Television and Materialism

I believe it is obvious that television and materialism go hand and hand. For me, it is blatantly obvious and when and if I partake in watching the ever-expanding tube, I try to watch with a critical eye. To tell you the truth, most of the shows really impress me. To be blatantly honest, maybe two shows impress me and the rest–they are not for me. I am a big fan of stand-up comedy, but you won’t catch me watching a comedy special on Comedy Central anymore. I use Youtube now to get my comedy fix and even though they have advertisements on the sides and wherever else they may hide, they are not on the screen in which I am watching. It will not take up a significant portion of my valuable time to sit through the newest stupid, but funny beer commercial. “First time at the opera, boys?” The one aspect I love most about Youtube is if I want to find a specific clip from a specific show or comedy routine, all I have to do is type it into the search bar. And if the company who supposedly “owns” this intellectual property hasn’t threatened a lawsuit against Youtube, then I am able to watch it. And if I am not able to watch it, then I don’t think I want any part of that corporation anyway.

And I understand that these corporations want to make money by selling advertising so that they can have nice houses and cars and live the lives that are portrayed on television. You know the lives I’m talking about: six-figure income, nice clothes, nice car, disposable income, and all the other trappings this society hopes to lure us into. When we watch television, it projects a lifestyle that for some reason we regard as real. We think people really live the way that those on television do. We believe that to be a “good citizen” and have a “fulfilling life” that we need to buy this kind of car, that kind of wallet, a Prada bag, and since everyone around us is also thinking this way and taking these actions and going further and further into debt, we feel that we do not want to be left out. So we conform. We start small, maybe buying a nice watch or a sweet new car, and then we go further and further into debt, but by looking at the way the government spends our taxpayer’s dollars recklessly for whatever they want, we feel no guilt about going $50000 into the red.

But something happens. We start to realize how the things we own are now owning us. We are slaves to Mastercard and our 2500 square foot house. Our bank owns us. Our Tempurpedic Swedish sleep system owns a part of us. It is almost like we are a company and a certain amount of stocks go to the corporations. Then new industries form to take advantage of those in this predicament. All these debt consolidation companies I’ve seen advertised on television that say debt is okay. They say, “We understand you are in debt and we’ll help you get out. For a fee, of course.” It kind of reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons, where the lawyer character, voiced by Phil Hartman who said on his business card, “No Money Down,” but when Marge needs his legal counsel he says something like, “Those damn printers got it wrong again! It’s is supposed to be ‘No, Money Down.’” It is a way to lure you in, a promise of no money spent, when the reality, especially in the long run, is much more money spent. I am sick and tired of “Make no payments until 2009!” It is so misleading. Well, it’s not really misleading. It is true. But they never say how large the payments will be in 2009.

And no money down really does help the companies more because they’ll be able to squeeze more interest out of every person who does this. If you buy a car or put $5000 down on a car, you’ll pay significantly less in interest than if you come with no money down. This may not be true in all cases, like the real estate gurus who say that you can get cash back when you buy a house with no money down, but I am not going to delve into that subject because I know nothing about it. Television glorifies the get now, pay later mentality, but it never emphasize the pay later, only the get now. Once I move into my own little household in the (hopefully) distant future, I will probably not own a television and if I want to see a particular show, I can always order it on iTunes, even though I don’t own an iPod. I can watch it on my computer and I will be fine. I just hope they don’t come with commercials. If they do, I will buy them on DVD when they come out. And this is one, maybe two shows tops. Even though I own almost all the Seinfeld DVDs, I hardly ever watch them. I’ve seen them so many times, I need a break. I haven’t been to see a movie in over three months and I’ve maybe gone to see two in the last nine months. I’d rather rent them on-demand if I really want to see them. And that’s maybe one to two movies a year. I am just not very impressed.

And I believe my lack of impression in regards to entertainment was that I was raised in a house that was allowed to watch no more than a half-hour to an hour of television a day from a young age until I was about 16. That is when I got my own television in my room and I watched maybe two hours a day, but mostly comedy shows. This was before I had any opinions on television whatsoever. I loved to read and still do and I love listening to podcasts online, especially ones that are thought-provoking, but I now know that the entertainment value of television is subpar because it doesn’t really care so much about the quality of the programming, but more about how many people they can get watching. A show like Deal or No Deal is very entertaining, but I forget about it less than a day after I watched it. And it doesn’t inspire me to become a better person. It just keeps you in the moment with this one person who is just randomly guessing cases and the only skill involved is knowing when to stop, but I know they have pressure from the network and the show to drag it out, make it suspenseful so that people keep watching. Everyone I know who watches this show says they would probably stop after one or two rounds and a modest six-figure offer, but they should also consider how boring a show like that would be and how low the ratings would be for a show like that. The show would be canceled.

But the show is not really providing value, is it? I would get so much more entertainment by reading a novel or writing a blog post. Why should I spend my life watching someone else partake in an activity that I could just as easily partake in. I always had the joke that if they had a show 24 for my life, where it depicts 24 hours in a day of my life, it would be so boring because about nine of those hours would be me in bed and the rest of it might be me enjoying a cup of herbal tea, maybe writing a blog entry, possibly going to work for six hours, and then going home and basically zoning out for a couple of hours, maybe working on my comedy career. There would be no ratings and I know that. Most people’s lives would not make a good TV show. I’ve thought about writing for a television show or maybe creating my own, but if it is always going to be about the advertisers and the ratings, then I might not want to do it, unless I can comment on certain aspects of the show, like saying in the middle of a scene: “We only did this because we knew it would boost ratings. Drink Pepsi.” I have ideas for shows, like one about just people having conversations. I believe conversation is an art form, a living, breathing thing, and in the movie Coffee and Cigarettes, although I felt most of the conversations were rather shallow, I liked the idea. Just a bunch of random conversations. There was one with Steven Wright and one with Bill Murray and members of the Wu Tang Clan. But a show like that, unless the conversations were really good, will get canceled. I even heard of a show like that but it used clay animals to talk, but the conversations were real. It was made by those Wallace and Gromit people, who I believe are very creative. But it was canceled in America, and I know it is probably still on the air in Britain. It just shows you the difference there, not that I am insulting America, just our attention spans.

I believe this ties into materialism signficantly because since our attention spans are so short, when we buy something, it doesn’t fulfill us as much as it used to. We are always ready to digest the next piece of equipment. Our overindulgence and our need to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous control our very existence and for the most part it is inescapable? You feel like an outcast if you don’t have an mp3 player or a cell phone. You can still function in society, but you become more isolated. There are a few people who may live like you, but the rest of the mass conglomorate of America is out shopping on Black Friday in droves because they can get more stuff at a reduced price. And they’re helping the economy, right? They certainly aren’t helping their personal economy. They are making themselves poorer and the rich richer. All in this need to have nice things.

And it’s not that I don’t believe in having nice things. Believe me. I believe in having very few nice and durable things and reducing the need to go out and get more nice things. Right now I have more nice things than I could ever need. I may have to get rid of some of these things to make room for nice things I’ll actually use. But compared to the general population, my nice things stash is far below the norm. And I’m proud of that fact. I might own 20 DVDs, a laptop, essential furniture, an mp3 player, but I can’t really use it because it hurts my head, a desk to put my laptop on, and some books. And a bookshelf. Do I need all of this? No. But I am still not deprogrammed from the social conditioning I endured since the day I could speak and understand the way people are “supposed to live.”

I like to take the road less traveled. It is not just rebellion, but it just feels right for me. I’ve never fit into the mold that society has placed out for me and I feel that for me to conform would be an insult to myself and I would probably become numb and give up. While people are going out and buying things this holiday season, I am slimming down, giving away what I no longer use to those who will use it. If you actually use something on a daily or weekly basis, it is not a waste. If it fulfills you, then you made a good choice. But as soon as that item is looking at moving into the closet or the garage, why not give it to someone who would appreciate it? Why hold onto it? Why have to buy a bigger house just because you have too much stuff? Here is a good rant about suff from Geroge Carlin. I’m not sure if this link will work, because most links I use from Youtube always go to a page saying that the video was removed due to terms violations. Just search “George Carlin talks about stuff” if that link doesn’t work. “A house is nothing more than a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” Classic, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t need a big place for my stuff. If I go with the essentials, I become less tied down. And this is why I try so hard not to watch much television. I don’t need these artifically created needs that I would never even consider if I hadn’t watched that particular ad.

If I may, I would love to direct you to a website that is amazing when it comes to describing the effects of television and it even has a radio podcast, at least 30 or so hours of footage, about television and other issues in the news. It is called Turnoffyourtv.com and the radio podcasts are on Turnoffyourtv.com/radio. It is bypartisan supposedly, but I know this guy leans towards the left. Or maybe he is so far left, he does not affiliate himself whatsoever with a side. The man’s name is Ron Kaufman and I like this website and it speaks louder than words. What it preaches mostly is not the evils of television, but more the fact of all the much better things you could be doing instead of watching television. You could be out not buying unnecessary things. You could be out having fun. You could be spending time with family. Take it from me. Things will not be there to hug you at night. Things will not tell you everything’s going to be okay. But people will do these things. Television just wants you to keep watching. It happens to me. I say I’m just going to watch this one show and before I know it, it is three in the morning and I have to get up early the next day and I can’t sleep because I’m so wound up from Lawand Order: SVU. But I weaned myself off that show and those marathons. And I hope you can, too. Good luck.

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Minimalism Manifesto

Shopping malls. Factory farms. Death camps. Slavery. Corpocracies. Oligopolies. Television. The Internet. Is all of this really “progress?” Is the continuing rape and destruction of land and environment going anywhere? What are we, as a species, trying to prove by doing such things? How is this helping us raise our consciousness? The media keeping us in fear over how many people died today, that you could be murdered in your sleep by one of those faceless evil monsters that always seem to be lurking around in your neighborhood. Or the advertisements that come on for security systems right after. “If you buy this ADT alarm system, you will be safe from all predators.” The media is nothing more than an advertising medium to persuade people to further participate in the destruction of the world by buying more things that come not from the store, but from the Earth. Consumption is an addiction, but to everyone, it’s okay. No one is judged for it, and yet it is far more destructive than anything else.

And I don’t blame people for being in this sort of mindset. It is forced upon you at every angle. The next thing you buy will solve all your problems. That new camera phone will allow me to preserve my memories for just this much longer. The new laptop will be faster and easier to use, so that the rest of my valuable time can be taken up watching television shows that depict people who are living beyond any means I can ever afford. Television will tell me how to live my life and what I should consider important, not to mention which brands I should buy. It will tell me how to think and how to react to certain circumstances and I have to passively accept it as the images just keep flowing, all of which I have no control over. I am doing exactly what they want me to do, and it is making corporations a whole lot of money, but not myself. I am in debt up to my eyeballs and my house has a foreclosure on it, but at least I have that new deluxe, premium, luxury printer-copier-fax machine-toaster-washing machine combination with three free stacks of printing paper and one box of fabric softener.

I guess most of these people take their spending habits from their government. Look at how far the U.S. as a whole is in debt. If the entire government isn’t going to be responsible with their money, then why should the citizens? Why shouldn’t they just all max out their credit cards and spend the rest of their lives (and beyond) paying back to these corporations that get richer and richer from your 18% interest every month of every year? These companies even market to people with bad credit because they know that these people will make them a whole lot of money because they have a history of buying things they cannot afford. It is this type of manipulation that really pisses me off. And I feel bad for the people who are trapped in situations like that. They are dead broke and are thousands in debt and there is no way out, except bankruptcy. Then they are owned by their credit score and can’t get a loan, can’t buy a house, a car, a fucking toaster without surrendering to a credit history report.

What ever happened to saving for things until you had enough money? The joy of counting your money as you saved up for the new bike or the video game your parents wouldn’t buy for you. I’ll tell you what happened. The invention of credit cards makes it so easy to buy something now and pay for it later, at a much higher cost. But when you are out buying it, no one thinks of the consequences until the bill comes in. Then it’s like, “Oh, shit. Remember that 4-pack of HD-ready televisions we bought? Yeah, they want $8000 this month, and that’s just our minimum payment.” I love how these commercials say “No money down,” and that attracts people because they don’t have to pay for it right away, but they still get to have it. “Look at our beautiful couch. Cost us nothing, so far.” But the whole notion that buying these things will ease our insecurities and make us feel good about ourselves is just the advertising industry trying to tell us how to live. “If you don’t have and iPod, you’ll never fit in. You’ll be the outcast of society.” “Well, I’d better go pick up that iPod. I don’t want to be some loser with no friends. I must conform or suffer extreme isolation the rest of my life.” And that’s the consciousness that advertising attempts to shove down our throats. The fact that some item, some thing, will ease our problems and make life so much better. And most of the time, these advertisers are wrong.

This is why I choose (consciously) to adopt what I refer to as minimalism. You own the bare essentials. You only hold onto what is useful , beautiful or brings you joy and discard the rest. You embrace what is referred to as a simple lifestyle, but in a voluntary way. I did a joke onstage about my minimalism once that went something like this, “Instead of looking for apartments in the want ads, I look for any empty closets.” It is liberating to think this way because instead of looking for what else you can accumulate, you now look for what you no longer need to do without, like my life-size Spongebob Squarepants doll. I am further limiting my television exposure as well and the Internet, which has become my surrogate television with the advent of Youtube and other television-esque websites. I just bought this wallet online called the Jimi, which is a very small and compact wallet that only holds the minimal of items. Five cards and three dollar bills. I just don’t want to have a wallet like George Costanza from Seinfeld. I remember a quote from that episode: “Everything in that wallet I need.” And then Jerry takes out a card, “Show this card at your local Miami area gas station and receive a free ‘Save the Tiger’ T-shirt.” I guess free clothes is one of his top priorities.

Being minimalist is soothing, liberating, and just wonderful to be exact. The best part about it is I do not need to work excessive hours to meet my needs. I sympathize for the people who work 60 hour work weeks to keep up with buying all the unnecessary items they think they need, like a new outfit every week. I really feel for you, and I want you to know there is a way out. Move into a smaller house, get a smaller car, buy less stuff, sell all the extraneous clutter that has found its way into your life, quit your evil corporate job and find something that suits you, that really fits your character. Drop out of the rat race and start to slow down to the speed of life. Do only the essential tasks to bring you joy, happiness and fulfillment. Don’t buy into buying things just because your neighbors do. The one who dies with the most toys does not win. The one who dies with the most toys is dead, just like the one who dies with five dollars in his pocket and no current residence. And you can’t take that new stereo system with you. You can bury it with your body, but where your spirit is going, you might as well sell everything and give the money to charity before you depart into the big sleep. Contribute gently into that good night, and do it peacefully.

I have to admit the first thing that sparked this minimalist behavior was a movie from Hollywood. It was called Fight Club. It was the one line that really said it all to me: “The things you own start to own you.” And there were other various lines in the movie along the same premise and it was what some would call counterculture. It was what others would call Zen, enlightenment, or liberation. Now, I didn’t accept the whole film’s message and start underground boxing rings and terrorize cities, although I did so something similar on one of the college campuses I attended. It wasn’t nearly anywhere as extreme. It was only after I got out of there that I started practicing minimalism and the theory that a cluttered home equals a cluttered life.

I started listening to media sources outside the mainstream, such as anti-television personas such as Ron Kaufman, and adopted some of the philosophies of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. I began perusing simplicity sites and forums to see how much further down I could go. I surely didn’t want to end up with an empty room or an empty house, but questioning what was necessary and what made me happy as the only essentials, I began to strip down significantly. Some of my family members would gasp as they saw my perfectly organized room, free of clutter. They gave me praise for being so diligent and disciplined, but I did not do this for their approval. I did this for myself. I did this to avoid spending countless hours looking for my cell phone or glasses. I did this to feel free of the consumer culture and that mindset that rules ever fiber of our being. I breathe easily knowing the consumption will only get worse and more unsustainable until it destroys itself and completely vanishes. It will be the next step in our evolution. Some people say this will happen as early as 2012. It’s certainly possible, but I don’t see it happening that fast, but I can’t rule anything out. I try to keep an open mind.

So very few blogs of today talk about minimalism and its benefits. Simplicity is big, but minimalism is not as big, but they are essentially very similar, but minimalism is to the extreme. They should have it in the X-games. The challenge could be to see who could live on nothing but so much food, a bed, and a shack in the woods for a year. Just tossing ideas out there. I take great comfort in knowing that my wardrobe will probably last me at least five more years, except undergarments of course. The cost of a thing is the amount of my life I have to give up in order to attain it. I am not saying that everyone is trying to sell you something, but I find it interesting, studying Zen and all, which pretty much endorses the minimalist lifestyle, saying you have to buy special mats to meditate on and a Zen garden, and some sort of robe. Mostly everything, but not completely anything, is a marketing campaign and I am so glad I am no longer a part of it. Come join me in my minimalism. As long as you’re not a minimalist whose only agenda is to maximize profits, you’re golden in my book.

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Pomegranate Season Again

It is now pomegranate season again, and as I mentioned last year, I was still a bit intimidated by the fruit with a thousand seeds. Armed with nothing but a knife, a bowl, and a pomegranate, I went out into the unchartered wilderness of mysterious and exotic fruits, and I came out a victor. So far this year, I’ve eaten two and I’ve gotten them done in less than a half hour, which is much faster than my previous attempts last year where I used a spoon to try and pluck every last seed out of their homes. This year, I took a new approach. I decided I would use my hands, which undoubtedly would be stained red by the conclusion of this episode, but it would allow me to eat in the most efficient way possible. Cutting this mammoth fruit into fours and further breaking it up with my hands while diving down for ten to twenty seeds at a time, it was pure bliss. Before I knew, it, the only seeds left were the ones in the bowl, smothered with a small quantity of juice, which tastes so wonderful unpasteurized. The only problem is that this juice stains everything it touches. Why are antioxidant juices so staining? It seems as though the more potent the antioxidant, the harder it is to get out of a white T-shirt.

It is by far the most interesting fruit, except maybe the kiwano, which has spikes and does not look like it is very inviting to eat. It is probably one of the only fruits that can be called a “deadly weapon.” I would like to try one of those some day, but right now I just wouldn’t know where to start. Ever since I got on what some people refer to as a “health kick,” I have tried more and more new fruits, most of which I had never even heard of or was afraid of. Just to list a few: a pluot, a tangelo, an avocado, papaya, mango, kiwi, bosc pear, pomegranate, mangostein, and someday the kiwano. The only reason I may never try the kiwano is because it reminds me too much of the dreadful acting skills of Keanu.

Well, all I can really say is that experimenting with different types of fruits/vegetables has really paid off so far, although sometimes I get disappointed, like with the avocado, it is worth it for the experience and it will broaden your variety within each meal. Going raw was at one point an option for me, that is consuming only raw foods, but right now I do not feel that I can make the transition quickly, so I am still eating vegetable soups and with Thanksgiving coming up and a dead bird in my freezer, I have to assume a turkey will become part of my diet this Thursday. If it is any consolation, I did get the turkey for free. One thing I will never bring myself to eat is veal, for obvious reasons and the vegetarian movement has somewhat stopped at my house. Even though I know that most of the meat we buy (and believe me, I do not eat much) is full of antibiotics and growth hormones and of animal diseases, you fry it in olive oil or butter and I can’t tell the difference. Of course I thank the animal for giving its life so I can eat, but it can’t hear me because it’s dead.

I do feel better when I do not consume animal products for weeks at a time. It makes me feel lighter and more spiritual, but definitely not self-righteous. I keep my diet to myself, except on this blog. People always want to know why you live a particular way and I say that if you are so curious, why don’t you try whatever I am doing for yourself and see how it goes? I cannot tell you if something will work for you. I can tell you if it works for me, but I am not you and I do not know the extent to which your social conditioning will not allow you to make any significant changes for fear of being excluded from “the group.” I figure that if you want to try new things and other people tell you that you’re crazy, it is because they are indeed scared that what they have been doing all those years in contrary to the best way to live and do not want someone like you to show them up. Or maybe I am just talking for the sake of doing so. Either way, I know what works for me.

Okay, off to buy some more POMs. The best nature has to offer.

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Censorship Revisited

I’ll never forget my last post on censorship. It was a bit blatant and disregarding, but that was me back then. Censorship is something I still completely disagree with. Why should we censor what was said or shown? Because of the children? Because someone might get offended? Why are people so afraid of offending people? Don’t intend to offend people, but always speak the truth about how you feel. And if how you really feel is offensive to some people, then so be it. Who decides what is appropriate anyway? Who has the moral judgment of what can be said and what cannot? If comedians like Bill Hicks or George Carlin were censored, nobody would watch them. I remember hearing of Bill Hicks performing on the Tonight Show or one of those late-night talk shows and he didn’t even swear in his act on the show, but he talked about Jesus and pro-life people and how he hated the pro-lifers and he was censored. What he did there was art and imagine what would happen if all the artwork we’ve grown accustomed to was censored. Many of the great artists painted pictures of nude people. What is so revolting about a naked human body? Well, some of them are pretty revolting…

I know we’ve made great leaps and bounds in censorship. You can almost say anything on television now, except the F-word. But you know it is there, underneath the bleep. And I know that people are offended by swear words sometimes because it is what they refer to as “uneducated language.” It is the theory that people who use those words cannot think of a better word to come up with because of their limited vocabularies. And sometimes that’s true. But other times, it is a way to express yourself so well that no other word can substitute it. The F-word has so much power today and I wish we would just accept it completely. If anyone ever says it, it gets everyone’s attention in the room, although I would have to think that is because it is forbidden in its own way. In the proper context, it is a great word, and so are a lot of other words.

And they are just words. Why are people so offended by words? I am so much more offended by actions than I am by words. Actions are so much more definite. Words disappear in the moonlight ten seconds after they are said, unless they are on national broadcast television. There are some words I do believe shouldn’t be said, like racial words, but I have to go by the mantra: “Either it is all okay, or none of it is okay.” I remember when the cartoon show South Park had a dispute with Comedy Central over showing the prophet Muhammed on one of their shows. It is supposed that in the Muslim religion, they are not allowed to see a picture of Muhammed. Here’s a question: If they’ve never seen the guy, how would they know that they saw him then? These people could just be saying it is Muhammed. Not to mention that Comedy Central’s South Park had shown Muhammed some seasons earlier in an episode. I believe it was only because of that cartoon in Denmark that they were no longer allowed to do so.

But I do love people and mass communication that pushes the envelope. I don’t mean people like Howard Stern and whoever else does radio and television that is not conducive to high-awareness living. I’m talking about shows and broadcasts that are smart, funny, witty, and actually have a point to their existence. Anyone can go on the air and say a bunch of swear words and sexual references, but if you can do that consciously and constructively to make something bigger, something beyond the language, then it is worth partaking in. I’m starting to get into comedians that are not only popular in their own little cult following, but also honest. Bill Hicks, smoking a cigarette onstage, says something like, “I wanna tell something to you nonsmokers out there. You’re gonna die, too. I just thought I pop that fucking bubble of yours. At least when i get sick, they’ll know what to do. When you get sick, they’re gonna have to figure out what’s going on with you.” That’s not exactly how it went, but you get the idea. These are things that we all know, but are often unwilling to face. And when you start to realize who the great ones truly were, you understand why.

I feel kind of bad for those who have to battle the censors all the time, never knowing what is acceptable, always having to ask some corporation what they can air on next week’s broadcast. It must be very difficult meeting all those demands. You have a really good idea, but you can’t put it on, so now you have to change it, edit it, etc. And it becomes a soulless shadow of what was there before. Thank God for Youtube. At least now we have this device where there are no censors, no authority, except the owners of Youtube, but there is still censorship on body parts. It’s fine, though, because it is freedom of speech I really feel passionate about. At least real life is uncensored, but reality TV sucks, because of the censors among other things. Ideas should flow freely through our consciousness so that we can take in what we can use and send the rest downstream for someone else to receive.

So, don’t censor your life. Say how you feel and be who you are. Don’t be who other people want you to be just for external approval. Approve of yourself on the inside and spread that out into the world. Don’t let others control your non-destructive behavior. Just be and allow yourself to remain still. Now breathe in…breathe out… Until next time, I’m Ted Copple.

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Forget Normality

Why can’t I just be normal? Probably because I do not want to be a carbon copy of conformity. I don’t want to become a victim of groupthink. And I certainly do not want to be susceptible to dogma. I don’t buy into the wisdom of crowds, nor do I accept consumerism. I don’t let fear shrink my perspective, nor do I use cliché terms to describe my life. I am unique, just like everyone else, but it is that uniqueness that separates me from the rest of the world. According to the type of brain cancer I had, I truly am one in a million. And I embrace that fact every day. I live in the present, not in the past or future because the present is all we truly have. The future does not exist, and when it does, it will be the present. And vice-versa for the past. I disrespect authority and challenge conventional wisdom. I am not a sheep, nor am I a sacrificial lamb. This is my creed. I take the road less traveled and the path those are afraid to navigate. And even though I may not be at the top of my game yet, I can see the forest for the trees. Well, I guess I use some cliché phrases. I think about death and where we are going in an associative way, not the dissociative way those Goth kids do. And this is why I simply don’t fit in. But I don’t justify my behavior from external approval. I can see the bigger picture. I know my lifestyle is worth something to me, and that it will help ease the burden on our ecosystem and I allow for myself to be.

I loathe politicians and know they only give us the illusion of freedom of choice. I think the education system is meant to just get us smart enough to be obedient to a system that is screwing us over big time. I embrace that fact and resist it to its very core. And I completely understand why our government thinks they need to wield more and more power over us because they are scared of a revolution. They are in a good position and if I were there, I’m not saying I would behave the same way, but I don’t think I would be willing to give up all my power, But I am not there, so I am not so attached to power. I am more attached to unconditional love, but I feel attachment is the root of all suffering. I am an Eastern man living in Western culture. I am a minimalist whose only interest is maximizing joy. I believe laughter truly is the best medicine and the side effects are a lot less severe than prescription drugs. But more importantly, I just am.

My inner child is still alive, my shadow self is running rampant, and my consciousness is on the rise. My mind is clear, my perception is in the present, and I take a universal perspective. I’m an optimistic nihilist who enjoys reading dark novels while looking at the lighter side of life. I’m an avid fan of dark comedies and think suicide can be funny. Take this for instance. “I’m suicidal, but I’m also a procrastinator, so I don’t think I’ll ever do it.” It is a joke I am currently working on. I can laugh at myself without my ego or pride getting in the way and I discount social conditioning. I am independent while at the same time interdependent. I believe Zen is basically sitting around doing nothing, but it feels good, so I run with it. I think the iPod must have been created by Satan and the iPhone, some people are too dependent on technology. I don’t derive my happiness from external circumstances, but rather bring happiness to them. I am a survivor who has no fear of death. As Forrest Gum once said, “Mama says that death is a part of life.” So true when you think about it. I believe in South Park’s reasoning that either it’s all okay or none of it’s okay. And if someone gets offended, well, they need to realize it is all a joke. You shouldn’t take life too seriously; no one gets out alive.

I believe the semicolon has its uses and the single quote is overrated. I believe email hurts the economy and also damages our spirit. I believe the best way to contact someone is through a hand-written letter. I hate phones and cell phone especially. I believe the best communication is face to face. I guess I’m just old-fashioned. I don’t even know what to call this post. Is ita mission statement or a manifesto? I’ve never been big on labels. Labels are very limiting. Just like judgments. I don’t judge people anymore than I judge myself. Who am I to judge? Even if I was a judge, I wouldn’t feel right. Who am I to say how people should live their lives? People need to make their own choices and live with the consequences, whether they are good or bad. I’m not here to save anyone. Let the Christians do that with their evangelical nature. I’m looking forward to the Rapture because I know I’ll be left behind. And I don’t think Jesus could leave anyone behind anyway. And I don’t want to say he’s not coming back, but I think when and if he does, he will get an iPod. How else is he going to listen to all the Christian rock music?

I believe that life is nothing but a dream, so peaceful and serene. I have been trying to become lucid in this dream. I believe if you cannot laugh at a situation, then you need to broaden your perspective. I live moment to moment and I have no regrets. This was fun. I’ll have to write something like this again. Until next time, do whatever you feel is right. Don’t become one of those robots I see running around like a chicken with their head cut off. Become what you aspire to be. What else do you have to do?

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