This week is the National Rodeo Championships in Vegas! Always an interesting week. I’ve heard non-stop country music for days now. So much so that my ears are bleeding red, white and blue. And if you ain’t wearin’ a cowboy hat, everyone assumes you must be wonna-’em California queer folk. Yeeehaaaaw! Slap the bull on the ass and just hang on for dear life, at least 10 seconds of it. Buckin’ broncos are tough to ride. The kind of nut who thought that it’d make a good sport is missing a little something under the cowboy hat.
Well, listening to so much country music has been 99% torture and 1% occasional surprise. I rarely like country music, other than the occasional crossover country artist. But today I heard my new favorite country song, Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy”. I love this song. Typical kind of country song. It’s now bumped Toby Keith’s, “I Love This Bar”, into a distant second place. You can listen and watch the video in the link below. The title of my blog will make sense afterwards. Plus the lyrics ring humorously true.
One time when I was in Sofia, Bulgaria, a couple years ago, I sang “I love this bar” at a dive that I went to often. Usually the bar was empty, except for a handful of regulars who all sat at the bar most nights, occasionally, rarely, singing a song or two, mostly on weekends. So it was a pretty tight group, to which I became a temporary, honorary member. Needless to say, country music isn’t so popular in Europe, and they had never heard Toby Keith before. They loved the song and would request that I sing it on several more occasions with great enthusiasm. Haha. It’s a fun song.
Well, yesterday I walked The Strip, something I hadn’t done for a month or so. I usually stay away from the touristy areas these days. I made my way to one of the local’s casinos and played in the free weekly football pool at the kiosk. It keeps me entertained these days, since I have little else to do. To my surprise, I won $50 dining credit at the Casino! Yeehawwww!
I thought about which one of the dozen or so restaurants I wanted to waste my voucher on. I immediately thought of having a nice juicy filet mignon at the steakhouse, a really good steakhouse. But I ultimately decided to go to the buffet. However, the buffet only cost around $15 or less, and my one-time voucher was good for $50. So, I bought dinner for a old couple, some locals, got two Dos Equis beers, and proceeded to gorge on just about everything. Four FULL plates of every food group – my elementary teachers would be proud that I remembered my nutrition lessons well. I drank my one beer, gave the other beer away to a nice Black fellow sitting next to me at the sportsbook with his girlfriend, watching the Oakland Raiders get whooped by KC – again. Some things never change.
The beer was good – delicious. It was my first in two months. But one was enough. I could’ve actually got two more for free since I hadn’t used up all my credit, but I didn’t bother.
I couldn’t have been happier yesterday. It was a good day. It’s a wonderful feeling when something so small can make us appreciate life. My, how perspective changes everything in our lives.
Just the night before, I was contemplating things and I realized I need to stop having expectations. How much disappointment in life was attributed to me expecting this or that, and it failed to materialize? I decided I would stop expecting anything – either good or bad – to just accept whatever came my way and if it was good, to thank God and be grateful. And if it was bad, just deal with it.
The next day, my attitude about everything changed. I woke up with a smile. All the suffering didn’t matter. I walked around everywhere with a smile to everyone, a bounce in my step. Then at the end of the night, I heard the song, “People are crazy” for the first time ever, and thought, geeze, I really like that song. So I downloaded it and then binged on it for a while longer, memorizing the lyrics; maybe one day I’ll sing this song.
PEOPLE ARE CRAZY
People really are crazy. We all are. I suppose it’s not completely our fault. The way our brains work, once something is learned and “hard-wired”, it’s virtually impossible to change. The repetition forces our synaptic pathways to become deep ditches of thought flow; the easy path of least resistance. So our “thinking” and behavior, invariably, is always the same thereafter. We’re force fed so much stuff from the moment we’re born, from every possible source – family, society, school, religion, Hollywood, yada, yada…and how much of this information or “truth” is really the absolute objective truth? Very little. It molds our behavior into patterns of repetition that we can never extract ourselves out of.
So our behavior is the culmination, the product of all of this crazy stuff we input. And our thought processes become corrupted by this same. When we believe we are being “objective”, only rarely are we truly being so. We’re all tainted.
We can mitigate some of these flaws by CONSTANTLY working to undo some of these learned behaviors and beliefs. To question EVERYTHING! CONSTANTLY. Which is what I’m always trying to do, playing devil’s advocate against my own set of beliefs and thought processes and tendencies. If we never do this, I assure you, you are virtually always going to be wrong and continue to be corrupted by the brainwashing and mis-truths we’ve been fed.
It’s important to understand one very important thing:
EDUCATION AND SOCIETY IS NOT TRYING TO MAKE YOU THINK OBJECTIVELY. THEY ARE INTENDED TO MAKE YOU THINK LIKE THE MAINSTREAM.
Anyone who has gone to a university believes they have been taught to think critically and independently. To a degree, yes. But for the most part, we are still confined within the acceptable parameters of our society and culture.
People have two definitions of crazy:
One, the most common by far, is when someone is statistically “weird”, meaning their behavior falls outside the normal distribution of society. It’s the most accurate, supposedly objective, but completely arbitrary definition we use in society to determine “crazy”. Right now, I fall into this category. Objectively speaking.
The second is what can be defined by the popular phrase, “If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results…your insane.” At a more general level, this defines insanity precisely, believing something based on irrational principles. The key is to understand what truly is irrational, versus rational – objectively. Not all religion falls into this category. Some do. The definition of irrational is believing something, or thinking something, that cannot, will not, or almost certainly cannot, be true. Like I said, spirituality and religion isn’t necessarily irrational. After all, I am annoying in my repetition of the fact that God’s existence is mathematically certain.
So, while all of this may be the basis of why we’re crazy, the evidence can be seen quite readily all around us, every single day.
Tell me, if we evaluate ourselves honestly, objectively, which of these behaviors would describe you, or me?:
- I have seen countless people at work – and not necessarily only those who are career driven – lie, cheat, steal, and do “anything” to get ahead. Trying to get that few extra percent of extra annual pay boost over our peers. Trying to get that next promotion. Trying to get that corner office for more prestige. All of these things – in the grand scheme of things – doesn’t matter. Will a few extra thousand dollars solve your life’s problems? No. You have a spending and budgeting discipline problem, not an income problem. Will a bigger office make you more likable, more lovable, more enjoyable to be around? No, it’ll probably turn you into a bigger asshole, and people will simply not speak their mind around you; making you think it’s made your life better and more respected. You’re living a lie.
- I have seen many people sacrifice their lives in the name of their career, compromising their family, their marriage, their health, their sanity, their entire lives for something that – in the grand scheme of things – doesn’t matter. I don’t care if your work was bigger than what Einstein discovered. It doesn’t matter. Your ego is the only thing it will feed. If you end with nothing except your accomplishment – with only the residue of a family and children who despise you for being a shitty parent, always absent, selfish; no true friends outside of those who are interested in you as a “colleague” for professional reasons. You could be the smartest person in the world, but if you’re an asshole or a selfish arrogant prick, so what? You could be the most accomplished athlete in the world, with more championships that any human being who ever lived, so what? The memory of you by those who never knew you years from now, who couldn’t care less about who you really are or were, why does that matter? How can this behavior ever be defined as rational? Dedicating your ENTIRE life for a legacy of something that is completely irrelevant, built upon castles of sand – the memory of those who will read about you in the textbooks, acknowledge your accomplishment, then go about their own lives and not give a rats ass about you or anything about you – this – these people – who don’t even exist now – this is what you’re living for? Is that rational? It’s nothing more than a pathetic attempt at immortality. It merely exposes your mental and intellectual stupidity. Ask yourself this very important question, “How does someone, anyone, who doesn’t truly know you, but they merely know of your name, why is this such a grand ambition? How does this make you immortal? You won’t give a shit when you’re dead. And if there is an afterlife, and you squandered life as a self-absorbed asshole at the cost of true immortality, well…you’re a fool.
- I have seen countless people who will do anything for money. Literally. People all over the world, not just poor or developing countries. They sell their bodies. They sell their soul. They sell their precious time. They “sell” their families by sacrificing precious moments. They sell their lives so they can get two levels of higher luxury – a mansion, or a luxury car, a yacht.
- I have seen countless friends and colleagues who have cheated on their wives or girlfriends. None of them seem to have a sliver of the guilt that I still carry. The truth is, virtually EVERYONE who has OPPORTUNITY, does so; especially men, partly because of our genetics. We all live a lie about love and loyalty.
- If we all had to list 10 things that we wanted in our lives, probably 8 or 9 of them would be THINGS. A bigger house. A new car. A new iPhone. A 4K TV. A better job. And at the same time, we will all gladly acknowledge that material things don’t bring happiness.
- Why is everyone obsessed with their 15 minutes of fame? Who cares if people see you on TV? Who cares if people know your name? Do they care about you? How is this behavior rational?
- Nowadays, everybody says being racist is bad because nobody can choose what skin color they’re born with, so we shouldn’t discriminate. And yet, we discriminate all the time based on intellect, beauty, height, build, hair color, whether someone has a nice body, whatever. We choose whom we hire, whom we date, whom we have sex with, whom we befriend, we do so based on all of these criteria sometimes. Now ask yourself, how rational is it to simply focus on arbitrary things like skin color? None of these things we can help, usually; it’s something we are just born with. It’s morally equivalent to racism; especially intellectual bigotry. WE ARE ALL SUPERFICIAL. WE ARE ALL DISCRIMINATING ASSHOLES. WE DO IT EVERY SINGLE DAY.
It’s time we started discriminating based only on ONE thing – character: what each of us holds inside our hearts. It is the only think we have absolute control over and isn’t dependent on birth and genetics.
- Most of us make the same mistakes over and over again. It’s why we have bad habits we can’t break. And yet, most of us do the same things over and over again, trying to break them. Insanity is ingrained in our minds. It’s important for us to recognize this truth if we are to truly overcome it.
WHAT AM I DOING? AND WHY?
For my entire life, I thought, “There is no way I would ever allow myself to be homeless or live on the street.” I had too much pride, self-respect, and I was blessed with enough abilities to not have to worry about it. But recently I realized, this is precisely my problem! This thinking conceals EVERYTHING wrong with me. I am arrogant, not just prideful, believing that I am better than many, or most, or even all. It shows disdain for those who are caught in this downward vortex. There is no concept of equality here. There is no compassion. No empathy. No selflessness. It was all about me, my attributes, my abilities, my life, my success, my comfort, my hard earned sweat being rightfully redeemed for my enjoyment alone. Me.
IT TOOK ME A LIFETIME TO SEE THIS SIMPLE TRUTH HELD INSIDE MY HEART, THROUGH A LITTLE TRUISM I HAD USED TO CONVINCE MYSELF THAT I WAS RIGHT, DESERVING, AND COULD BE FREE OF MORAL GUILT: SELF-ACCOUNTABILITY.
I TOLD MYSELF THAT PEOPLE ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS, AND THEREFORE, IT IS NOT MY PROBLEM, OTHER THAN THE OCCASIONAL EMPATHY AND COMPASSION, THE OCCASIONAL CHARITY. BUT THE TRUTH IS, NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME GIFTS, TALENTS AND ABILITIES. AND MUCH OF OUR SUCCESS HAS MORE TO DO WITH OUR PARENTS AND GENETICS – THINGS COMPLETELY OUTSIDE OUR CONTROL.
So, this is why I am doing what I am doing. It is my most serious attempt to undo, to break, my pattern of behavior, based on decades of reinforced, corrupted learning; and to truly understand myself, before I can become what I must in this life, my spiritual destiny.
If one has done everything possible to seek out happiness, and the end result is malcontent; if one has fell in love deeply, found temporary happiness and failed in relationship, due to uncontrollable weakness and urges; if one has tried in futility to change, to become better, only to see the same outcomes under duress…then it’s time to take a radically different approach.
To do the same thing over and over again is, well,…to use a cliche, insane. It absolutely is.
So if a man chooses to be homeless if he doesn’t have to, to live utterly impoverished, to be hungry, to be cold and suffering continuously, to be discomforted, to be intentionally lonely, to be EVERYTHING society isn’t, he must be crazy right? Or is this the most rational and most intelligent thing someone could do? A fundamental change of self – at this point in my life – based on neurology – requires the most radical of approaches: lobotomy or a life that is 180 degrees from what I knew. I fear lobotomy. So the rational choice is to choose the latter.
Now that I know what it’s like to live with, literally, no money, and have literally nothing. I don’t need to wonder what I would do in hypothetical situations. Would I steal, or lie, or kill to survive – not for self-defense – but to forcibly take for my own survival? None of us know for sure, unless we’ve been there. Now, I know. I didn’t. (I do not state this to pose as being morally superior, don’t misunderstand.)
How many of us have been starving, not eaten for many weeks (2 or 3) and would not steal or take from another, still? I never realized just how massive the physical urge is when you haven’t eaten ANYTHING in nearly 3 weeks. All you can think about is food. Surviving. And the thoughts that raced through my mind when I was in this condition – well – they weren’t good, embarrassing; sometimes violent thoughts, selfish thoughts – to take whatever I needed, by any means necessary. It took INCREDIBLE will and restrained to not entertain these ideas and to hold to moral accountability. Maybe the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life.
How many of us have been so cold and restless – night after night – that we just want to steal a warm blanket, a warm pair of shoes, or take a thick jacket? How much pain and suffering would you absorb until you caved morally? I still haven’t, but it only means that my moral fortitude is only as good as the next moment, next decision; it’s a constant battle.
True morality is about what we would do in the most dire of circumstances, when we truly discover ourselves for what we really are. Without money. Without food. Without clothes. Without hope. Without anything. Would you do whatever you needed to, just to survive? Our lives are not about survival. We are not animals. There is more to why we exist. And if we debase ourselves to our lowest common denominator – survival – then we are merely animals and not worthy of spirituality or life or worthy of God’s respect.
I have experienced everything in this life. Literally. There is little I haven’t done or experienced. All of man’s pleasures, I have tried and pursued in over-abundance. They resulted in nothing less than the feeling of, “Is this it?”
So, if we want to truly discover ourselves, we must remove the things that cover us – money, comfort, falsehoods, etc, etc…
If we want to change, we must first know ourselves – who we truly are inside, under all the layers and layers of lies and deception. Then, know what it is we want to really become.
But the only way to truly know oneself is to suffer; to have nothing.
WE CAN NEVER TRULY KNOW OURSELVES IF WE HAVE NOT SUFFERED AND ENDURED.
Now, I know.
If this experience ever gets me to truly change – in a permanent way – I will go back to a relatively normal life. I don’t want to live on the streets, homeless. Who does? But when the time comes – if it comes – I will do so myself, pulling myself out of the hole I’ve willingly plunged myself into. I want nothing from anyone, no help whatsoever; for it is something I must do alone.
However, others are not as fortunate, with less capability. They deserve far more compassion than they receive. Not just twice a year during Christmas and Thanksgiving, but daily, constantly, especially if they do not deserve it; and left to their own devices they would repeatedly wither on their own failures.
This is why the less fortunate exist in this world. To see who will stand up, rise and not just take notice, but take action and give them more than a handout – but a helping hand, or an arm, or a leg, or your entire self to lift them up out of the abyss of their lives.
I thought I was doing pretty good as a good human being. I thought I was a good decent person by the world’s standards. When I analyzed and thought about it objectively, it was clear. I wasn’t.
Could I stand before God and say, “I did everything possible?” “I loved everyone equally and treated all the same?”
This means, truly living a life of “Half-Duplex” that I wrote about in an much earlier blog:
Self = Others.
There is nothing wrong with money or having things, as long as it is in context. But, I don’t think having a $100 million dollar mansion is ok, EVER. Not anymore. That is the epitome of evil. How could it not be, while billions suffer worldwide and barely have enough to eat.
It’s easy to be charitable and giving when you have plenty. Do so when it’s hard, and you have little means. Then it will mean something. When I hear about a billionaire being charitable, living in their $100 million mansion, flying on their private jets, that kind of charity means very little in my opinion. These are just scraps from the dinner table.
Seriously, if God were here on earth, what would he say? Do you really have to think very hard about this truth?
I’m pretty sure there won’t be any billionaires with hundred million dollar homes or exotic yachts in heaven, if there is such a place. I think God has no use for people like that, beyond this world.
Through society’s eyes, the truly insane are the ones who actually see things the clearest, who see the world for what it is; and not the lies and deception that we have been forced to believe, to serve an agenda, someone else’s agenda; or to pursue a life of comfort for the few, at the expense of the many.
I don’t expect many will agree. But then again, listening to society isn’t just insane; it’s idiotic, a spiritual suicide. We must live our own lives. God won’t judge society, only each of us on our own deeds and merits. And even if there were no divine judgement, it wouldn’t change my view or course on anything; because it’s the right thing to do. We shouldn’t need any other reason.