Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Dystopian Novel That Hit Too Close to Home

In this book, women are silenced by Christian Theocrats who took over the government. They put wristbands on their wrists which use electrical shocks to limit them to 100 words a day. It's a good book that brings up a lot of issues, however reading it scared me, because this country is at a make or break time, descend into a dystopian totalitarian hellhole via the religionists or go with science and freedom and go the path of progress? Sometimes I find myself openly talking to my husband about leaving here if we cannot survive. Remember Republicans directly go after my life, when they speak about canceling health care, or cutting Social Security. Insulin alone costs as much as my rent.

When I was a Christian, one thing I wrote about and explored on many Christian websites and more was the take over of the Dominionists. I was against it. I did deconvert seeing Christianity in total as oppressive, though I know there are liberal Christians who do look to the positive teachings of Christ and who renounce these things. Some time ago, thousands of evangelical pastors signed a statement against social justice. That should tell you everything you need to know.

  When I was studying groups, like Council for National Policy and The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, I remember warning these groups were evil, but I was a lone voice in the wilderness and so it was time to leave. There are immense connections of our top politicians to very extreme fundamentalist religious groups. So if you saw Trump this week going on about bible classes in public schools, there's a whole agenda behind this all. Trump and Pence are more dangerous on a level, that many do not understand. Other nations have had their fundamentalists take over and destroy their society and civil rights. Just read Persepolis, the Christian Taliban isn't much different in it's desires.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Are Millennials Burnt Out or Just Casualties of a Sick Society?

How Millennials Became the Burned Out Generation

It's interesting how younger generations are gaslit and told it's all their fault in news articles. It's crazy how they have told millennials how they can't afford anything because they love avocado toast and that they are killing industries on purpose instead of simply being without expendable income. This article is written by a millennial, and she questions some of the system, but I believe doesn't go far enough. One question I would ask her, is how did young people get in this position of always having to prove themselves and being found lacking?

Millennials are getting a bum wrap far worse then Gen X did. Like us being called slackers, they are called losers for life, as they are denied jobs and opportunities to get ahead. It's weird for me now, to meet some Boomers who had good stable jobs who are average in looks and ability or even below average. Of course many did work hard and got ahead and others were gifted and talented, but back then, one could make a living far easier.  Some take for granted almost this utter comfortableness in this world. In the liberal circles, I run in now, I can talk to a few empathetic Boomers about the destruction of younger people's economic lives, but there's those who have little empathy and understanding. This is how we got Trump after all who wants to dial things back to his own hey day of the go-go 1980s. For some Boomers, the 1980s never ended.

With Millennials, now into their 30s and early 40s, Gen Z are the 20 somethings, when they weren't being dragged or drugged into constant distraction, many are facing the facts that economically things have not improved. In some countries, probably national strikes may already occurred for a mass population of young people to be pushed into poverty and extreme student loans. In France the government is afraid of the people, but here people are afraid of the government. In America, they have done a masterful job, of indoctrinating the population that it's okay for the system to demand you be a super-star just to make a living and not descend into embarrassing poverty and even rejection from your own family. So wonder they are burned out. Nothing was ever good enough. Why wouldn't they be burned out?

I have noticed with growing worry is that Millennials and Gen Z didn't and don't rebel. Maybe this is changing with growing protest movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, but overall, I noticed younger people didn't rebel against authority as much. When I was young kids skipped school, drank and fought with parents.  In my day, I drank wine coolers as a teen and went to go TP houses and I was a goody-two shoes most of the time.  I don't have kids but looking at the plethora of Eagle Scouts and eager to please and conform types even in my own family I was disappointed and deeply so. Before I went no contact, I wanted just ONE to rail against one of the narcissists but I noticed the exact opposite was happening, they were submitting to parental demands with utter compliance. Have millennials and younger people been conditioned to conform more? Perhaps this was from the pressure of the system. Definitely it was a multi-faceted problem.

This article talks about adulting, and adulting is hard, but nearly impossible without any money.  It worries me, that the author seems to have her life boiled down to endless to-do lists. Sometimes I think these constant to do lists are almost like a religious exercise against misfortune.  That worries me. Is this what life has become now, nothing but a dog jumping through hoops at a circus?  Here one can wonder how the constant jumping up to endless small demands has effected life in negative ways. You get the double-bind mixture of being told you must succeed, but not given the resources to pull off all the goals.

MOTIVATION DIES when you just crush people over and over, at a certain point they say "Fuck it all, lets go get high!". That would describe our growing national drug problem. Depression also rises via learned helplessness and lives lived under constant pressure. There's a reason suicide rates are rising.

They have put the achievement crap on them to the extent they are burning out. The matrix has programmed people to be good little worker bee drones and part of that formula now is constant self effacement and embracing austerity and hardships as the norm. Supposedly now wanting your own apartment is now a dreamed of luxury only open to the wealthiest.  Supposedly now if you are not taking thousands of steps for your fit bit or constantly working on your resume, you are a failure that deserves to be under a cardboard box on Skid Row. Some of us older Gen X people remember life before they started chipping away at all the economic security when expectations of life, employers and one's community was far higher. There was some idea of societal cooperation and social contract. 

I was talking to an online friend and wanted to share our conversation about millennials. They are a fellow Gen X who had life on the hard setting like me. With friends, I have talked about the plight of millennials, and one thing I noticed is their reactions to their economic and other pressures were far different.

Peep: One more point, do you think millennials and Gen Z are less rebellious?

"Yeah, I do. Schools are a LOT more totalitarian and intolerant and punitive than they used to be. Rebelling is a lot riskier than it was in the days of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Ferris Bueller's Day off".

The advent of smartphones plays a big role, too as does the rise of paranoia throughout the adult world. Parents and communities are conditioning kids to be risk-averse...and and why bicycle or walk several miles to a friend's house when you can just text and skype them instead? And avoid kidnappers and pedophiles in the bargain?

There's a tipping point though....once people feel there's nothing left to lose....that's when you'll REALLY need to watch out.

Today's kids aren't there yet...they may be poor themselves, but most of their parents are not. It's their parent's houses they're living in, their parent's late model cars they are driving--even if they are in their 20s and 30s..adulthood is much delayed for the young'uns now. If their parents don't like what they're doing, both house and car are gone.
 man beings. Like George Carlin says, "they got you by the balls!"

Here we discussed protesting and how one felony charge could get you sent to jail and your life ruined. I protest actively but admitted to my online friend this was done in more small towns, where our numbers were small enough to keep the cops from knocking us out with batons and hauling us off to jail. I didn't have to fear arrest like others though I had my pictures taken before and my husband could have lost employment once due to war protesting activities in our old town. One mark on an otherwise clean record, the ramifications for one's life could be dire. 

"That bothers me, too. I think most of the answer is, they are growing up in a far more authoritarian, insecure, and paranoid environment than we did. Consequences for misbehavior are far higher for then than it was for us. 

For example, when I was in grade school, there were no metal detectors and no police in school. If you misbehaved, you'd get sent to the principal's office, and face detention, or at worst suspension from school. Today, the same misbehaviors means police involvement, jail time in juvenile hall, handcuffs, police car, behind bars with the steel doors, an arrest record. That's pretty traumatic for a 6-year-old. Get frisked on entry to school every single day... Zero tolerance policies... doesn't take long to get the message that if you don't conform 100%, the consequences will be VERY severe--far more so than when you and I were kids.

I recall 80s movies like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". No kid would think of doing stuff like that today as punishment would be certain and VERY severe.
There's a strong fearful, paranoid attitude in schools now that didn't exist when I was a kid. Kids looking over their shoulders...teachers required by law to report any signs of abuse, bruises and the like, even if it came from perfectly innocent activities like climbing a tree.

People call cops on parents from just seeing kids outside unsupervised now...and parents actually face having their kids taken away just for letting them play outside in the front yard while staying inside themselves--even if they're watching the kids out the window while doing dishes or something. 

So if you're a kid....outside alone..any adult anywhere becomes a threat to cops on CPS on you...and kids get bombarded with the message about "stranger danger" don't they? Far more so than when we were kids. They're being taught and conditioned to fear adult strangers, any and all adult strangers. They all carry mobile phones now and can call cops on you within seconds of seeing you. And you better believe kids are made vividly aware of the dangers of kidnapping, pedophilia, sex trafficking.

And it's a precariat employment world, now. Conform, or that door into the stable middle class world gets shut on you, forever. And high schoolers are keenly aware of it.

Childhood lifestyles have extended well into the 20s and 30s now for a lot of millenials. People with college degrees still unable to find a dependable job that pays a living wage, so they're forced to stay with parents even into their 30s. It's that, or homelessness.

I recall a youtube video of a girl who lived for a few years in Europe, then moved back to the States...and she said the single biggest thing she noticed moving back here was the atmosphere of sheer fear she encountered everywhere in the USA. That atmosphere doesn't exist at all in Europe. In Europe she was used to wandering around female and alone, even in very sketchy areas, completely without any feeling of fear, encountering lots of people, most of whom were terrific, and this felt very normal to her. None of this paranoid looking-constantly-over-your-shoulder feeling in the USA.

The rise of the surveillance society and the security state in the USA, too. Red light cameras, speed cameras, security cameras everywhere, monitoring freeways, sidewalks, bus stops, train stations. Cell phones everywhere, too. And if you're carrying a smartphone, every step you take is being tracked and recorded. They all have built-in GPS and that data is being sent to giant data warehouses and the megacorps do share that with law enforcement, and law enforcement can do illegal fishing expeditions one will stop it. 

That stuff didn't exist when we were kids.

Post something silly or stupid as a kid on social media...and it doesn't disappear and get forgotten the way it once would. Witness Ocasio-Cortez, those Republicans digging around for that college dance video she posted once, 10 years ago, trying to shame her out of office.

The young are aware of this. What they are NOT aware of is how different society was when you and I were in grade school. Intellectually, they are, but not at a gut level. They don't know what it feels like not to have your every move be monitored. They don't know what it feels like not being frisked and metal-detected every day at school and not to have to worry about cops arresting and jailing you because you brought a plastic water gun to school.

Heck, I used to carry a folding pocket knife with me to junior high. To me it was an "always be prepared" Boy Scout thing, a "Ten Essentials of Backpacking" thing, a handy thing to have in an emergency when you needed to cut a rope or something...not something to ever use against people.. Never got in trouble for it, nobody cared back then. It was fine. No rule against it, I never wielded it against anyone. Just a "Ten Essentials" thing.

Wouldn't dare do that now. I'd go to juvenile hall for it, be branded a criminal and troublemaker, potentially entire future my collapse just from that alone..." have an arrest record...sorry but the position is filled. Thanks for applying."

My friend made a lot of good points. The police state crack-downs and destruction of our freedoms in this society have already taken a toll.  The young were told to conform or else.  They have dealt with a far more controlling and paranoid society. Often, because of my religious deconversion, I've examined the themes of punishment and control and how in a competitive society like America, everything is about punishment and control. It is a fear based society.  Don't comply, we take your money away or your ability to have money.

The European girl probably felt more at peace and safe but one thing I have noticed is how people from those countries, seem more content, not always under constant threats. These are perfect recipes for burn out. Because of my own economic experiences, a lot of my empathy rests with millennials. I saw futures being destroyed as people weren't allowed to survive and live on their own, under parental and financial control for very long durations. It grew distressing and triggering to see millennials disparaged in the news, as "lazy", "entitled" and "not working hard enough" as the economic rug below them was pulled out from under them.

I am not sure what answers I have for all this, but I find myself telling millennials, to get politically involved, to question the police state and to question the system that is crushing them.

Raised on Survival

This is very true. Our brains are literally rewired a whole other way.  I thought about how I was trained to see the world from a very young age, and how things turned out. I did wonder along all these years about how things would have been if I had been raised on love instead. What would my life have looked like if I had been loved and accepted? Where would my health be now?

Some years after no contact, this is one layer that will crop up, you will wonder how things could have been if there had been love. You get down to that core, where you yearned for love back then and there was none to be found.  If one can escape it all still able to love and have empathy, that is something.