“Greatest Country in the World?”

Seriously? Look at these statistics:

That’s pretty shocking isn’t it?

Yes, I just have to make an obligatory Independence Day post. And it’s not one that you’d expect from someone who actually lives in the states. Alas, here were my remarks on Facebook earlier today:

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Some sobering statistics. How does one even quantify “the greatest country in the world?” That’s all subjective opinion as it were.

I’m not saying I dislike this country. I’m also not necessarily saying I’d be less miserable elsewhere. However when we look at objective measuring sticks we see the subjectiveness of such a claim.

There is no “greatest country in the world.” There is no worst either. It’s a matter of personal opinion that when asserted as fact sounds totally asinine.

I pledge no allegiance to any country or government. I pledge allegiance only to my own conscience. I’m an American citizen on paper but at heart I’m a non-citizen of the world, for we are all interdependent upon one another regardless of some imaginary lines drawn in the earth.

Have a good day everyone.

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So there you have it. I now leave you with this song, which has more substance to the lyrics than this entire country seems to. It’s also fitting in that this song perfectly describes the blind patriotism of most American conservatives.

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Friday Ponderings…

As I sit here at my desk on an uneventful Friday drafting my resignation letter (yes, it’s time – the company has crossed a line it can’t un-cross with me and I see no way forward; I’m at a point of either resigning or I’m going to flip out and be terminated) and pondering my next temporary career move (yes, only temporary – whatever job I take on until L&B is launched is only temporary anyway) it occurred to me a pervasive recurring pattern in my life and it’s really bothering me and has me scared in a way.

I’ve noticed that in my life, two years is when no matter what I get myself into comes to a close or winds up eventually failing. It’s like a ticking time bomb almost. I’ll have been with this company for almost exactly two years come my last official day of employment here. As far as my endeavors prior to that I spent two years in graduate school with the intention of pursing a PhD in applied mathematics, but due to whatever reason going into semester 4 of my graduate program things took a turn for the worst, my grades slipped and I wound up leaving with just a Master’s. Prior to grad school I was a high school teacher for, you guessed it, two years before I became a victim of a mass teacher layoff in the state of Texas (thousands of teachers were laid off around 2010).

Whatever the case, it really does bother me that I go in cycles like this. It makes me wonder if it’s purely external factors or is there something else at play internally like another as-of-yet uncovered mental health issue that runs comorbid with autism spectrum disorder? Further, what does this mean is in store for my future? Will the next job I have fail after two years? That wouldn’t be a big deal because you see, my medically-caused bankruptcy falls off my record in July 2019 and then all roads lead to me moving some place that fits my lifestyle and launching L&B. However, that leads to the next question: will history repeat itself yet again and lead to the failure of L&B after two years? Then what the fuck am I going to do?

Forgive me for being incredibly bleak and negative here, but I truly am worried. I can’t help but wonder if reincarnation is true and if so what the fuck did I do in a past life that I’m being punished so harshly for it in this one? It’s hard to keep a smile on your face and stay upbeat when shit like this happens again and again. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

I’ve fallen into that void of silence where I cry without sound, where tears rolls down…

Independence Day – Are We Truly Free?

Well here we go. It’s Independence Day here in the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence was signed on this day 241 years ago. As such, Americans all over the lower 48 and in Alaska and Hawaii will be celebrating freedom with cookouts, alcohol and more fireworks than one can shake a stick at.

Wait, did I say freedom? Hah, is there really such a thing? In my view, there’s not really such a thing. For whatever reason Americans have this mistaken illusion that they are somehow free or enjoy freedom. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We aren’t free in this country. We never have and never will be.

Freedom does not come from a government or country. Freedom does not come from law. After all, how can it? Laws do nothing but place restrictions on our lives in various ways, by saying we can’t buy/sell certain products, we can’t sell our bodies for money or telling us what substances we can or can’t use. Is restricting our ability to engage in these things (that really don’t directly harm other people) true freedom? Is being required to spend a vast majority of our waking hours at these things called “jobs” just to scrape by freedom?

What about all the spying, wiretapping, etc. that goes on in this country? Or being required to pay a fee and be licensed to carry a firearm, open a business, or even build a house? Is requiring a government document to be able to call yourself married really freedom? Is the government forcing people to say alive even if they don’t want to freedom? Is being forced to buy something lest we be penalized (i.e. health insurance) freedom? Is being forced to wear a motorcycle helmet or a seatbelt freedom? Just think about that for a second. It doesn’t sound much like freedom to me, does it?

Now, this is not an indictment on the USA directly as pretty much every country operates on the same principles. In that light, is there really such a thing as a truly free country? The answer is pretty clear to me: no, there is not. In that light, I cannot in good conscience pledge allegiance to any country or government. I pledge allegiance only to my conscience.

Now this is not to say that all laws are inherently bad. There are indeed many actions that are restricted by law because they directly harm others. Theft, assault, rape, homicide, etc. all cause harm to others and should be legally forbidden. I’m talking more about the petty shit that the US government and pretty much every other government body in the world meddles in that they have no business meddling in.

So now that we’ve established that there’s no such thing as a free country, the question is whether or not we can truly be free as individuals.  Again, if you slow down and look at it, you’ll find that as long as we are existent, we can never truly be free. We are all slave to our biological programming and basic functions. All of us are required to consume liquid and food to be able to sustain ourselves, which in turn makes us slave to expel excess liquid and undigested remnants of food. Most people are biologically driven to reproduce.

The notion of “free will” is largely an illusion. We don’t really have free will. For the most part we are robots, merely following our internal computers and not really being able to override them. Some of us are able to override our biological programming to some extent (case in point my choice to not have children), but most are not. The truly lucky ones are the ones who are able to override their survival instincts to the point of being able to successfully free themselves from the bondage of existence.

In short, we will never experience true freedom so long as we are trapped in our bodies and experience sentience. It is only when we die and escape sentience that we will truly be free, for at that point we will have no more biological programming nor will we be subject to any legal code.

Now, I should say none of this is to say I hate my country or that I necessarily hate my life given that I already exist (though I would have preferred never to have existed). I also realize that in the grand scheme of things, the US is a lot less restrictive than a lot of other places. I’m just saying that what most people think they’re celebrating isn’t so. There is reason to celebrate, of course, in that there are A LOT worse places to live. If I had to be brought into existence at all (which all sentient creatures were brought into existence without their prior consent), I’m glad that I was at least born in a less restrictive and more highly developed nation. That does not, however, give me license to operate under the delusion that I am somehow free. I am not. Neither are any of you regardless of where you live.

In conclusion, by all means celebrate. Be glad you don’t live in the Middle East or under the reign of ISIS, but don’t kid yourself – there is no such thing as a truly free country nor is there such a thing as true personal freedom so long as you’re alive. Only in death (or, preferably, eternal non-existence) is true freedom found, for the non-existent can never be restricted from or deprived of anything.