The cold, hard, light of day

in #hive-17457812 days ago

After organizing the day's plan with the tradesmen, my wife and I spent our day off together in the city and as we walked around, a "trend" has become evermore apparent - drug addicts lining the streets. While this isn't quite the ghettos of Baltimore from The Wire, this also isn't the US, this is Finland where there is no need for anyone to be homeless and there is plenty of support for all kinds of addicts.

I say that this is a trend due to the change in demographics over the years. When I first arrived 17 years ago, I was quite surprised by the amount of street alcoholics who came out of the woodwork once the weather warmed up and I heard first-hand stories of husbands who would go "into the pipe" on their summer holidays, straight from the office and still wearing a suit. This wasn't typical though, it was more as you'd expect - older, broken men who had been this way for years.

Now though, they are getting younger and I see groups of barely out of their teens who look like they have been living it rough and on the stuff for the last decade. But there they are, obvious signs of usage - still with a new smartphone in hand. This aren't "down on their luck" kinds of people, this is a choice and while predominantly men, there is a fair percentage of women also.

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My wife and I discussed this for a while and for her, it is a mystery as to what has happened in the last decade and the steep ramp up over the last 3-5 years, but I think it is pretty obvious. We have created a world of disposable goods and services and then productized ourselves, making us irrelevant in more ways than one. Simultaneously, we have pushed social activity into the digital realm that has disconnected us from each other and amplified the incentive for "self-branding" while lowering the amount of social interaction we have. When we are "social", it is about getting a good shot for Instagram, to get some hearts.

Not only this, there is also the lowering of employment opportunity for large percentages of the population, a reduction in relative wealth in the lower brackets, increase in costs and the ability to "opt-out" of society, by taking social support and living on the bare minimum at home behind a screen, whiling away the time, pretending to enjoy life.

It is empty experience and a human needs more.

Have you noticed how much entertainment is an individual experience? When I was a kid, having fun was heading out on bikes with friends to eat candy and get up to mischief and later it was to get drunk and have massive parties. We'd also go to the movies, play sports and flirt..a lot.

These days, people would seemingly rather spend their time behind a screen playing the latest release game, watching Netflix or surfing YouTube (or porn) than socialize. With the lack of need to "impress" anyone, people tend to let themselves go and now the average body is anything from just below morbidly obese. In teens and twentysomethings??

I think that the increase of addicts on the street is s a symptom of social dysfunction on a mass scale, where most people are looking for some kind of connection and meaning to their life or, trying to numb the pain in some way. I was trying to explain how social media and internet plays into this breakdown of relationships, but it is hard to see as not everyone is going to become a drug addict, just a small percentage.

If you take a range of 100 youths, only a relatively small number will test positive for example, some kind of substance abuse - but that test doesn't tell the full story. If the substance abuse is a symptom that presents due to conditions, not everyone is going to be affected in the same way. For example,

The total number of teenagers who recently experienced depression increased 59% between 2007 and 2017. The rate of growth was faster for teen girls (66%) than for boys (44%)
source (they sourced from here)

there are statistics like this and it is happening all over the world to some degree, despite differences in culture and economics of the countries. For example, Finland is in far better economic shape with far lower wealth disparity than the US, it also has free education and high standards of living for pretty much everyone.

Yet, if we take those 100 young people and test them for different kinds of symptoms of social dysfunction, we will see a far greater number than that of the addicts - things like eating disorders, depression, loneliness, sexual problems, anxiety, paranoia, lethargy and the list likely goes on. How many of the under thirties do you know who are healthy, active, non-depressed, well-adjusted, balanced and active? How many do you know who have some kinds of issues?

We all have issues - but, the rate of problems that are connected to social dysfunction seem to be growing by the day, despite having a thousand more channels to connect socially than we had just a decade or two ago. The problem with all of these channels is that for many, we can choose who we are. This means that because there aren't the normal checks and balances of real life interaction in much smaller and intimate social circles, the push to "brand" in some way is strong, to add the highlights, to embellish, to pander to the audience.

Rather than people "liking you for you", they give thumbs up, a star a heart or a clap for the version of yourself you portray in a given moment, and there doesn't need to be continuity, as the stream is so full, so fast, so algorithm driven that people can't keep up, even if they weren't so self-absorbed into engineering their own brand. We are able to jump from one bandwagon to the next without there being any social pushback, no real friends to care enough to question the conflicts between positions. Not only this, the internet persona doesn't actually have to do anything in regards to whatever it says - just say it.

It is all senseless, all meaningless - and we know it.

At least we feel it.

So many people in this world feel that something is missing in their lives and keep chasing for meaning in whatever the latest trend is, in a process not much different to an addict looking for their next hit to sooth their craving. Some will present with the over the top social media quest for peer validation, some will take a position and retreat behind a Playstation, most will become addicts of something.

How many healthy and well-adjusted people are there now?

We are a social animal that has innovated a path that means we can "survive" without socializing, but our hard-wiring is still dictating our emotions and saying - make some real friends, do something that helps others, create and build what is valuable to the community. We just have conditioned ourselves not to listen to what our body is saying and instead - keep cramming our "drug of choice" into our veins, thinking that this time, the high is going to last.

I always have to ask myself,
who benefits from conditions that encourage a disconnected and ill society?

Taraz
[ Gen1: Hive ]

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The ever-present battle between the creator and the consumer in each of us.

I have the feeling that while we are able to all be creators, it will still only be around the Pareto principle percentages, where most are consumptive. what should affect this however is that we consume a lot of variety, meaning there is a lot of opportunity for everyone to get a little something for what they are good at . I reckon Hive is a pretty decent model of this as while there is a fair amount of value around certain topics, the chance for many to earn is quite good and if for example Hive was worth a hell of a lot more, the spread of value would be decent, especially as owners would adjust their curation as prices increase.

''Too much of everything'' is the new problem that humanity is facing, and the old, ancient conditioned body which is adapted to scarce, does not know how much is enough. This is the reason why the are developing an obese generation, and this pattern can be seen in any other aspect of our daily lives.
As the days are going by, progressive movement seems to be getting out of control and it doesn't seem to have any idea about the meaning like ''boarder line''.

I just hope to still be alive to see what the result of the current events will be, and what will come out on the other side.

I don't know that people who benefit want the negative results. They just want to give people what they want. They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Making better games, making Internet faster, making social media platforms for people to communicate and collaborate, making delicious processed foods, . . . this is all giving people what they want, giving them what they ask for. It's not giving them what they need.

Education used to also include learning about virtues and finding our places in society, ways that we could make ourselves fit into the world. Now, the type of education we get is about changing the world to suit us and our way of thinking. It is a cold and unspiritual approach to living. People are just objects that can be adjusted, modified, and standardized for general purpose.

There is always some psychological pathology you could determine about why people fall by the wayside. You can explain it all away with dysfunctions. These are just people who need to be taught how to better deal with life. But, a life of what? Education throws you out into the world for general use by society with no idea how to find your life purpose. We are just widgets that are interchangeable with the proper training.

Of course, that's not how people function. But you wouldn't think it based on how little time is spent teaching young people to figure out their core values and their life purpose. One doesn't just get out of bed and figure these things out.

this is all giving people what they want, giving them what they ask for. It's not giving them what they need.

Yes, but what we want we are also conditioned to want it in various ways also - advertising being one. The companies creating want profits atoo, and that comes before anything else. As I have said many times before, to change supply, demand needs to change - that is up to us.

People are just objects that can be adjusted, modified, and standardized for general purpose.

Yes and when they are no longer useful - discarded in favor of whatever flavor is to follow. Trends come and go rapidly - people are gone just as fast - "15 minutes of fame" isn't what it used to be and hearts and stars can't be traded for goods and services.

But you wouldn't think it based on how little time is spent teaching young people to figure out their core values and their life purpose.

Parents have removed themselves from this role further and further also - they prefer to be liked by their children and have the free time for their own entertainment consumption.

One doesn't just get out of bed and figure these things out.

Those who take steps on the path are often those who have experienced enough pain to ask, is there another way?

On that last point, that was me. I was constantly struggling and unhappy. I took solace in alcohol. Until one day, I got fed up with it all and decided life could be better. Since that day, I have worked and improved myself. My values changed from that day forward. As a result, the lives of my family is much better now than it ever was.

I often compare that moment to Scarlett O'Hara's decision to never go hungry again in the movie Gone With The Wind. Something clicks.

I think many people have a limit as to how far they will allow themselves to suffer. For others, they may not know that they can set a limit. Or, they may not want to set a limit. Or, maybe it is better to not bother than to try hard and fail. There is no telling what people value, especially if they haven't asked themselves that question.

As humans, we have a great propensity for adjusting to conditions and when they are worsening, we keep winding ourselves down - saying one day it will get better. I liken it to the lobotomized frog in the slowly heating pan of water.

Many people seem to need rockbottom to become curious. I am glad you are doing better in life now -I wish there were more.

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Physical interaction is slowly disappearing my friend. Family members are drifting away from each other and the mighty machine with it's technological lifestyle rules.
You are right about the little false hearts and claps as they have become meaningless. Just as false as all else is turning out be. A fake world methinks.

"Healthy and well addjusted" people should be placed on the endangered list as they face extinction.

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Thank you for the kind support!

I am guessing there will be a swing of the pendulum back, but many will be wiped out at the turn.

"Healthy and well addjusted" people should be placed on the endangered list as they face extinction.

I aim to raise one - but it is a tall order in today's world.

We long for many things, good things of the past, but as you say, we face almost impossible odds. AI, if it is designed and implemented with social improvement in mind, might just be an answer for the tech junkies.

My one little grandson Eli, is a gifted child in the maths stakes and it was his 11th birthday yesterday.
I called to wish him and asked him about his plans after school and he said that he will continue to study for a medical degree. I was surprised, as he is not medically inclined.
No, he said,he needs the medical degree first and then he will study for a degree in AI robotic design of all things.

Now you know me and I was flabbergasted.

"Why ever for"? I asked. Well, he said, he wants to design robots that can instantly diagnose people for hundreds of diseases.

Can you believe this? He is only 11 years old and when I registered his mom in the university many moons ago, much water has run under the bridge, but I never imagined that this little guy would appear on the scene.

What a little blessing!

No, he said,he needs the medical degree first and then he will study for a degree in AI robotic design of all things.

It would be nice if this was the order of things - Hippocratic oath and then AI development.

We have such high hopes for that kid Taraz.
Just like his grandfather, he also skipped a standard, but that's where the similarities end lol.
He is the number 1 in his class and if there was 20 students in a class, I was number 20 hahaha.

Some a re good students at school, some are better students in life. The lucky ones are both :)

Well in that case I am one of those unlucky ones my friend.
Only my sporting abilities that pleased the headmaster so much to keep me at the school hahaha.

When we are "social", it is about getting a good shot for Instagram, to get some hearts.

The problem is indeed in the illness of craving the virtual validation. And I think it is about numbing the pain of feeling that they lead a shallow life, with no meaningful connections. What makes us human in comparison with an animal is our ability to form life long connections , to have relationships and to nurture them. We have the gift of verbal language, but now people speak "emoticon" to fast forward the process. They send a message instead of calling. They call instead of seeing. They just sit and see instead of hugging. The cycle of this disease of the heart will make a lot of people ill, the teens are especially vulnerable.

I have found that even adults go down this path. Embracing the virtual person instead of working on the real one. If we could count the tears behind the virtual hearts....Instagram would cry. Many people pose happy for a second and the rest of the day they are sad and depressed. It is heartbreaking to see how people turn to be now. Should we have social media rehab facilities? Take it all and see you can live without it. Being on social media and not getting validated is still ok. You don't have to own a fake self, you just have to own yourself. It is the only thing we trully possess. That is why we have the power to let go of what we own in material goods. When we will realise that what we own is ourselves and that is the best thing, the cycle will stop.

Your post reminded me of a wise quote, which goes well in this and it made me wonder when I came across it

"Before you heal someone, ask him if he's willing to give up the things that made him sick." —Hippocrates

We have the gift of verbal language, but now people speak "emoticon" to fast forward the process. They send a message instead of calling.

I had a conversation with a 17 year old about how they are now adding "emoticon" expressions and gestures into their normal conversation - kind of like the OK symbol, but it means "shy" or whatever other nonsense they do :D

I have found that even adults go down this path. Embracing the virtual person instead of working on the real one.

I believe so and I think in some ways, the adults are less equipped and over compensate for their lack of "logic" in the area. '

Should we have social media rehab facilities?

I think there are already, as well as gaming addiction. There have been stories of child abuse through neglect while the parents were on Facebook...

"Before you heal someone, ask him if he's willing to give up the things that made him sick." —Hippocrates

That is a great quote and something people should consider when they want to improve their position in this world in some way.

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The teenage modern language. It would be scary and exciting to try to get through that and actually get some meaning from it. Emoticon language for me is just plain shallow. When people used to text me like that, instead of forming a sentence, I took it like a lack of respect towards the quality of the conversational process. It is that they don't know better or they don't want to try better. A sort of conversating by default through a sheer boredom obvious in their existence. Real and virtual. Existential boredom, only that it looks like living. Quite a challenge to get out of that because it seems so normal because most of people do it.

Just like I would smash a 😊 instead of giving a proper answer to a nice conversation. Yeah, I am really not into emoticon language

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