As a veteran of the computer industry, lover of technology and all things robotic, perfectly prepared to worship our all-mighty robot overlords when they spring up from the A.I-verse, I still haven’t changed my perspective on social media. See: Anti-Social Media (Part I). It is the bane of the First World’s existence.
Social media is the scourge of our century the same way rock and roll affected our grandparents in the Fifties. And like Rock and Roll, it isn’t going anywhere soon.
Yes, I know the benefits of technology. I recognize it allows us to have friends outside of our geographical area. It lets us connect to people who share our ideals and beliefs. It can also allow us access to publishing and more permanent forms of information manipulation bringing us closer to people who we might not have ever met in the flesh.
Technology has brought us drones that deliver packages to our doorsteps or hellfire missiles to our enemies in whatever third-world nation managed to piss off Fox News and the government this week. Technology has also put people out of work, caused the Uberfication of the modern workplace where once highly employable folks are driven to desperate measures working as Uber drivers, Task Rabbits or Alfreds for overworked, overpaid yuppies who live in overpriced apartments while carrying too much educational debt and having nothing resembling a social life for all that money.
(NOTE: if you don’t read anything else, read the article linked also linked above “The Shut-in Economy.” It paints a picture of the modern workplace and economy of workers that investors are wanting to create more of almost certainly ensuring society spins further out of control as economic inequality escalates.)
However, Social media, for all of its potential benefits, including its participation in world shaking events such as the Arab Spring protests and subsequent uprisings and the Hong Kong Protests, still strikes me more as a tool for addiction development than a benefit to society as a whole. A wide array of opinions around social media addiction exists.
But this is just some over-educated scientist’s opinion. You know how oppressive science can be when it comes to opinion. But if your dinner table looks like our opening photograph or you have a basket at your front door insisting your friends drop their addiction at the door, with a note saying: Be with the friends who are here! You know what I’m talking about.
No matter what we may think of social media overall, we cannot deny its increasing intrusiveness, its crushing of personal creativity and potentially devastating effects on our economy. It’s estimated social media may have cost as much as $650 billion in lost revenue nationwide just from the two largest social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter.
Why do I mention this at all? Most of you will not change your habits, no matter how much you know about social media’s ill effects on you, your friends, the world, your pets, your health and your life in general. This article is for those times when you find yourself wondering if you are spending too much time online, whether your social media may be affecting your life in a negative way, when you look around and wonder if anyone has ever warned you about the potential detrimental effects on you or your business, the answer can be: Yes. You were warned. Now get up. Open the blinds, behold the sun, squint, take a shower, put on some clothes. Go outside. Say hello to someone without using your fingers. Who knows, you might even make a friend, in real time, locally who might actually go with you to the movies…together.
Watch the incredible animated video that follows. This video puts social media in the light I believe it needs to be seen in. Done to the tune of Carmen, no less. Enjoy!
‘The “civilized” have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their “vital interests” are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the “sanctity” of human life, or the conscience of civilized world.’ —James Baldwin
POVERTY IS A TOOL
It is in this writer’s opinion poverty, poverty as we know it in the modern world and in the modern sense, does not need to exist.
It is a byproduct of lifestyles, of policies, of politics, of psychologies driven through conscious and unconscious selections. But in recent centuries, the means to abolish poverty came to mean it was possible for humanity to share the wealth among its members, producing an age where poverty did not exist. Despite the occasional protestations about the end of the world or the world’s inability to support growing populations, Humanity continued to exist and grow. And grow more unequal.
Instead of growing more equal and egalitarian, society took a subtle but unpleasant turn toward selfishness, toward personal gain, toward greed and instead of abolishing poverty, poverty was embraced and recognized as a tool by those in control.
Poverty has been weaponized in modern society.
Debt is the ultimate expression of power in this, our capitalist-focused pretense of a civilization;
Fantastic (as in imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality, definition) personal wealth has become the ultimate billy club, the ultimate expression of force, more powerful than any legal system.
The creation of socialized debt and poverty manufacture has become more enabling than any political power. More subtle than the quietly offered bribe and more invasive. More influential than any kind of charismatic leadership.
Money has become the ultimate aphrodisiac, lubricant, and problem-solver as long as the problem requires lots of money to be thrown at it, in perpetuity, with subsidies for all (who deserve them and know how to lobby to get them).
Combine the use of weaponized poverty by the fantastically rich who use their wealth to create opportunities of social imbalance:
Creating a “need” for education in the workforce while at the same time “providing” the resource at an exorbitant price, driving everyone into debt to participate due to the inescapable “requirement” for a degree to be had by everyone, even if you’re just serving fries across a counter in a fast-food franchise.
Altering a police structure from a “protect and serve” environment of civil service to a “fee collection service” managed by local government in place to offset taxes no longer collected against the wealthy and now subsidized instead by taking even more from the already cash-strapped lower-class citizens of major metropolises already struggling to just stay in the rat race.
Driving people to homelessness with any interaction with the civil system from a parking ticket to a speeding ticket. Any time a citizen in one of these cities meets a cop, there is a fee involved that will take away anywhere from a day to a week’s worth of pay in one interaction.
With most people living just a paycheck from homelessness, to meet the police may be to greet your harbinger to homelessness or even outright criminality as you are forced to choose between feeding your family or paying a fine to avoid getting a bench warrant which will eventually end in your arrest.
Creating a medical and health system so imbalanced that millions of people will go into debt through no fault of their own because the medical industry cannot be bothered with tracking and regulating itself so that people can find themselves in debt without even knowing it after a visit to the hospital that might have been thought to be covered by insurers.
Meanwhile entire food industries are enriched by the creation of food-like products from industrial food processes which create and exacerbate health problems in societies across the world, shortening lifespans, reducing quality of life and driving people into the arms of a corrupt medical-industrial complex only too happy to capitalize on the dying while making no efforts to change the systems which create these sicknesses in the first place.
The medical industry is little more than an accomplice in this orgy of food-product devastation across the planet.
People starve in lands of plenty, eating food that isn’t food, creating lives which end sooner, with a poorer quality of life. If the Sword of Damocles could be asked, it would be embarrassed by abundance of the damned dancing beneath it’s ominous shadow.
A PAUCITY OF JUSTICE
We have the dual justice system adding insult to injury in the lives of those not rich enough to buy JUSTICE and instead are forced to mutter beneath their breaths when the issue of the who the punitive aspects of our legal system are for.
They can reply unequivocally, “just us”.
Everyone who is worth less than a million dollars can agree, just as easily as the news media parades a multitude of cases before you, showing how the wealthy pay a fine when involved in atrocities that destroy the lives of millions and how the poor, even when they are engaged in non-violent, non-lethal crimes can find themselves arrested for upwards of three decades.
They are slaved out to corporate farms, fire-fighting teams, industrial widget builders and thralls-for-hire. Even when the murderer is clearly in the wrong for an act poorer men have hung for, somehow, an excuse, a malady real or imagined (i.e. affluenza) will excuse the wealthy from the punishments assigned to the rest of us.
Being poor in America is having a greater and greater meaning as the systems once used to bring prosperity to the masses creating a middle-class are dismantled under the guise of “de-regulation” when those regulations were put in place to protect all of us from the greed of capitalism run amok, unregulated, unconcerned with the effects of its rapacious growth on the environment, society, and ultimately upon itself as it strip-mines the people whom it needs to buy its products and services.
‘The man most likely to want to lead government, such as it is, the man most likely to believe government has to do more with what’s in his pocket than in is heart or head, also tends to be the least fit to do so. This delusion should be satisfied by electing such folk as dog walkers, given a collection of various animals according to their nature and ushered out to perform a civic duty they are so aptly suited for.’ —Mark Twain (he didn’t say this, but I think he would have!)
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Is the final goal of this engine of capitalism to leave nothing but the scorched earth behind it as it absorbs the fruits and the bodies of its laborers toiling in conditions just shy of legally-sanction criminality, under the guise of double-digit corporate growth?
Is the goal to leave no natural rain forest unmolested, no oil-bearing shale deposit unmined, no natural resource unexploited for the sake of the next billion-unit gadget being sold to help folks masturbate virtually?
Is the goal to say “we are so wealthy, the environment doesn’t matter, burning carbon doesn’t matter, clean oceans bereft of all life, doesn’t matter; human lives where people have dignity, respect, education, a sense of worth and belonging to viable communities, doesn’t matter?”
Is the goal to remind us that all of the things we see in the media exist to serve the capitalist agenda of selling products, moving goods and ultimately pandering to created needs using propaganda, commercials and social manipulation of memes until people are willing to go into debt for the latest iGadget, no matter how many times a year it’s upgraded.
Is the goal really to say to everyone involved in this grand experiment of humanity to say “fuck you if you weren’t born wealthy or aren’t ruthless enough to sell your fellow humans up the river for your personal benefit?”
Is this why Pope Francis pisses everyone off? Because he has the temerity to point out to everyone who uses the teachings of the church as a cover for their cultural duplicity that he, as the titular head of that church, will not sit idly by and provide cover for their reprehensible behavior?
The Pope reminds us:
Climate change is bad and we know it. We can lie and say “we’re not sure, but we truly already know its bad and saying anything but that is disingenuous at best.
Punishing the poor for being poor, throwing them in jail, pushing them out of their homes is not Christian. Hell no it’s not. Nor is bringing back debtor’s prisons or redlining, or the prison-industrial complex. Making people poor and then arresting them for being poor is criminal.
Hydraulic fracturing? How do you square the circle of saying we would rather have oil than water, when there are already millions around the world without enough water?
Aren’t there corporations with no problem risking fresh water for millions of people deeming their lives less important than the billions of dollars to be made by using that water to get access to fossil fuels we could, if we were forward thinking, be putting aside for something better, using renewable energies instead.
THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU
This part is for my Sisters and Brothers out there who I trust have figured it out by now. America’s amble bosom does not provide equal nurturing for all her citizens. “With Liberty and Justice” for those who are properly connected and doing what the established system of inequality deems is your place to be.
People say its because the dominant subculture doesn’t take People of Color seriously and that is why they ignore us in the media.
While I use the term People of Color, I realize it is more inclusive to say anyone who isn’t part of the lucky sperm club. If you weren’t born rich, you are the problem and the system does take you seriously.
You are not necessarily a problem individually. After all, you are an individual without much in the way of resources, it’s only when you are part of a larger movement do they acknowledge you. But they have figured out how to keep those movements from happening. See: Occupy.
You see, they take us quite seriously and we are a far greater threat than we realize to them. You don’t marginalize an enemy that doesn’t matter.
You ignore him.
When you systematically make an effort to undermine a particular enemy, demonize him, incarcerate him, kill him, destroy his family, take his women, undermine his way of life, this is how you get rid of an enemy you fear.
If the system is doing that to YOU or someone in the public sphere, they fear them. They fear their power, their influence, their ability to generate a viral idea which might unseat them.
Their fear is of a Black Planet. Genetically speaking we are already a Black Planet since all life started in Africa but what they fear is the visual confirmation of something that already exists and will only continue from this point forward, unless in their minds, they do something about it.
Part of this article came about because of the deaths in Nigeria and why they haven’t managed to draw the attention of the deaths of the cartoonists in France this week.
They didn’t pay attention to Black deaths because, to them, they don’t matter. They never have. Likely, if current trends remain constant, they never will.
Since the end of “chattel slavery” the dominant subculture has done everything possible to attempt to return to the days of free labor. All of its “engines of progress” are simply other ways finding new ways to reduce the cost of labor which can be 50% of all costs for a business.
In other words, how can we make people work for less?
Slavery was the most effective means of wealth-building the United States and the world has ever known. And though it isn’t talked about in polite company, know organizations around the world are trying to find new ways of exploiting a worldwide workforce, without paying for it. See: “TransPacific Partnership”.
“Respectability politics” has never meant anything to the dominant subculture. Even when People of Color were self-supporting and maintained our own separate but equal facilities, towns, places we could call our own, they were never content to leave us in peace.
The bottom line is simple and few of us want to accept it. Racism is an economic ploy, not just a social one. It has allowed entire industries to blossom on the backs of bigotry, hatred and cultural appropriation and destruction.
Note the recent police “slowdown” in New York City where with the reduced activity of the police in across the city, our people are spending less time being arrested, harassed and cited, being forced to spend our already weakened dollars on fines, fees and defenses against a city using the poorest members to fill its coffers.
Adding insult to injury a recent news article by Reuters reports that lawyers and bail bondsmen are experiencing “economic hardship” because the police were funding their “industry” with arrests from our community. (http://www.reuters.com/…/us-usa-police-arrests...) What happened to the question of whether there should be as many of these services in the first place?
What needs to be understood is this: Poverty is a weapon. When you can control what a man earns and how he spends it, you can control all aspects of his life, his future and direct it in whatever fashion you want.
If we want to be more independent of this negative cultural control, we must find a way to free ourselves from the economic hegemony being exercised on our backs. Our children need to step away from the TV and get back to the basics.
Mastery of skills, mastery of self, preparation for the future, first by being educated and second by avoiding the media engine designed to undermine self-esteem, self-worth and self-determination.
Unless we can shake off our generations of “induced poverty” and “media-mentality” we have no chance of making effective strides in this society. If you wonder why nothing appears to change, that is the reason. There’s no profit in treating you as a person, with dignity, respect and a sense of individual purpose and wealth.
You are much more valuable as a brain-damaged, suffering, emotional wreck, barely able to pay your bills, willing to get into debt across the entire span of your life. Early in your life, with college debt, with a house in your middle years (if you’re lucky) and with numerous organ transplants or cancer treatments when you’re old.
They want to make money on you from the cradle to the grave.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
It’s unavoidable. It is your destiny…
Emperor Palpatine’s words to Luke Skywalker resonate with everyone who heard them because from the time we are young children, we are told we can change the world. It is something everyone grows up considering to be part of their personal manifesto.
Television adds to this mental framework showing us how it’s possible to acquire instant fame (just add water and social media), motivational gurus tell us we need to put it out into the universe and the universe will change to accommodate our desires (Pay for my secret methods, he says, it will help you get rich, he says.) Usually the only person getting rich is the guru. We are lead to believe changing the world is a simply want it to be different.
I suspect the problem with changing the world starts with this simple quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Shakespeare hoped to convince his viewers that it’s not fate that determines our future. It’s our personal volition to take charge of our lives. This is where we come in to contact with an inherent instability in the system. Everyone wants to change the world to suit their perspective of it. Politicians believe they can lie the world into a shape they can control. Warlords believe they can kill their way to the top. Media stars dream of entertaining their way into power. Each believes their talent, their genius is just what the world needs.
If we’re so smart, why are things so screwed up?
Humanity is blessed and cursed with the idea that it is the most clever creature to have ever lived on Earth. We believe we have created technologies and systems so advanced that in a few years, they may begin thinking for themselves.
Unfortunately, while we postulate on the ideas of singularity and transcendence, quantum computers and the beginnings of the Universe, we wage war all over the planet.
We allow people who could be fed, to starve; we dump pollution everywhere in a consumer-driven orgy to create products out of flora and fauna alike. We turn living things into dead things for money and profit.
Makes you question how smart we think we are, doesn’t it?
While the ability to turn natural things into something that can be sold may be laudable and financially lucrative, it has cost us something, a thing so vital and yet so ephemeral, we don’t even recognize that we have lost it.
We have lost our connection to each other.
More importantly, we have lost our connection to ourselves.
Our cooperative drive to make the lives of other people better has been subsumed by our urge to read about Celebrity X or follow Basement Cat and Ceiling Cat memes.
We have turned the trivial into the important and the important has been hidden so the wealthy can acquire more wealth they can never spend, put greater distance between each other in their private enclaves on the hill.
This is an untenable future.
One where we watch the world burn, onscreen, in real-time, in the comfort of our homes, while forests are clear-cut, while children are enslaved, while coral reefs starve and great elephants are cut down for their tusks to make art and penile-enhancement poultices.
It’s not too late to make a difference.
By choosing to be connected to live people, to be invested in their lives and have their lives affect mine. By defying what has been said to be the natural order of things. By resisting the urge to hide, to cower in fears created by others, telling me how to live. I have helped people without profit being the primary goal.
I have changed the world, incrementally, one mind at a time. As a teacher and mentor, my goal is to change people touching one heart at a time. Sharing that transformation with others who see things need to change.
Most importantly, I am making the changes in me, I want to see in the world. I am aware of the constant need for personal change. You cannot make the world better if you choose to support the ideas that are corrupting it in the first place.
I have changed the world by teaching. By learning. My students are aware of the insidious nature of corporate powers who seek to demean them, imprison their minds, their hearts and their creativity in a never-ending cycle of consumption.
My students question authority. Even mine. They ask questions. They challenge all pretenses of authority, requiring it to validate itself through reason, through discourse, through interaction.
The modern world does its level best to prevent our youth from knowing anything; in the United States we price education beyond the reach of most. Those forces now realize if they can keep you clicking your smartphone in a self-celebratory masturbation, they can steal the future from beneath your feet.
The world cannot be changed by any single individual. That way lies madness. The only single individual you can change is you. Being the best you, that you can be will lend itself toward changing the world by proximity.
Change the World by Changing You
Release yourself from the mental prison so crafty created for you. Stop following worthless celebrities who produce nothing; your obsession with them absorbs your most precious of resources. The one thing you have a fixed and finite amount of and can never recover no matter how rich you become…
Use your time, wisely. Read works that transform how you think. Experience life, share what you have with others, get out and see the world. Make your relationship to the world one you are excited about.
See the world as something worth having, worth saving. You can only save something you value.
Connect to people, not just on the internet, but in person. See them. Feel them. Know them. Become one with their dreams; value their hopes and ambitions the same way you value YOURS.
You see, in this lies the saving of the world.
If we spent less time finding differences, creating emotional disconnects, promoting fear and loathing, separation for exploitation sake, demonization of our unique natures, we would learn a truth those in power don’t ever want us to know:
We are more alike than different. That our collective fates lie in the hands of each other, more than anyone who believes they have power over us.
In truth, we are not trying to save the world. If science is to be believed, the world has existed for four billion years. It has had six extinction events where nearly all life on Earth was extinguished. Put in a different way, 90% of all Life that has ever walked the Earth has died.
And yet it is still here, teeming with billions of lifeforms engaging in a delicate dance of living and dying in harmony.
It is likely, that even if we make the Earth an inhospitable ball of burning of burning toxic waste, killing all of humanity, the world will find an equilibrium and return to being as fecund as it always has.
We are not trying to save the world.
We are trying to save ourselves – from extinction.
Be protean, be open to changing yourself. Be willing to adapt how you see people you don’t know. Eat a meal you do not know, with a person you didn’t know yesterday. Such ripples are what the future is made of.
So often the complaint goes something like this: “Changing myself won’t make a difference and I sure as hell don’t have any faith in man to change on its on in my lifetime or the next. Evil exist and controls this world. People are sheep, lead by the elite programmed, manipulated, divided, structured in such a way to serve them. You are Borg, you are assimilated, resistance is futile. Just my humble opinion.”
No one asked you to change your mind, you are free to stay exactly the same as you are. But Einstein had a point: “You cannot change the world with the mind that created it.” The future comes from thinking differently, creatively. “Imagination is greater than Intelligence.”
People are often sheep, but not all of them: Fighting back takes will, independence, strength of spirit and character. Things most people don’t realize they even possess until something forces it out of them.
Evil IS prevalent but not OMNIPRESENT: The fact you can make your statement and not find a neo-Gestapo police force breaking down your door for making it means it is still a world where choices can be had.
People ARE dividedbut still find time for what they think is important: Judging from the quiet protests in the streets, some people are UNITING for a better world.
We are not Borg. If we were, we would all be doing the same thing, in the same ways, with no need for things like social media to share our perspectives. We would already be one large Hive Mind working toward a common goal of absorbing other intelligences. NO. We are not Borg, yet.
Resistance is never futile. I can never be assimilated because I will not allow it. Assimilation is about choice. You can choose to stand there and say, it is impossible to change the world.
You cannot hope to change the world until you are first master of your individual self. World changing comes when you are aware of your individual power to make change. Then change happens around you because you are centered and aware of the ability you have to make a difference.
Don’t change the world. Change yourself and make all the difference.
To quote Ashleigh Brilliant: “If you can’t change your mind, how do you know you still have one?”
Most of my friends have passed away, and of those remaining, they suffer from health problems in some way
I am myself totally deaf and partially blind. I live by myself
I am writing this at 6am in the morning
Today, if the weather is fine
I will go for a walk
I will chat with friends
I will do my shopping
I will do my laundry
I will feed the cat
I will tidy up what needs to be done
I will put out the garbage
I will do what most people do who are not really old and know that death is imminent
Because there is no feeling of being old
There is a feeling that you can’t do what you used to do
There is a feeling that you might lose your independence, or if you already have, a feeling that you should try and do as much as you can by yourself
There is a feeling that you should spend as much time as possible with those you like to be with
There is a feeling that time is precious. Of course it always was, but one becomes more aware of it
There is a feeling that many things one does will be done for the last time
There are passing thoughts about those who respect you because you are old, and about those that dismiss you because you are old
There is the aspect that life is changing fast with all the new advances that inundate us daily
There is the aspect of life that nothing changes
Mothers still smile at their babies
Children are still enthralled with their first pet
Learning to ride a bike is still as much fun as starting a company
Blowing out your birthday candles is still as satisfying at eighty as it was at eight
It is not that death is imminent that is important, but that when the curtain comes down, the audience leaves with a sense of satisfaction
As someone once said
The World is a stage
You played your part for what it was worth
You take your bow
I am surprised at the number of responses this answer has recieved, and in particular from young people concerned about getting old
I am 84. My generation is probably the last generation to get old in the usual sense of ‘getting old’
My predicted life expectancy is 81.5 years so I am already living on borrowed time
But 1 in 4 people will live past 100, and the first person to live to 150 is alive now. It may be me http://www.dailymail.co.uk/scien…
But living for a long while is not the same as getting old
The normal image for an old person is:
Loss of faculties
Becoming dependent on others
Being out of touch with the world
Being house bound
Not being able to contribute to society
Losing close friends
Living in the past
Finding young people impatient
Not being catered for in the world generally
But perhaps the worst thing is being viewed as old
I used to practice judo, but I don’t now. That’s because I haven’t practised for many years. But age is not the problem. Here is someone teaching it well past 100 http://luzijian.com/
I used to play guitar in a band. I don’t now. But I could if I wanted to. There are plenty of professional musicians of my age and older who do. Les Paul was still playing at 90
I used to go scuba diving. I don’t now. But I could. My friend Reg Vallintine was teaching into his 80’s and is still active in the field https://www.google.co.uk/search?…
It is not age that prevents one doing these things, providing ones health is OK, but ones priorities with the time available
I am a writer. I have published two books this year, and have others with publishers. I have nine websites and blog, and write daily on Quora
I have a friend who at 78 met his old sweetheart of sixty years ago at college. She was a great grandmother, now a widow. He had never married. They fell in love again and married. He says he has never been happier
I have a friend of 81 who out of loneliness took up dancing a year ago. He is now training to be a dance teacher and courting a dance teacher half his age
I have a lady friend of 76 who dates guys on the internet and then dumps them as frequently as any twenty year old
Most of my friends of my generation are fully active.
They always were fifty or sixty years ago when I first knew them. It was because of their positive attitude to life that we became friends in the first place
Why you will never grow old
With the internet etc. you will never be lonely in the traditional sense;
With the many advances in medical appliances and related fields you will be able to care for yourself well into old age, or will allow others to care for you much easier than now;
With home surveillance and the internet of things, you will be largely self-dependent, secure, and in touch with those you need be;
As a matter of course you will become more aware of your needs to eat well, be active, and generally take care of yourself
Your work will be less stressful than the past, and you will work shorter hours. There will be more activities for you to participate in and more social events for you to join
In all, though you will getold you will not beold.
You will die when your time comes, but you will not be forgotten because your life will be digitally immortalised;
Be thankful that your great, great, great, great, grandchildren will be able to know you, and that you live on in their genes.
If you’re an adult, you hate paying for it. Car insurance can double the cost of your car payments, if you own a home, you need to have a variety of coverage plans depending on where you live and for some things you just can’t afford it no matter what you do. See: Earthquake insurance in California…
Well, now there’s a new insurance we wish existed but until it does, you can laugh at these poor guys who wish they had… Racism Insurance!
As the world’s policeman (or at least protector of natural resources we want from other countries) we are ready, willing and able to make war whenever we want. Ready to provide “freedom” at the drop of a hat and a ring of the cash register. War is good business, Dick Cheney can certainly attest to that fact. (See: Halliburton Company, Dick Cheney)
War is good. War is profitable. We are protecting freedom and democracy everywhere.
At least this is what we are told to justify the release of military forces all over the globe. This is how we rationalize the creation of living weapons whose job it is to pacify, kill or destroy whatever opposing force they are directed at.
With no thought to the minds, bodies or well-being of the soldiers who live and die in those conflicts. Strange, the people most in favor of as much war as the budget will allow are often the same men and women who avoided military conflicts when they required more grist for the military mill.
But worst than that, we pay almost no attention to the mental health and well-being of those who SURVIVE as a shell of their former selves. Warfare on the scale that Humanity does it today corrupts every part of the psyche of the men and women who engage in it.
War brutalizes even the survivors making them barely suitable to exist in the society they have fought for. Without help, training, support services, weaponizing human beings and then releasing them back into society is irresponsible, dangerous and in most cases, the leading cause of suicide among these veterans.
Are we as a nation going to continue making men and women into military weapons of war, and don’t be confused, it is the people that are the weapons before the tools they utilize, or will we realize the cost of war in terms of damage to our economies, damage to our social status as citizens of the world community and most importantly damage to our veterans returning from these wars is simply too damn high?
Or will we treat veterans like we do any other natural resource? We use up our young, best and brightest minds leaving them as wreckage on the pyre of our nation’s economic conquest and destruction of the EARTH and life as we know it.
I know which way things are leaning at the moment and it’s not a good sign.
Soldiers need treatment from the constant battles, the extreme stress, the questionable orders, the impossible tightrope between morality and survival. These are stresses beyond what most people will ever face. Should you run that light or pay your taxes, or pick your kid up from school even under the most adverse of conditions will never equal the stress of one terrifying firefight after your vehicle is flipped over by an IED.
If we really want to thank a veteran, how about making it possible for him to have the mental health he needs to reducing the scars that turned him into a weapon of war. Or the scars he acquires should he survive whatever war front we have placed him in. These walking wounded are taking their lives because they cannot cope with what they have seen or what they feel they have become: less human, less the men and women we loved when we sent them to war. We need to start caring for them. Giving them back their hope since we can’t give them back their humanity intact.
Or better yet, how about we just stop making veterans…
Thaddeus Howze is a veteran of the United States Navy. He can be reached on Twitter at @ebonstorm.