Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Don’t Stunt*

So, this is very basic stuff. Save your money. But, upon thinking of Matthew 6 25-34, it seems to me that the act seeps much more in to the person existentially than I thought. However, in all reality, I wanted to post some new thoughts on the blog. So, if this is old hat, or boring hippie stuff, feel free to go somewhere else. Also, this is written through the eyes of a very cynical and sarcastic person. Thus, many things will be exaggerated to make points.

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I've been wondering how the hell people are able to travel to London, Africa, Mars, Saturn and other solar systems on their spare time without a single piece of copper to their name. I've read of novelists (actually just two, "Shantaram"'s Gregory David Roberts, who was an Australian criminal and probably hitched every plane or boat ride he got, and one of my favorite authors, Roberto BolaƱo) who have been all over the world while being stark-raving poor. Everyone assumes it's in the drive to get more money. To get a higher paying job. To rob more banks per week or hack a few more checking accounts. Win more hands at the AC or LV crap tables. Play more lottery tickets. Sell more silly, insubstantial hip-hop songs for download to the Sidekick/Facebook teen ignorance-is-bliss masses. But the ability to travel or live an enjoyable life doesn't necessarily come from getting more money, but spending less of the amount you already receive.

A job isn't disqualified as a good job because it doesn't pay you enough. I mean, with this pending, you can get a second one or marry rich (I joke. Don't do that). But if you've found your niche in the labor world, I'd highly advise against leaving it for any reason other than it not being your niche anymore. Nowadays, your job is the primary source of survival, and if you found one that you like and is about something good, that is an occupation you should grip with the strength of The Hulk. Yes, there is a lot of people who are just glad to have a job…..or at least they say they are. But even they are picky at what they want to do. I know people at the absolute bottom of the barrel that do not just do any piece of labor handed to them, even when it seems like they may be good at it. A luxurious lifestyle of choice is infused in all of us. Even the homeless and poor refuse food they don't want, although there's obviously something to be said about this2.

Anyway, I think that the solution to this is a revolt against economic entities that try to corner society's needs and then charges top dollar for it. Against corporations and companies that do their best to employ the most amount of labor for the least amount of money. And that is to throw the luxurious lifestyle away.

I was thinking in terms of being able to depend less and less on that job as time passes, as well as you developing a strength of spirit and mind over the urges of the flesh.

A luxurious lifestyle can consist simply of being able to buy a huge bottle of alcohol every two days, or taking a taxi everywhere you go (I'm sorry, this is not a wasteful practice I understand, so it will get the label of 'stupid' from me). Or upkeeping the rims and soundsystem on your Lincoln Navigator, making the value of your car skyrocket over the cost of your house or child (I joke). Of course, you can keep this lifestyle if you're rich and can afford to pay $10,000 for customized Snickers bars. Per day. Per meal even. But this easily permeates everything in your life, and pretty soon you won't think of/do anything for yourself, which explains many of the upper-class figures you see on T.V., devoid of basic wisdoms such as tying your own shoes and knowing what a Native American or Chicken of the Sea is. You create your own prison of comfort in many ways. You stay where you are. You keep doing what you keep doing, thinking what you keep thinking. You do not grow. Even if you go somewhere else foreign, it's only with the presupposition that there is personal space for you to keep being you.

Christ says not to worry about the clothes on your back or if food will come. Others will tell you that this means to just throw yourself out into the world and be reckless with your own resources and don't worry. Just go outside and do what is that you do and, if you have a faith, a huge Caucasian hand will smack you with a box of millions and say "here you go!" to replenish your filthy lifestyle, and then leave. Others will also tell you that it goes against logic or faith to worry. Technically, it may go against faith, but this is as expected. A being who is omnipotent would expect you to be this way exactly. I think the message is, if you are doing what you're supposed to be doing, investing some of your time in what you're supposed to be investing in, good fruit will come. Be focused on the grace and talents God has given you, the culture of sustainability, of community, and others things that will appear in the "The More You Know" advertisements on NBC, and our wealth, particularly in the spiritual aspect but in others as well, will grow. Forget the $5 frappuchino every other day and just get a regular coffee. Forget eating out every week and eat out every other week. Just stop buying sneakers or shoes if your closet already has at least 12 pair that you haven't worn yet (there is no good reason at all why someone would keep this up. NO good reason). At the same time, pursue the opportunity to be something in the world.

Notes:
*Reference to the song "Stunt 101" by the rap group G-Unit.
1) I am not at all saying that this is some sort of excuse to not attend to them. If anything, we should learn some sort of discernment concerning this. I was "dissed" two Sundays ago when I offered a woman on the street food and she looked at me like I was asking if I could probe her brain for Iraqi government secrets, then said "no thanks" and immediately went back to sleep. Regardless of how poor or down someone is, we must still respect their choices. Also, just because someone is without a job doesn't mean they should just take whatever is handed to them. Makes no sense to work at something that is absolute, downright torture. Or demeaning. I cannot blame anyone for wanting to keep their dignity over surviving. I can be ok with judging someone who tosses away morals in order to make a living.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Technology = Spirit?

A week or two back while at work, the screen on my G1 broke. It's an slide open-and-close phone, as you would see if you clicked on the link I provided in the G1 phrase in the previous sentence. I'm not really sure what happened, nor would it be important. When it was closed, the phone would freeze. I'd have to turn it off and back on in the open position to get it to operate: a situation that immediately called for a replacement. I felt a sharp despair.

Although I'm not socially networking 24/7, I felt thrust out of all important loops in life because I no longer (really) had access to Twitter and Facebook on my phone. At least until the 3 to 5 business days passed before receiving the replacement unit. I tried to tell myself that not being able to see the address of whoever's birthday party/barmitzvah/goat-sacrifice event I had that night was a justifiable reason to be genuinely pissed that my phone died, but it was of no use. I was immaturely angry and felt helpless. I started to ponder what this suggests about our generation, or today's world, especially in the light of T-Mobile representatives rotely telling me "yeah, I hate when that happens, too. You feel like you've lost your whole life. Let's get that fixed as soon as possible." I thought that the beginning of all those hyper sci-fi worlds we've read of in Philip K. Dick narratives and Neal Stephenson writings has very much arrived.  Meaning that everything that has even the slightest importance in worldly matters will only fill space on the internet, and will be as tangible as you imagine them to be as you stab the keys on your computer's keyboard.

Anything that we have to affirm in this world will continually/ultimately be filtered through a wall post, or someone else's MP3s on our homepage, or comments on someone's status or a tagged picture. I'm sure the technological avenues will continue to develop. But, speaking as a person who is not a fan of live interaction with people, there is something to be said for it..........