Introduction: Don’t be a dick

Hello all. Evidently, I have decided to start a new blog. I have several reasons for doing this. The first being that I forgot the password to my most recent ‘old blog’ and don’t really like it enough to try and remember (I didn’t try very hard). The second being that, instead of complaining about things that I don’t actually care about (but find hugely hilarious), I’d like to start complaining about things that I feel more people should complain about.

My optimistic self acknowledges the power of the common person. Perhaps as busy individuals with a few good intentions, we’re pathetically useless. However, a large group of small contributions can be unfathomably powerful. Through minimal individual effort and a little bit of coordination we can get Rage Against the Machine to free X-Factor’s tyrannical rule over the Christmas number 1 spot. More importantly, we have the potential to inspire a revolution. However, for this concept to work, enough people need to participate. For people to participate they need to actually care, but for some reason we still don’t give enough of a fuck about Syria to go in there and help them out. So this where I become a pessimist: If we don’t care at all then then this concept of a ‘minimal effort revolution’ is completely redundant, but I’m not prepared to accept that.

But, Tasha, people don’t want to feel depressed?

”I don’t want to feel sad” is a stupid excuse. Man the fuck up. You willingly feel sad when you watch those heartfelt films about someone’s cat dying or something, I don’t know, but whatever. We all cried at Inception, we knew what the fuck was up when we went in. So shut up and don’t be stupid. We’re perfectly capable of dealing with this depression when we think of human suffering that occurred in the western world. 9/11 and the holocaust will forever be singed into our minds and we’re okay with that because those people need to be remembered.

Why is it that we care about 9/11 more than we do about the Rwandan genocide? It may be that we can relate more to the atrocity of 9/11 due to it having taken place in the western world. The people who died were just like you and I who lived ordinary lives just like you and I. They were innocent bystanders to a horrible political battle, that they had nothing to do with, yet they were the ones that paid for it with their lives. When we think about it like this, we invoke one of the most beautiful of human emotions, empathy, and that’s when we really start to get passionate about helping our fellow man. Now, when we watch films like ‘Hotel Rwanda’, that’s when we realise that the people who suffered there weren’t that different from us either, the same kind of human connection that we felt in the 9/11 case. They were just civilians trying to get on with their lives and they were caught up in an ugly, bloody and gruesome battle. It’s just as easy for us to feel something for their sufferings as we did for those in 9/11. So I struggle to see why we care more about western tragedies than we do about non-western ones.

So where did this disparity come from? Perhaps the answer is in the media. When something isn’t plastered over the headlines then we’re subconsciously told that it’s not important. In this way, the media tells people what they should and shouldn’t care about.  The more we care about front page irrelevance, the more the media prints those stories on the front page and the cycle repeats. The the voices of the oppressed become muffled under stories of tax rises and celebrity scandal. Only the victims of isolated western atrocities are able to penetrate this desensitising cycle. Perhaps this is why the Rwandan genocide is a distant fable and 9/11 is still a freshly cut wound.

Is it entirely the media’s fault that we’re like this? People are capable of making their own decisions, right? Well, my growing pessimism has forced me to become cynical of the average person’s capability to respect their morality over a different and dangerously ingrained instinct: the ”Sheeple” instinct. Sheeple are so impressionable that they blindly ignore blatent injustice even when it’s shitting in their shoes. They get riled up about the front page headlines because the front page tells them to be riled. They possess no objectivity, no desire for it. They feel how they’re told to feel. Propaganda has never been easier. Idle minds are well and truly the devil’s workshop.

Categorising Ignorance: How stupid are you?

Let’s use the classic example of ones desire to own a Ferrari – but really this can be interchanged with any famously lavish commodity. The most extreme type of sheeple offers little or no justification for wanting this vehicle. An overwhelming lust for a douchy car is all it takes to put its acquisition on your list of priorities. One level down, but closely related, is the type of sheep that wants to spend their life savings on this hugely impractical mode of transport in order to ”stand out” – in a ”look at me, I’m a wanker with a car” type fashion. If you’re at this stage then we’ve got a long way before you’re ready to leave the herd, my friend.

At the most critical point in the spectrum lies the most dangerous type of sheep. This is one that I will refer to as ”the undercover sheep”. You’ve thought about this quite thoroughly. Ferraris only have two seats. They require a hell of a lot of maintenance. Shit tonnes of insurance. They attract tickets. They’re horrific for the environment. They can do 0 to 60 in 2 seconds, or some shit – you live in the middle of the fucking city, when will that ever matter? This attribute means absolutely nothing to you. The bottom line? You don’t need one. You’re at a pivotal point of ”sheepdom”, well done for getting this far but you haven’t escaped yet. Despite acknowledging its impracticalities and douche-ness of being its owner, you can’t seem to shake that niggling sensation to want to own this car. You utter the words ‘I deserve to splash out every now and again’. Don’t let the clichéd and mundane exterior of this statement elude your better judgement. Just because a majority of sheeple place so much significance on a douchy car, and the respect that seems to be associated with it, doesn’t mean you should conform to it. It doesn’t make any sense to, you know you’d have wasted a lot of money on a piece of crap and no amount of jealousy or adoration would change that. Otherwise, you’ve lost sight of your morals. You’re a sheep undercover and you’re as conditioned as all the others and you’re worse. You’re fully aware of your sheepdom but you’re ignoring it. You don’t even need to be herded. You’re in that herd of your own accord (also, you’re a fucking hypocrite).

How does one truly separate themselves from the herd? You’ve addressed the practicalities (or lack there of) and nonsense behind wanting to own a stupid car. You’re struggling to understand why you still want it, though. Consider the fact that perhaps you’re falling for the greater artificial market, of which this peculiar yet widespread demand for a fancy/wankery car is a mere subset – in the USA it masquerades as ”the american dream”. This is a market which manufactures your dreams to create the demand for a manufactured life. One where you’re rich and powerful. One where you’re a ”some body” with a place in history. You’re subconsciously attempting to taylor your career to cater to this dream and some may say that you’ll never be happy. I could be wrong though. You may lead a perfectly enjoyable life. Is there anything really wrong with being a sheep if you’re happy that way?

What’s wrong with being a sheep?

Let’s address some more disturbing aspects of the undercover sheep striving to live this advertised life. I’ve already discussed the painful truth of the undercover sheep and his or her willingness to ignore their gut instinct. This extends far beyond the need to purchase stupid shit to put in your stupid house or a need to leave a legacy. It gives you a sense of superiority. You’ve been taught that you are the most important person in the world. Why should you care about someone else when you have a life to lead? When we think that it’s only our dreams that matter then we stop caring about doing tiny things here and there to make someone else’s world a better place. We’re programmed to be selfish and narcissistic. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should give up their hopes and dreams to save the less fortunate. We live in a black and white world where you can’t live your own life and help others live theirs too. I bring you back to the concept of individuals making small contributions to create a better world. All you need is to care a little bit and devote a small amount of time, then you can get back to your life. You can make the time to pay equal attention to all the news paper articles, not just the headline. You have a resources to form an objective opinion from a wide range of sources (it’s called google, come on people, it’s not that hard). You are perfectly capable of scratching the surface and realising that the common people of the world are not extremists or savages but just people who want what you want, to live a fulfilled life. You don’t need to compromise your hopes and dreams in order to save the world.

”Thou Shalt Think for Yourselves” (dan le sac vs scroobius pip)

The ultimate product of this convoluted argument is this. People are too distracted to make the effort to gain some perspective in this world. Perhaps I am just as distracted as everyone else. After all, a few months ago, the most depressing thing for me for not getting the best marks and worrying that my average degree will get me an average future. I realise now that that it’s stupid to think like that, people would kill to be in my position and I take my comfortable life for granted. Let’s start worrying about things that really matter. I’ve slowly realised that winning people over is harder than it seems, but doesn’t hurt to try. My attempt will be this. Through the course of my blog I’m going to batter you with various ramblings that may include:
(1) Making you aware of the atrocities occurring around the world so I can spare you figuring out how to navigate the google machine to research these issues yourselves (lazy shits).
(2) Showing you ways you can help: I will shamelessly lobby you all into donating to various charities and guilt you.
(3) Encouraging you all to follow the ”Thou shalt think for yourselves” philosophy – it’s called google.
(4) Encouraging you all to follow the ”Don’t be a dick” philosophy.

The last point, I feel, is the most important of all. Whilst a seemingly simple philosophy it can have some complicated clauses – for instance ”indirect dickory”, when you don’t intend to be a dick but your actions have some dickish consequences. How to tell when someone is being a dick and how to not be one yourself are things that’ll hopefully become more clear through the course my blog. If you don’t entirely agree with my philosophies then I am open to criticism but I’d appreciate it if you kept the bigger picture in mind (and, you know, not be a dick about it – I adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in response to dickory). Hope you find it entertaining at the very least – ”you” being the 4 of you who will read this because I forced you to – even if you don’t entirely agree with my views. That’s me done rambling for now, catch you in a few weeks with my next post ”Whispers of the underground: dicks on a train”.