Author Topic: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.  (Read 1923 times)

The Good Reverend Roger

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Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« on: August 02, 2012, 02:29:09 pm »
I’ve often said that the future is bad for you.  What I didn’t tell you is that the past was bad for you, too.  Worse, in fact, by several orders of magnitude. 

The fact is, there are definite dates when the world changed.  I was, for a while, raised by my grandparents, due to the nature of my parents’ professions.  As such, I was exposed to multiple people from the change before last, if you catch my meaning.

For all the bellowing about “the good old days”, the fact is that the 20th century was for the most part a litany of horror.  The oldest people I was exposed to told me of the first world war, which can best be described as rats, poison gas, and commanders whose “grand strategy” was to have their men charge prepared machine gun nests over open ground. 

Then there was the barbed wire and Mud.  There is a difference between mud (soil and water) and Mud (a freezing mixture of soil, water, a 2 ft layer of decomposing corpses that stretched the length and width of the entire battlefield, and bits of horribly sharp shrapnel).  When Mud was discovered, it made perfect sense for all nations involved to throw their young people into it.  For 4 years.

World War I was so bad that even in extremis, Hitler would not use poison gas, having been exposed to it himself in WWI.  Oh, and let’s not forget HIS contribution to the 20th century…The perfection of genocide, and all of Europe burned down.

And in between those wars, a crippling drought and the Great Depression, which is very hard to explain in terms of its misery.  And AFTER those wars, America got down to the serious business of tormenting and excluding Blacks, Jews (google “the Jewish quota), and anyone who wasn’t to the right of Attila the Hun.

Most of you have barely heard of these events.  Consider yourself fortunate.  Somewhere in the early 1970s, the world changed.  Things got better.   The world wanted more butter and less guns.  Things improved…Somewhat.

It was still the Old World, though, to some degree.  When I was a child, bullying was not only condoned by teachers, but abetted, as it was considered an important part of growing up, and a method by which to establish the pecking order.  Similar monstrosities pervaded our culture.

And then the 80s and 90s came, and we went from analog phones to digital, computers became widely available, microwaves simplified the kitchen (missed THAT one, didn’t you, Popular Mechanics Kitchen of the Future).  Smallpox – the greatest killer in mankind’s history – was declared eradicated.

And then, in 1994, the world changed again, with the invention of the internet.  Suddenly communication between people of various nations and cultures became easy and commonplace.  We all learned that our traditional enemies were actually people, just like we were.  The world became a nicer, more interesting place to live.

This is not to say there aren’t any problems, of course.  We are beset by problems on all sides…But I wouldn’t trade today for a million yesterdays.   This is because, you see, we learned something important from the development of the internet, and from the resulting changes in our standards of living:  “If you take the fear out of the monkey, he drops his club.”

So here’s the Truth that I promised:  Despite the myriad problems we face today, things just aren’t that bad, at least by comparison.  Yesterday was a nightmare so bad that our grandparents and our parents spent their whole lives boosting our sorry, entitled asses out of it and into Today.  Today is flawed, it is a precarious, feeble future that is based on nothing.  It can’t endure.  So enjoy it while you can, because these times never last, and they pass faster than you think.  Live NOW, not tomorrow.

To be continued.
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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2012, 02:49:21 pm »
My memere was one of twelve, and lost at least one of her siblings at a young age because, well, it was nearly a century ago and that sort of thing just happened.

Today also has the benefit over yesterday of being attainable.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2012, 02:52:57 pm »
My memere was one of twelve, and lost at least one of her siblings at a young age because, well, it was nearly a century ago and that sort of thing just happened.

Today also has the benefit over yesterday of being attainable.

Yesterday is obtainable.  It lurks around every corner, soaked in blood, waiting for us to fuck up and forget about it.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 03:03:04 pm by The Dead Reverend Roger »
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2012, 02:57:26 pm »
I approve of this sort of realistic optimistic pessimisim  :lulz:
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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 06:23:29 pm »
Oddly enough, I agree with Rat. 

trippinprincezz13

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2012, 07:43:11 pm »
Having been on this planet for just under 30 years, I know I have plenty to learn about the way things are, the way things were and the way things might be. And I'm not sitting here wishing for some glossed over past that never existed, but...how can I put this? It seems like while Society may be getting better, People seem to be getting worse. That's not even right, since the lines are very blurred.

While there have been great advances in freedoms and rights (comparatively), advances in technology, medicine, etc., the culture seems to be trending towards materialsm, anti-intellectualism and maybe most of all the culture of ME - what can they give ME, how much money can I make, why should I help anyone else, I was here first, where's my instant gratification? Even in school I was teased for being smart and liking to read, but people still did it. Barely see or hear anything about books (yea there's the kindle, etc. so SOMEONE'S still reading) and full grown adults can barely spell or string a few coherent sentences together. Going to college is "elitest" and god forbid you enjoy learning just for the sake of it. You're only defined by your career, how much money you make and what you're going to buy with that money. People can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact I don't want to go to law school. "But you should be a lawer! You'll make MORE MONEY!" Yea, except that I DON'T WANT TO.

And all these THINGS that people have to have. Yes, I do have things and the things that I do have, I am happy to have. But I don't see what the drive is to keep gathering more THINGS, more clutter. I don't need to throw out my perfectly functioning phone because a new one came out a few months after that can TALK BACK AT ME. Basic skills - sewing, gardening, cooking, seem like lost arts. I'm happy when people appreciate my cooking, but some act like it's this magical thing I do, rather than teaching myself by looking at recipes and cookbooks and going from there. It's not that hard to boil water! Why retain any knowledge when you can look up someone on google at the blink of an eye?

I'm not saying throw all your electronics into the garbage and start scratching things out on rock again, but the heavy dependence that people seem to have on technology is ridiculous. I enjoy watching TV, playing video games, surfiing the internet, but I don't need or WANT to be glued to a screen 24/7. Go to a "social" event and everyone's glued to a phone playing Angry Birds or Facebook or whatever brand new Time Waster that has slightly different graphics than the last one just came out.

Everyone always has to be first, no matter who they have to step on. Even if it's something as mundane as innumerable accidents caused because everyone has to be the first one out of the parking lot and I'LL SHOW THEM. Let me shoot someone in the face because they disagreed with me on some stupid issue or just because they cut me off in traffic. Why should I care if it doesn't involve ME? Advice? You can't tell me what to do. I'M a special little snowflake and MY situation is different. But GODDAMMIT everyone better be around to pick up the pieces when I fail spectacularly.

Maybe it's just (mostly) America. Maybe it's always been there but there are just substantially more people and more exposure to these people that it becomes more noticable. Still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Granted, if stupid, self-centered assholes are the worst thing I have to worry about, in the grand scheme of things I'm pretty lucky. I know there are some sweeping generalizations in there because I don't hate everyone. And I know things could be worse and will never be perfect. I've just got all the wrong values I suppose.
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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2012, 08:01:19 pm »
When I was a kid, I knew people born around the turn of the century. People who had to get water from a pump and watch for spiders and snakes lurking in the shithouse. They worked too hard, often quit school in about third grade to help at home and didn't bathe much even though they had decent plumbing when I knew them - they just weren't raised that way. On the other hand, I've seen books on housekeeping from this period, books telling a woman how to keep a NICE place that's not all drowned-mice-in-the-butter-churn. One explained how to dig a huge septic tank the size of a small home under the shithouse. Wahoo.

This shit alone would kill me, never mind war.  :x
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2012, 08:10:57 pm »
One of the main problems people have - and have always had - is willful miscommunication.

Example:  Atheists vs Believers.

The believer thinks that atheists don't think life matters much, because when you die, you're just a lump of inanimate meat.  Atheists think that believers don't think life matters much, because it's just a waiting room for heaven.

Both are of course incorrect:  Atheists value life because that's all there is, and believers value life because they consider it a gift from a deity (or deities).

Neither side will hear that, though, because they think they have to oppose each other, and it's easier to do that if you dehumanize the other guy...So listening to this simple fact is impossible for them:  Everyone values their lives.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2012, 08:11:40 pm »
When I was a kid, I knew people born around the turn of the century. People who had to get water from a pump and watch for spiders and snakes lurking in the shithouse. They worked too hard, often quit school in about third grade to help at home and didn't bathe much even though they had decent plumbing when I knew them - they just weren't raised that way. On the other hand, I've seen books on housekeeping from this period, books telling a woman how to keep a NICE place that's not all drowned-mice-in-the-butter-churn. One explained how to dig a huge septic tank the size of a small home under the shithouse. Wahoo.

This shit alone would kill me, never mind war.  :x


And they'd fight to the death to defend their lifestyle. Would we? Fuck no. If we had to choose between making it on our own out in the sticks, and being some King's subject but have our basic needs met, for most of us it would be a no brainer. We'd sign away every shred of dignity and responsibility in a heartbeat if it meant we got to keep our standard of living.

This is why we don't care how many people die in Iraq and Afghanistan. We aren't unaware that our lifestyle is untenable without slave labor and the subjugation of entire nations, we just don't care.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2012, 08:16:11 pm »
I have failed to make my point.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

trippinprincezz13

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2012, 08:28:55 pm »
One of the main problems people have - and have always had - is willful miscommunication.
[snip]

Neither side will hear that, though, because they think they have to oppose each other, and it's easier to do that if you dehumanize the other guy...So listening to this simple fact is impossible for them:  Everyone values their lives.

Yes, that is true. I try to keep that in mind when I'm feeling all Preachy McJudgey all over the place. Just because I think my values are superior/correct doesn't make it so, even if it's with good intentions. Everyone thinks that of their own values and the "road to hell is paved with good intentions", etc.

I have failed to make my point.

:( Sometimes I need to be slapped in the face with it because I'll go off on too many tangents.

Don't long for a past that was flawed, don't fret about a future that hasn't happened, make the best of what you have today?

Edited for punctuation
There's no sun shine coming through her ass, if you are sure of your penis.

Paranoia is a disease unto itself, and may I add, the person standing next to you, may not be who they appear to be, so take precaution.

If there is no order in your sexual life it may be difficult to stay with a whole skin.

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2012, 08:30:27 pm »
I have failed to make my point.

The point I saw was that things aren't awesome and may well be teetering on the verge of Horribletm soon. However, we monkeys have actually done a lot to improve on a few things over the past hundred years or so. We should enjoy what we got on the ground, because we might be climbing back into the trees soon.

- I don't see race. I just see cars going around in a circle.

"Back in my day, crazy meant something. Now everyone is crazy" - Charlie Manson

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2012, 08:33:26 pm »

The point I saw was that things aren't awesome and may well be teetering on the verge of Horribletm soon. However, we monkeys have actually done a lot to improve on a few things over the past hundred years or so. We should enjoy what we got on the ground, because we might be climbing back into the trees soon.

Not exactly, but close enough.

The point of the first piece was that, no matter how bad things may look NOW, your great-great grandfather would have traded 20 years of his life for your worst day.

And the point of both pieces is, enjoy what you have.

The response seemed to be, "EVERYTHING'S FUCKED AND PEOPLE SUCK".

Which may be true in some respects, but there are loads of threads about that.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2012, 08:34:35 pm »
One of the main problems people have - and have always had - is willful miscommunication.
[snip]

Neither side will hear that, though, because they think they have to oppose each other, and it's easier to do that if you dehumanize the other guy...So listening to this simple fact is impossible for them:  Everyone values their lives.

Yes, that is true. I try to keep that in mind when I'm feeling all Preachy McJudgey all over the place. Just because I think my values are superior/correct doesn't make it so, even if it's with good intentions. Everyone thinks that of their own values and the "road to hell is paved with good intentions", etc.

I have failed to make my point.

:( Sometimes I need to be slapped in the face with it because I'll go off on too many tangents.

Don't long for a past that was flawed, don't fret about a future that hasn't happened, make the best of what you have today?

Edited for punctuation

Yes.  Be alive today.

The emphasis on both "alive" and "today".
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

LMNO

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Re: Truths Which May Not Be Self-Evident.
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2012, 08:38:38 pm »
Like the main takeaway from Antero Alli's chapter on Circut Two:  I am here, and I am now.