Tag Archives: Realism

Advice: Complaining

Millennials, Strive for that Perfect Selfie because You will Never get out of Debt and You Will Never own Your Own Home Responsibly

“The more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him.”
― Guy DebordThe Society of the Spectacle

“The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep.”
― Guy DebordThe Society of the Spectacle

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The headline you just read is what I think to myself when I realize I shouldn’t spend money and should save for my future interests, especially when my contemporaries scroll social media and see how others are living large and in charge and strive to be just like them.

(Firstly, social media is an affirmation to spend more money, and waste more time.  Do you have it in you?)

I am pretty sure the people around me are concerned about my one point of obsession, my now goal: paying off all of my debt. My motivation being: Because I am a slave to debtors, credit card companies own me, my student loans own me, I really don’t exist freely…  What keeps me going in this direction:  Good reasons.

Good reasons:  Some day I will own my own house, responsibly–not through some insane mortgage.  Some day I will be out of debt, entirely: zero debt.  Some day I won’t have to work every day to pay my bills, no worries.  I will retire with dignity.  And again, those around me will benefit from my now goals, from my relatively insane efforts, from sacrifices I make.

These sacrifices are easier than the alternative for me, of living in debt for the rest of my life, chipping away at what I one minimum payment, all that high interest at a time.  That is stupid.  That is something that could use distractions!

It’s hard and easy for me to imagine that there is a world out there stranded glaring into their phones at millions of other people acting out their fantasies–Millennials et al., taking photos, images of a luxury lifestyle that is nothing more than made up. IT DOES NOT EXIST.

Imagine if we could get paid for that time spent glaring at other people’s dreams… We’d all be as rich as Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Buffet, Steve Jobs, or Donald Trump.

I really shouldn’t care about the setting or the background or how long it took for another person to get that perfect photo, the perfect selfie, and all those likes, although it worries me. I care, imagine.  That is my philanthropy for the day: caring.

(Your debt is that train in the “perfect selfie” video above, maybe doing the same to you as you read.  Stay off of those tracks that lead you, or the future you, into imminent danger.)

The first thing I think about when I see pictures of people doing AMAZING things is, how much debt does that person actually have, credit cards, student loans, etc.? I know, it’s none of my business, but for science…  Then I wonder, does all that debt add up to contrived happiness, the happiness in that picture, imagines on a screen, unfocused a distracted ephemera of fleeting feeling… Does it come from that?

(A hobby of imagining your existence is entirely different from what it is?  Doing this doesn’t cause change, it avoids it.)

And we compare ourselves to those counterfeit images, those freewheeling fantasies, those nice narrative and salacious story lines… Am I as good as that other person’s selfie?  No, no, I am not… Should I be spending more money, should I be buying into this false pretense?  Do I give a shit?

Then I vanish from social media and that apathetic society that we all pay to join in some way or another. I vanish because we all should and walk back into the deep woods to find our inner animal selves, or into a deep sleep.  Beasts called gentlemen in suits and ties pretending to be anything other than ourselves.

(When we die our Facebook us’s keep on living.  Is that me?  For example, my father died four years ago in June and he unfriended me on Facebook a couple of years after that.  He is virtually still alive, however he is physically dead.  I don’t know if he sleeps anymore.  I cannot visit his grave because my reality does not understand this sort of paradox.  Social media creates dead and living zombies right now.  Imagine.)

So, yes, back to the beginning, you will never get out of debt or own your own home, responsibly–without insane lenders and bad deals, if you keep this up.  That is what I tell myself and then avoiding those distractions becomes very easy for me. You as in me.

Forget your likes, upvotes, retweets, highlights from whatever years ago, virtual memories, Facebook lives, and other people’s selfies, they evoke no artistic value whatsoever (or maybe they do: this mini-essay tho.).  Think about what you owe that credit card company, what you owe in student loans? Try to smile now, make that art, Picasso. Get that photo sing.  Real good job.  Create those American Dreams.

A Vikings’ Win when it counts turns Minnesotans into Captain Ahab, hunting his Moby Dick for all Eternity

“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.” -T.S. Eliot

Last night, after the Minnesota Vikings got DESTROYED by the Philadelphia Eagles, I was flipping through channels on my rabbit ears and found the Gregory Peck film version of the classic American novel Moby-Dick. I found this story to be an apropos metaphor for all die-hard Vikings’ fans at the moment, and for eternity. We are all perpetually Captain Ahab looking for the majestic white whale (a Vikings’ Win when it counts), becoming dangerously obsessed, eventual that idea becomes our mental and physical downfall, to the point of mortal apathy. The game last night ended like the Pequod and it’s ill-fated crew: figuratively eviscerated in a vast ocean of literal Eagles fans and defeatist nostalgia. We, us Ahabs, may never get our Moby Dick–that one win to take our Purple Pride to the Superbowl, especially in our hometown (fuck). Ah, but we will all yell at our TVs, clench our fists, ask the whys and hows, and hope every season, as we scream, THAR SHE BLOWS! that this year will be the one in which we the Vikings will win!

Words of Motivation: You can’t do it

I was told by a career planning counselor in high school that I would never go to the University of Minnesota; I would never be accepted as a student, there was no chance, I wasn’t smart enough, impossible… Well, I went there, and now, I go there most days. You see, I used to hear it a lot: “you can’t” or “don’t try” or “you just don’t have it in you”, or some other rejection letter or email or comment or slight. I think getting that sort of motivation is great. The naysayers, the haters, they actually inspire more than anyone or anything else. Being told that you don’t have the ability makes a person want to find the ability. I was rejected 22 times before I found what I actually wanted to do, again, after doing it. This was over the span of two years. Three times out of the 22 times I made it initially to be rejected twice more. (This doesn’t include two community colleges, a degree, and seven years of endless tests, quizzes, applications, and papers.)  The last time I tried I knew it was the last time or else I try again. As they say, persistence beats out talent in time eventually. I’ll take that. Add in some sentiment about my inability to do something and it will happen sooner, guaranteed. I bet you can’t do it either. You shouldn’t event try, it’s not in you.

97% of American Millennials can be completely debt free in less than 8 years by doing one simple thing, here’s how…

Have you ever woken up and thought that you could actually be debt free, I mean, like, really debt free in your lifetime? No student loan payments, no car payments, no mortgage, no credit card payments… It probably feels like the “fuck-you money” kind of awesome, going from indebted-and-paying-constantly to just existing to peacefully nothing, to actual freedom. That is something. That is real. And how you get there is you set goals and get away from the news and social media. I am working towards getting there, mildly broke now but slowly and surely getting better.  You see, I am horrible at math but because reading a few books about personal finance and factoring with logic, I know I can be out of credit card debt, student loan debt, and all other consumer debt in 5 to 8 years if I just get focused and do. And you can too if you set goals and work hard and stay persistent in your endeavors. You can do anything you set your mind to. Imagine, taking the same amount of time you spend every day updating your social media or working with a movement for someone else’s goals and dreams or investing your time into reading ADvantageous to advertisers news, and putting it towards YOUR GOALS and YOUR DREAMS. You can do it with hard work and time, 98% of the time, guaranteed. Stop being distracted and focus on bettering your situation and in 8 years see how far you have come, 98% of Americans will have changed, hopefully, for the better.

Wake up and get out of your debt prison before it’s too late

I woke up one day fed up with the debt I had accumulated and thought about how I could kill it by doing the same thing I had been doing my whole life. Fuck no. This isn’t possible. If you wake up and think this, you aren’t serious about getting out of debt.  You never will be.  You have to hate it.  Reading books on personal finance and doing little things has chipped away a bit. But as Dave Ramsey says, radical change requires radical change, or how I interpret what he says. Not waking up scared about my future debt, about the life I will not give my family wasn’t doing that. Now I am there. And I am worried about our American nation distracted letting their debt grow like cancer as they scream foul at some fantasy. They don’t realize their protest falling on deaf ears is leading to an oppression that they won’t look at and must see, growing on them and in them. Debt is a prison, makes you a corporate slave. I still don’t see the outrage en masse. I wait. Will it come? Will they want to Andy Dufresne?  My outrage is right here becoming frugal and not worried about what others think about my affluence.

Under Control of My Ideas

Maybe my ideas suck just as bad as the next person, no matter how hard I try to make them heard or make them law.  And here, I attempt to control my life in all decisions, I wake up and wonder how in control I am about my ideas. Control over other people’s ideas.  Have I tried to control too much? Too many fingers in too many idea pies? A thought I like to reflect on, old and played-out by now: when you focus on everything you focus on nothing. By making my ideas center stage have I taken the light away from other people’s ideas? I am not sure, but I recall this idea of control: When you attempt to control others you lose control of yourself. I wake up from a dream where I am visiting a counselor, she says that same thing, like a past life, as if it’s true. I know it now.  Oddly, I concede and take it all back because I know dreams can be right.  I know because they have been. Who is in control of my ideas, what ways can they show it through listening and relating under control?

If you want the impossible, you’ll have to do the impossible

If you want the impossible, you’ll have to do the impossible to get it.  Not sit around and diddle, or sit around and post on social media.  Limit these distractions.  Limit all news but the weather.  You don’t need prescription pill commercials nor paid for ideas.  Every day is another day to make it right individually, to attain everything that you want or need in YOUR LIFE.  Sitting here at 5 a.m. on a Saturday, every Saturday, I teach English abroad to make my impossible possible.  I am a dad, human, American.  I have obligations.  There is no questions about it.  I want the impossible.  And the only way to get it is to be realistic, and do the impossible.  If you want something hard work is the key, that shouldn’t be impossible.

Less is More, so many generalizations

Recently, I have come under the idea that less is more. I’ve been reading Walden on Wheels. I have been seeing that what I have, too much, is very too much. I want out of it. I say now, less is more, less is more. This is so true.

This realization started after reading The Millionaire Nextdoor, a book about being frugal. A book about just living with less, not overspending, and living on the means that you have, and becoming a millionaire.

I set new goals because of it. I want nothing. I want to have nothing but liquid security in wealth. The lesson I learned is be prepared for anything and don’t live beyond your means. Keep an even keel. Sail your boat and don’t sink.

Yes, I do believe less is more… So I give you less words. But I must admit it. I am starting to like the idea of having less and feeling it more. As Dave Ramsey says (I have been listening to his podcast) “Live like no one else and you can live like no one else.”

I am ready to live like no one else. Have been for some time. I always felt like a nonconformist. Now I can prove it in actions. No more too much. No more overspending. We all owe it to ourselves to get ourselves right first. Then we can help everyone else. But only then.

The best time to deactivate your Facebook account is now

 

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Perhaps, over the years, American society has found a disconnect with being connected. This goes beyond the scope of the human and technology relationship, especially when plugging in disconnects us more and more from reality. We have created avatars of ourselves on platforms that get paid to have us there. Our pictures and our likes and our posts and our art are free advertisements, and you should get paid for what you do, really, and you should hold those that profit off of your media accountable.

The lens of what we see through our eyes is a special and unique one, true to us. Our voice through an instant platforms give us a sense of being, a sense of place in a connected world. Our art shared and receiving likes gives us a sense of importance. Our lens of focus is enacted and descrying those interactions. One, a sense, that like wine, gathers new notes and qualities throughout the years. We see things as we like to see them. The media we post about ourselves does not actually reflect who we are but who we want to become.

And that is the assumption, that the platform is pure and innocent–something that we can create ourselves as we imagine ourselves on. We see pictures and posts and ideas and politics and these change our minds assumed unobscured. All of these ideas are brought to us through and unnatural lens, a lens paid for by lobbyists, or political parties, or foreign governments, or massive corporations. If Facebook is where you get your news, then your news is skewed by the aforementioned; your idea is formed through the lens of capitalism, of marketing to your demographic.

This is all a bit scary when we realize objective observation is a made up idea of which you cannot understand beyond the thoughts in your head, this relates to Facebook. Especially then, in that framework, language is rooted in history making it not your unique idea: your words on not your words. (You don’t think in made up languages; perhaps you think in English, Spanish, or German) Further, take recently, Facebook announced they were paid by Russia to place ads on their platform; therefore, everything is touched by everything and related. Had this transaction been carried out by a politician it would have been a deplorable offense. Because we are part of it, through social media, we are accountable and involved. Accomplice. The CEO of Facebook admitted this, the idea of taking money to place ads. Said “we” would work harder at vetting these messages. That is all of us and our words.

Furthermore, if the message of these real advertisements is out there with “fake news” how is one to get beyond that? We are fake people living in a fake world. The toilet paper you buy, because of the advertisement you witnessed on Facebook, reinforces the reality of the “fake news” story, making it present real in a skewed lens. It may seem like a fallacy but the shampoo you bought is real, the ad you saw for that product was real, making the news story you saw exist in that same genre: in a realistic hue. Or visa versa, the political ad you saw on Facebook was fake but the news was actually real. How much research did you put into finding out the truth of both? At least you know the shampoo works. I say, share that headline, it’s from CNN.

The lens we think in is through social media, like language, it is not our own, and that media is owned by someone else, by a capitalistic entity. Our language, art, media, comments and posts are dictated by a media that sets you within a certain category, living within a framework designed and restricted by others. Go outside of this category allotment and face banishment, hatred, expulsion, and unsavory marks at your character, image, or likeness. Stay within it and you become homogeneous, enjoyed by others, there is a sense of worth, community. But is that worth real or contrived? Is that worth valuable when you realize you are a pawn for marketers, and a company which may have swung an election, may have profited off of your existence?

If you want to move beyond this compromised platform, now is the time to unplug, deactivate as I have. End your Facebook account for the idea that you are outside of the box. I feel a bit outside of that square because I did it. The story of my deactivation: Facebook had a class-action lawsuit against them (Fraley vs. Facebook) because they used my likeness without my permission, and the likeness of 150,000 unaware others. I, well we, became an ironic advertisement we knew nothing about. I struggled with the deactivation, had to download all my photos again but eventually I succeeded. I feel much better not being in something presumed innocent but exists as something entirely different, while totally accepted as the former.

Facebook presents as simple, transparent, honest, easy, thoughtful, and benevolent. Many media outlets use Facebook, push accounts and stories. Newspapers have Facebook pages, we get stories from Facebook; a summer back Facebook Live started a social media movement. Those movements are latent effects, the manifest effect is the profits. What you might not understand is that visibility is lucrative to companies. These entities are making money off of ads–ads which might be bought by foreign governments, to trick you to buy something or to carry on with some contemporary idea. They want you to see it through their lens, the lens that profits for them, the lens of distraction and complacence.

Social media, in theory, may be a great idea, we are brought closer to places, people, and things we love, we get information immediately, we are privy to every detail. Or we are privy to the details entities allow us to see. That is so easy. So easy, why change? Well, when the platform crashes and everything you own on that platform is compromised–which is nothing, you will have nothing to show for it. Someone else will: their loss. That is why the time is now to deactivate and live your life free of the lens you forces upon yourself. Free to say and think what you mean outside of the capitalistic realm presented. Imagine not needing a CEO to align you with your thoughts. Plug into your new-old platform: real-life.

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