Another mass shooting. At a high school. Students who woke up that morning, rolled out of bed and showed up at school ready for the history exam, or a little late because they couldn’t decide what outfit to wear, or dreadfully nervous to finally ask that girl out. Students who had an entire life before them, bright and starry eyed, wanting to fall in love, and travel the world, and experience…everything. And then in one instant, one more shooting to add to the growing list of American massacres, all of that hope, the anticipation, the eagerness, becomes total darkness. That relentless darkness that no sane person wishes on a teenage mind.
If we look at the statistics, we see that countries with no guns, have no gun violence, and countries with no guns, have far less violence in general. Yes, there is the occasional knife attack that I feel I must address, though it feels so absurd to address, in effort to respond to the thousands of American gun bearers who are quick to list the many, many household items, poisons and metal objects that can be used as weaponry in the right circumstance. But how many mass knifings have you heard of lately?
It’s not feasible to take away all the guns. At this point, they’re in too many hands, too many radical, irrational and brutal hands. What is feasible is intensely regulating them from this point on, and making it illegal, from this point on, to own any assault weapon capable of mowing down dozens of students on a high school campus before they have time to run away. For what other purpose would someone require a gun like that?
The fact that the NRA still retains any political influence is only telling of how easily led and manipulatable the human species is. The NRA is nothing more than a cult. A cult we should consider very dangerous. One that spends a great sum of money trying to convince the masses that owning guns is fun, safe and our most fundamental American right. Consider, for a moment, that 100 million Americans, that’s almost a third of all Americans, think that the 2nd amendment is our most precious right. How catastrophically warped is that? The NRA and its followers are still under the illusion that if ever there comes a time when civilians must rise up against a tyrannical government, something the founding fathers who wrote the constitution were once concerned about, guns would prove useful even today. Against all the heavy artillery, tanks…and well, bombs, that those earlier presidents didn’t quite have access to.
Thank you, Donald Trump, and all politicians, really, for sending out your prayers to the victims and their families during this great tragedy. I’m sure your praying will ward off any other mass shootings for at least a couple of months, until God once again forgets, as he so frequently does.
Let’s talk about rich people thinking that they deserve things. In America, we’re trained to believe that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything, no dream is too grand, no mountain too high. And of course there are always examples to point to, the exceptions. “Look at this guy, born into poverty, first a janitor, then a door to door salesman, and now a CEO.” Well, unfortunately, this isn’t the path taken by everyone born into an unfavorable circumstance. But why? If all you have to do is turn on that motivational switch and pursue a dream, why don’t we see a more impressive number of people overcoming their circumstance and achieving economic success?
Well, we know that little girls and boys born into Catholicism are 98% likely to be Catholic when they turn 18. Was this a choice? Certainly not when we consider that children who are raised agnostic and given the opportunity to think for themselves are less than 1% likely to choose Catholicism by the time they turn 18. And I’d argue that similar numbers apply to qualities like motivation. If someone is born into an ignorant family that teaches bad habits, we can expect that around 98% will struggle or fail to discover motivation on their own. This is a sad human condition, and painful for most of us to admit. We’d prefer to think of ourselves as wolves rather than sheep, able to lead the pack and chart our own destiny regardless of terrain. But these numbers show quite the opposite- that most of us are actually imprisoned by the world we’re born into, and have little chance of freeing ourselves. Of course there are beautiful aberrations. The Einsteins, the free thinkers, the people who escape their circumstance and become who they are despite of their upbringing as opposed to because of it. But I would argue that even these role models, the small handful of those we consider perhaps most deserving of all, don’t warrant as much credit as we think they do. They were exceptionally lucky, typically genetically.
Each person comes equipped with an extremely specific set of genetics paired with an equally specific set of life circumstances, blended together to create exactly who we are, how we think, and how we respond to outside influence. Every decision we make is a product of this human combination which we unfortunately have little control over. Did Einstein have control over his intelligence, or did his genetic makeup mandate it? How about his motivation to explore this intelligence? When we muse over this, we realize that perhaps intellect and motivation are as lucky as physical beauty. And perhaps those who are able to turn on that motivational switch, actually just had it in them, somewhere deep down, and what may have felt like a choice to act on something was more a natural inclination.
This is not to say that motivation and intelligence are impossible to cultivate and nurture over time for those who might not experience them more innately, but in an adverse environment, on an arduous path with obstacles like drugs and violence looming at every bend, what drives people to want to cultivate them? How would they even know where to start?
And there’s another problem. What about all those who do have motivation that goes unrewarded? The energy a CEO expends in his office each day is no greater, and often far less, than the energy expended by laborers at the bottom of the economic ladder, the ones who are motivated enough to work two jobs yet find themselves still struggling to provide enough food for their families over the course of a whopping 50 years. These people often work diligently, which means it’s not all about hard work, but the type of work our society rewards, the type of work that is more specialized. People who are born into an unfavorable circumstance, or who have unfavorable genetics, or both, may have motivation but lack the tools to channel that motivation in a way that’s truly effective. Perhaps they weren’t born with the voice of a songbird, the coordination to throw a ball though a hoop, or the intellectual curiosity to read hundreds of books, and perhaps they weren’t gifted the opportunity to develop these skills and desires as a child. So now they clean toilets, or wash cars or do back breaking labor. Was this a choice?
I guess my point is, even if you’ve worked hard for your wealth and believe you deserve it, along with all the silly, fancy things that seem to accompany it, it’s important to acknowledge the complex blend of opportunity, life-events and genetics that made you you. And it’s important to acknowledge that others were handed something entirely different.
The fact that most people think it’s okay to buy real leather, & that their shoes, their wallet, their belt were worth the agonizing death of another being, is actually insane to me. It’s horrifying. When we buy leather we are saying either “those beings are less important than me so their suffering doesn’t matter” or “I feel bad about this but I just don’t want to think about it,” which happen to be the two lines of reasoning responsible for the holocaust.
Clothes are not that important. Get with it. #fauxleather #fauxever
Let’s talk for a minute about our addiction to consumerism. Women in particular in our society are told at a young age that we can basically medicate sadness and stress with the purchase of clothes. “Retail therapy.” What a concept. And not only are people starving in other parts of the world, in desperate need of that $80 you just spent on a new pair of jeans, but it’s also a sick state of mind to be in— the one that values very fleeting moments of happiness over a commitment to reality. And the reality is we don’t need any new clothes. Probably for years and years. And yet, when we go on a first date, or we have a New Year party to attend or we’re feeling especially low after an emotionally draining breakup, we head for the shops, waste the money we’ve earned, and smile proudly at ourselves in the mirror, twirling around in that new shimmery top we’ll probably wear one time.
The average American woman, with a life expectancy of 80 years old, will spend $125,000 on clothes and accessories in her lifetime.
The average American woman, with a life expectancy of 80 years old, will spend $125,000 on clothes and accessories in her lifetime. This is enough money to take more than 62 potentially life changing vacations, ones on which you could store and treasure an incalculable number of memories and in doing so, expand your reality and your sense of being. This is enough money to instill real change in the world, enough to feed an entire village of children for the better part of their lives, or rescue thousands of animals from cruelty, enough to start your own program or agency or business.
Once we stop buying clothes, and decide to feel content with what we already have, we can attain a higher level of consciousness, and start to see the world in a purer and more honest way.
Once we stop buying clothes, and decide to feel content with what we already have, we can attain a higher level of consciousness, and start to see the world in a purer and more honest way. We can finally begin to understand how superfluous things are in general, and how wonderful it is to just be.