I don’t understand why people celebrate New Year’s, or for that matter, I don’t exactly understand party culture as a whole. Everything else in your life can be shit, but you have the freedom to bust moves on the dance floor like it’s nobody’s business, and get freaky any way you like, but if capitalism gave you such stress to begin with and then offers you another opportunity to blow your stress away with another product, and if you’re only going to do it again next week, what’s the point?
I’ve been an Uber Black Car driver for about a month now, and driving around on New Years it doesn’t look like a lot of people are happy. I was driving these college kids around and one girl said to me that she wouldn’t be surprised if there was a terror attack that night at the club she was going to. Well one, why are you even going? But two, what kind of happiness is that? What kind of partying exists at the same time as the fear of terror attacks? And this brings up another question: what do people have to celebrate exactly?
I’m not saying that there’s no reason to celebrate at all. Maybe you improved yourself/burned your copy of The Secret and picked up Existentialism for Dummies, then good for you. Or if you had a really big obstacle in your way and now it’s not there any more, celebrate. It’s celebrating about something. But I don’t think that’s what mainstream partying is about. It’s celebrating without an object worth celebrating. And you can tell just by being there. A lot of these parties don’t really seem like a relief. No, these parties usually end in frustration, couples and friends fighting with each other, and vomit.
Another customer was telling me that New Year’s is like a reset button, and I think that’s correct. You start the year off optimistically, you set goals for yourself, and the multitudes of corporations will want a piece of you, and it can get very frustrating to keep your head above water. But hey, here’s New Year’s, let’s see how things will be better next year.
But these are the thoughts of someone who’s only stepped into a club less than 5 times in his life. So, food for thought.
I like to focus on the impact of capitalism on personal mental health. To be sure, it’s a massive, massive topic. The impact on capitalism (or the world you grew up in) on personal mental health is so incomprehensibly large you might as well ask what the impact on a nail would be if you hit it with a hammer the size of Texas. There isn’t even a definition of what capitalism is, aside from the business cycle itself. But there are cultural mainstays that if they do not cause capitalism, they have accompanied capitalism in developed countries. So if you are in the United States and are interested in capitalism’s impact on personal mental health, please keep on reading my critique of identity.
In capitalism, it often feels like you’re on your own. Being an individual seems to be the daily life of people living under capitalism. This insistence on being an individual, a self-made man, is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you are allowed to claim all of your achievements as a result of your own sense of self, but on the other hand all of your failures and shortcomings are yours as well. It’s within this context that the self-help and mental health industry positions itself: helping individuals fight their demons alone. Good mental health is living happily as an individual. Bad mental health is dissatisfaction from living as an individual. But this is how you help people, on the scale of individuals.
But we are not individuals, or if we are the term needs to surrender a lot of the power associated to it. We are people born into situations. Suburbanite parents on the hill say of young African-American boys “Well if I was born in the ghetto I would refuse to sell drugs.” No, you wouldn’t, because you wouldn’t be you then. The very act of saying “I” invokes your entire upbringing. Your very identity is constructed out of society. Society furnishes you with the raw materials out of which you make yourself. The proof of this is that we all identify with the word “I” but none of us invented it. We had to be taught it. At best, “I” refers to a mixture of your will and the larger environment, a compromise between the world you were born into and your desires for yourself that would have come true had it not been for the world. At worst, “I” is an amputation, a denial of the world that they exist in. This is where people like to play the same game as those suburbanite parents did: they like to imagine themselves as divorced from their circumstances, and able to jump into anyone’s life at anyone’s moment to cast judgment, like Agent Smith in the Matrix or something. This type of finger pointing has no bearing to actual reality: people aren’t moved by ethics, they’re moved by food. Matter of fact, food is people’s primary requirement. People need food. People don’t need ethics but they do need food.
Reworking what “I” means is a very important task to both revolutionary thought and personal sanity, and even here I didn’t go deep enough into how problematic the concept of “I” is. But for now, be assured that the world is not resting on YOUR shoulders. Take care of yourselves, lefties.
The recent events regarding Charlie Hebdo have forced me to say something again.
Opening thoughts: Great, you’re with us or you’re against us for the hashtag age. I didn’t like it the first time around, why would I like it the second time around?
This affiliation with satire is something that people of my subculture freakout about, along with the Colbert Report, Jon Stewart and The Interview. It makes them feel like they are political, have strong opinions and are valuable people. Politics has nothing to do with these things. The role of government in a capitalist society is to ensure the society is well saturated by the flows of money and then appear to be fair or responsive to things like your shitty opinion. The Charlie Hebdo attack resounds very strongly among people whose self worth derives from their hobby of making nuanced opinions about popular events. Someone kills you for your right to make an opinion? What are we, in Nazi Germany? Fight back! What could be anything more straightforward?
Nothing is ever straightforward. If these mostly white, well educated, Democrat moderate Reddit fucks want learn something worthwhile, they’d do best to remember that, and I want no fucking part in any country, atmosphere, or conversation where someone says to me you’re with me or you’re against me. Right off the fucking bat, I refuse to be in one camp or the other. They’re so quick to raise the specter of censorship by violence and so eager to be in the in-group and conform to a cheap Facebook or Twitter salute. This is what I hate most of all, how quickly the internet and social media have become platforms of conformity. They may as well be re-marketed as a factory that turns people into one-dimensional, constantly performing and conforming servants for other people’s approval. Hell, you even pay them to do this to you.
Why did those men attack the newspaper and kill the cartoonists? I don’t know. I’m an American, and as such I know nothing about what goes on outside my country, and what I do know about what goes on outside my country is slathered with such red white and blue concerns that I will not even be able to see it straight. I would call on everyone to stand back from their fucking computers, don’t participate in the latest witch hunt, and while you’re at it, grow a fucking pair of your preferred gendered sexual organs and realize that politics and wars have always been about money first and ideas second.
Here are two very good links of people who I agree with. One, and two.
It just dawned on my last night that maybe instead of watching a ball drop as our abstract representation of how time passes, I don’t know, I would have liked to watch a nuclear bomb hitting the earth at the second it becomes the new year. Just seems more fitting of how our society functions. And it wouldn’t even be a hassle either, we’re dropping bombs for testing all the time.
My new year’s resolution is to stop procrastinating at procrastinating. I need to step up my procrastination game. This procrastination isn’t going to get itself done, y’know? So far, I think I’m doing an ok job.
My other new year’s resolution is to use TOR for all my internet needs whenever I can. And hey, look at me now. Blogging from Sweden. It’s really easy, much easier than I thought it was. And overall there are still vulnerabilities in it that I don’t quite understand but I’ll look into it. Link for anyone who’s interested in a NSA-resistant internet experience.
Also to get a job. But since the economy isn’t something that I have wrapped around my finger, I’m gonna work my butt off during the day and hopefully write/read more at night about how to let things go that aren’t in my control, since beating myself up will only slow me down.
Well, here you go. I hope that 2014 for you is brimming with possibilities for you and everyone you know.