server, violate major laws, be investigated by the FBI in two separate investigations (4) and still run for president like its nbd! America spends more money on housing prisoners per person than it does on sending them to school (roughly $30k vs $10k)(5)! Still not convinced? How about when teachers' pensions funds invest in private prisons for retirement funds and profit through retirement on incarceration? (6) Still no? How about the fact that more citizens (mainly blacks) have died at the hands of local police (7), who have been militarized with surplus army equipment (8), than have died from terrorists? Speaking of terrorists, a recent report just claimed America has been responsible for the deaths of ..... Ready?!...... 1.3MILLION citizens in three countries since the War on Terror (9)! That's genocide levels people. GENOCIDE! That's more people than Muslim "terrorists" have killed, by multiple factors. In the name of terrorism, they've justified eliminating civilian rights, monitoring your entire life, and resulted in the on-going War on Terror costing $4-6 TRILLION(10) that the current and next generation, and the following several, will pay for, all while the generation which caused this dies in the next 30-50 years. You know what they say, when the economy is crap, you go to war to boost it back up! And America has made its economy out of anti-terrorism! Don't believe that either? America is the largest weapon exporter in the world -- by a huge margin! (11) GOD BLESS AMERICA!
It's all to say I'm sick and tired of the corruption, bull shit and facade. Nearly all the problems we face we wouldn't have if we didn't have the laws, institutions and organizations setting them in the first place. I'm not in support of anarchy, we've simply become too wrapped up in the development of laws and less focused on living. We've created a society whereby each time there is a wrong-doing or tragic event, a new law must be put into place to "ensure this 'never' happens again". This method of thinking only adds to the momentum of the current state of affairs. Partner this approach with the cronyism we see in the political-business world and it's all to easy to understand why many problems we face are self-made. We need to head in the opposing direction, we need to rid ourselves of many policies, thought patterns, social constructs and dramatically simplify our lives.
I challenge my readers to rid yourself of as many possessions you have as possible. You'll find the less you have, the more creative you become, the less clutter is in your life and the more flexibility you will enjoy. You will have time to discover who you are, what you truly value and become well rounded.
For myself, I'm working to maintain having less things, learning to create value instead of consume it (particularly digitally, on both fronts). I'm most happy with just a few close people, some warm sun and being in nature near the water and mountains. I've noticed just how much I love being in and near water. Research shows being near water has many benefits to people (12). This is an area I will definitely explore more as I travel and develop personally.
We're told what to do at school, then what to do at work and once you retire, what you can do in a retirement home. And you call yourself free?! I call you oblivious. This kind of life is nothing more than a production line experiment. We survived millennia without RRSP's, BComm's, MBA's, and SVP's of Sales/Design/Logistics etc. You work your entire life just to spend the sum of your life's efforts staying alive at the end while you slowly die.
Zig Ziglar makes a great statement: Money won't make you happy but everyone wants to find out for themselves. Let me tell you, as someone who lived by myself, maintained a self-made mid-5-digit portfolio and was on the type of trajectory to "find out for myself" and gave it up to have a new life at the age of 25, I can assure you: life is better without it.
We didn't need all these things before because we didn't work 60 hours a week on menial tasks, commute for hours, or fight with spouses and kids over the latest products and other trivial matters. We didn't eat all the chemicals we do today, or breathe the toxins we've filled the air with. Humans are our own worse enemy. We're own own detriment. We don't know it. And we don't care.
We need to learn to live consciously, have a focus on community and be self-reliant. At some point in my life, I'd like to have my own self-sustaining home. It'll have its own water catching and purification system, solar panels and batteries, built in wifi, grow my own veggies/fruit, have a few small animals for meat. I'll live near the ocean and have the mountains behind me. I'll spend my time reading, writing, painting, using natural substances with my partner and backpacking several times a year.
I believe there are benefits of an economy, capitalism and development. However, there are limits whereby these things transform from natural to superimposed and come at great cost to many people and the environment.
It is my desire you discover who you are. Check out the Tim Ferriss show podcast, and an episode called On Zero-to-Hero Transformations. There is a part where Tim says we must learn to let our purpose/calling find us instead of searching for it. Check out the post here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-tim-ferriss-show/id863897795?mt=2#episodeGuid=0f9feca3e639bc522d22ac23e0f973fc
A) Disenfranchisement - take your pick:
(1) America Housing More Than 20% of World's Prison Population:
(2) Visible Minorities in Prison:
(3)Prisoners Due To Drug Offences:
(4)Hillary Clinton Under Two Investigations by FBI:
(5) Cost of Prison Inmates:
(6) Teacher Pension Funds Invest In Private Prisons:
(7) More Likely To Be Killed By Police Then Terrorists:
(8)Militarization of Police:
(9) US War on Terror Leaves Millions Dead (give you several sources just to show how it hasn't been reported at all in the US):
(10) Cost of War on Terror:
(11) American Weapons Exports:
(12) Benefits of being near water: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/impact-sea-lakes-rivers-peoples-health