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Life Sentance

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Shug

TRIBE Member
I'm finally entering adulthood after a having a blast in my early 20's...

... and I see this "life sentence" looming above me, waiting to stike.

I feel like I'm selling my soul for an RRSP, a stock portfolio, a great mortgage plan and a new car every couple years... and I'm afraid that once I make a concession once, it will become less and less painful until I find myself in a loveless marriage with someone that I don't truly "know", counting days until two-week safe vacations in resorts in equatorial countries that don't salve this existential pain I'm already wincing in anticipation from.

People have told me that I'm overreacting, and said in less words that I'm being immature and shirking obligatory responsibility that comes with entering adulthood and the real world. They've told me that I can be interesting outside of my career, finding solace in fetishistic activities like music production or collecting model cars. I find that solution to be a cop-out at best, and self-delusion at worst.

At this point, I feel trapped, as if I have no alternative. I can't keep partying, I know that - and I don't want to. But aside from buying ultimately useless cars and houses and using hobbies to fill time (as a pathetic attempt to garner meaning from my existence), I can't think of what else is left. I want meaning in my Life that goes beyond myself (ie beyond material goods and valueless hobbies), but I don't want to be poor hippy either.

The majority of guys are office drones - how do you deal with existential angst?
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
This got me thinking about how really - we havent been "outta the muck" for too too long.. serfdom was in our near past - still is in some forms Im sure some would say... The horror of two world wars hangs its shadow over our society still. Really, the chase for security of self and family has been so harrowed and miserable for so long, that today - where personal security and affluence is more widespread than ever before, we can't help but be guided by the perceptions of the generations before us, who built the societies in which we live. For them, getting a lifetime career job WAS virtue -> why? Cause everyone would be eating. Cause you would have a solid roof to protect you from the elements. Of course many in this world find themselves in a desperate mode of existence, even here in North America and Europe...but now that these wants are satisfied for so many more than heretofore, we find ourselves "ahead of the game" set up by our parents and their parents. We got the security. We get three squares a day. But what else do we have? Now that we can achieve the basic goals of human security without as much of a struggle, the struggle turns inward....
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
man ive been pondering this question for years and im almost sick of thinking about it anymore. i am in the grey area right now in settlling in a job im only moderatley happy about, but it pays pretty well and is stable, and gives me time to pursue other activities after an 8 hour work day.

thats the rub, i have hobbies and other things so i do like doing stuff outside work, i suspect that if any of my extra ciriculars became full time jobs i may grow sick of them.

ive been looking for a place to live rencently and it really hits home. once you buy something the urge to play it safe really builds. i was looking at a nice condo, 1 bedroom plus den in a nice part of town, clsoe to everything and work, it would be easy and well within my budget. i stalled.

i was thinking about a way to leverage the boring but safe element of my job to risker financial activities like realestate in hopes of building future welath that may allow me to pursue things later in life when i have some loot built up. its a partial sell out in some sense yet im growing on the idea.

so im looking at houses now, to buy and fix up and rent out. its extra work but my job affords me time, im not there 8-6 each day.

things like getting my masters or working as a chef are long standing considerations, but i cant go back to making $1400 a month as a cook for a few years.... so like the other office drones i do my work and try and carve somethingn out understanding that my passions are products of both the activity itself and the frequency. (absence makes the heart grow fonder?)

who knows.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
Here I am. Logged in. Tethered to my workstation with a headset. Ohhhh the headset, what I call the "yoke of wage slavery", except I CHOOSE to put it on, and CHOOSE to have it tie me to my workstation 37.5 hours a week (as long as there's no early leave).


What keeps me going? The fact that its a gig to help me finish off my degree (which I've taken way too long to complete but is almost done). If I had finished my degree by now, and were I to be at this job as my "career", hoping to work my way out of the call center and help feed the beast in a non-"customer facing" role, well, I dunno, but that thought scares the shit out of me.... It also helps to be in a nice niche within the call center, where my contact with customers is less, my compensation generous and my supervisors a little more "hands off". I can fit in a lot of web surfing and the like too..;) (hence this post)

Where will I be in 5 years, 10, 20? I have no f*cking clue right now and I like it that way. It would be depressingly boring to have my next 30 years in plain view ahead of me...
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Oh man, great thread, guys! This is great.

I'm 25, particularly intelligent and about to finish chool (which I've been finishing part time because I can't see shit). These questions have been totally apparant to me for years now, partly from watching my father's career smash into a dead-end and destroy his self-esteem. Luckily he was able to bring it back to life, but I don't he's in any type of utopian position--just not suffering anymore

WHen I think about my prospects, I feel sick to my stomach to be honest. Shug talked about hobbies like collecting toy cars and shit..those hobbies exist as an excuse to spend the money we earn in our shit-ass jobs that make our employers way more money and security than we will ever see. (Generally). It's a function and symptom of cunsumerism. Without consumerism, there would be no way for them to convince us to work. WTF would we devote so much energy and time and commitment to an organisation whose success we don't directly and proportionally benefit from OR whose product makes us feel good about having contributed something to society or some cause we value.

It's really discouraging for me because all the signs are pointing to a job market whose defining characteristic is insecurity. In France, for example, it is very easy to hire someone--government incentive--and very difficult to fire someone. In North America the guiding mantra about employment is that we don't "own" our jobs, our employers do...turning the situation on its head making US compete for jobs, when every economic textbook plays it as THEM competing for labour.

Not only am I worried about a fulfilling "career", I'm worried about finding a job AT ALL...that is even after accepting that they lied to me when they said I could go to university, study what I want and work in that feild. I have an HBA in International Relations and I'm very good at it--but it's not a skill, and I have learned ANY skills other than writing a fucking solid essay. Nobody needs me to write an essay!!! Writing skills => Journalism...but then I'd need to go back to school for that...which is a VERY ASS JOB.

Education Inflation: Toronto and Souther Ontario are SATURATED with people who have bachellors. Universities fucking ripped us off because the logic--according to peice-of-shit economics textbooks--is that WE INVEST OUR MONEY in education for the guarantee that it will reflect in higher salaries. Well surprise surprise, everybody has a degree and only a tiny fraction of graduates that I know are working in the feilds they went to school for. Most are working menial jobs, while the rest are being exploited by graduate schools or employers who want them to "show their stuff" as interns, working them ruthlessly hard for pathetic salaries and no respect.

Everytime you "graduate" in something, they throw you back at the bottom where you have to prove yourself again. Fuck you, I've been proving myself this whole time, and now it counted for NOTHING because all people get is a the privilege to start all over again. And obviously it's a fair argument to say that a new employer needs to build trust and confidence and all that--but it doesn't have to be so adversarial and exploitative.

I have no idea what I'm going to. All the really interesting entrepreneurial things I have in mind are, by nature, non-profit and socially oriented, which means there is no way to support myself. The only way for people to support themselves is to make money for someone else, which limits the individuals' ability to do anything but be conscripted into the service of consumerism--which is, of course the big idea in the first place.

It's bad for society and it's bad for individuals.
 

Shug

TRIBE Member
THE FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB IS THAT YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.

The fact that we're being cliched and this has been previously addressed doesn't make me feel any less existentially dead.

If I remember correctly, Palahniuk's ending offered no real reprieve, and merely petered away without giving us a resolution to this newly-defined post-post-modern existential angst... which I consider even worse, as it's almost like a cocktease, and my soul now has blueballs.

So what are we doing wrong? Enough communal commisserating - what we need is to come up with answers, not carbon copies of each other's misery.

How do we avoid the Life Sentence listed above, and reach self-actualization and happiness?
 

deafplayer

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
Everytime you "graduate" in something, they throw you back at the bottom where you have to prove yourself again. Fuck you, I've been proving myself this whole time, and now it counted for NOTHING because all people get is a the privilege to start all over again. And obviously it's a fair argument to say that a new employer needs to build trust and confidence and all that--but it doesn't have to be so adversarial and exploitative.
The best part is when they *grade* you... and then, how those numbers or letters... fucking simple numbers and letters! are the basis of future judgements of you, made by still other people who know nothing about you, who you must appeal to to be allowed to do decent work please


oh yeah, sorry, thats more carbon copy... Shug I bet everyone here has answers to that we find all too easy to forget or ignore or avoid... my feeling is its at least as much a matter of will as of finding something out


edit: I guess first rule of fight club can take on a pretty different meaning in that light :O
 
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SellyCat

TRIBE Member
deafplayer said:
Shug I bet everyone here has answers to that we find all too easy to forget or ignore or avoid... my feeling is its at least as much a matter of will as of finding something out

This sounds a little like you're insinuating that people are just not trying hard enough to figure something out and ignoring the possibility that there is no answer or solution because the systemic nature of the problem simply offers no solutions...maybe that's why we find it so difficult to cope with cognitively.
 

Onthereals

TRIBE Member
The problem is, that the solutions for these issues are way too extreme and radical for anyone to actually accept and try to employ. These problems deal with the present fundamental structure of society and as such, really cannot be changed unless the root is changed. Which no one is willing to stick their neck out to do because the potential for being persecuted is too great and really the chance that they will actually have any impact is nil or superficial at the most.

Does one disingage in establishing themselves within the system or do they feel they have the opportunity to change it from within? How come many people feel like they will have a chance to change the system when they get into it, yet its obvious that every day its getting worse so no change is being made? Is it because when one gets to the position where they have the authority to change, they have become just as guilty and have already sold their soul? That their morals have changed to get to that position? I believe so.

We currently live in a class-based society that is in denial that it is a class-based society. Children are force-fed bs that if one works hard enough they too can make it and become rich and successful. The reality is that the possiblities of upward mobility are much more daunting and are usually determined by factors other than hard work and more on luck whether one makes it to that upper position. So what occurs in many peoples minds while growing up is the false feeling that they have the ability to become someone important, and when eventually that doesnt happen, is usually when the personal crisis occurs. (whether it is middle-life, quarter-life, etc...)
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
Onthereals said:
The problem is, that the solutions for these issues are way too extreme and radical for anyone to actually accept and try to employ. These problems deal with the present fundamental structure of society and as such, really cannot be changed unless the root is changed. Which no one is willing to stick their neck out to do because the potential for being persecuted is too great and really the chance that they will actually have any impact is nil or superficial at the most.

Does one disingage in establishing themselves within the system or do they feel they have the opportunity to change it from within? How come many people feel like they will have a chance to change the system when they get into it, yet its obvious that every day its getting worse so no change is being made? Is it because when one gets to the position where they have the authority to change, they have become just as guilty and have already sold their soul? That their morals have changed to get to that position? I believe so.

We currently live in a class-based society that is in denial that it is a class-based society. Children are force-fed bs that if one works hard enough they too can make it and become rich and successful. The reality is that the possiblities of upward mobility are much more daunting and are usually determined by factors other than hard work and more on luck whether one makes it to that upper position. So what occurs in many peoples minds while growing up is the false feeling that they have the ability to become someone important, and when eventually that doesnt happen, is usually when the personal crisis occurs. (whether it is middle-life, quarter-life, etc...)

that has some validity but is also true for a small slice of our society.

suggesting luck has a lot to do with success is kind of like saying weahter is a big factor in how well a patio restaurant does in any given summer. its out of everyone's control and thus cant be ascribed to any particular fault deliberate or not by society or those holding the strings of power.

luck is winning millions the lottery, it took minimal effort and risk to take a chance, but it is distincly different from being well positioned to benefit from luck like buying risky stocks that may or may not quadruple in a year, or buying a house in a shaky market and either seeing it languish or exploding in price if a boom comes.

alot of success seems like luck to the passive observer. yes it plays a role always, sometimes even the luck of bein born to a rich family or having good genes can be the biggest factor in success. but simply being born to a well off family is no easy ticket to wealth, nor is being born to a poor family an unsurmountable hill to climb. some would say the hardships faced by many immigrants coming to canada since WW2 was instrumental in them becoming a prosperous group, passing it down to future generations who may have grown up softer and unable to meet the demands of an increasingly educated and competitive society.

my own parents grew up so poor, just being middle class to them is such a massive acheivement. for me to get the same sense of acomplishment i would have to become upper class rich, thats hard as hell and im comfortable in what ive got, so it could be less about succeding and more about holding it down for some of us who dont want to break our backs, or who havent found what we are willing to break our backs over.

c what i mean?
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
judge wopner said:
c what i mean?

Not really.

The weather-patio example only proves how important it is. All the *systemic* factors OUTSIDE OUR CONTROL have a totally disproprtionate weight compared to non-systemic factors.

***what follows doesn't relate to Judge Wopner's post***

Like Onthereals, I too don't understand where people get the idea that we have the power to change the system. A lot of people assert the principle but only in theory...and cannot give concrete, real world, specific prescriptions for what we can do. The solutions are abstract and so revolutionary as to *gravely endanger* the integrity of their propnents by threatening to turn them into the same kinds of usurpers of the general will as the pilots of the system in which we currently live.

And that's one of the most fundamental and frightening features of this system. If you want to change it, you need to rally EVERYONE--which is, by definition, totally impossible. How are you supposed to build consensus among 30,000,000 individuals when only a tiny minority holds the veiws that it wishes were held by the rest. It NECESSARILY means establishing the same kind of cognitive imperialism that characterises the current system. The state has assured its permanence--and the permanent subjugation of the collective--by requiring any revolutionaries to interface with public opinion and the general will.

Revolutionaries are in the habit of causing the most extreme calamities by pursuing collective action as the source of change. At the same time, collective action IS the only source of change...so what now? It's the very concept of pursuing TOTAL COLLECTIVE ACTION that is a massive problem. Now that we live in a system predicated on collective aquiescence to authority, influencing the masses to act THE SAME is the only way to acheive anything on its behalf.

Revolutionaries HAVE to become tyrants. How is it any different than anybody else imposing their veiws on the population...humans are naturally dischordious--where did the idea come from that consensus was possible in a mass society. That's usually the case for Tribal societies--and those are characterised by collective defference to some elder council whose directive are obeyed blindly.

It seems like understanding the awesome power of the masses leads people to think that, through them, anything is possible...uh yeah, but only if they all think the same way...which usually ends in the "murderous demand for sameness" because if they don't all agree then the plan is bunk.

It's extremely dangerous to fantasize about what could be if everybody just thought the same way. Things like that only ever work on a small scale...neighborhood, university campus, etc.

It seems to be all about usurping the mass power of all, which is extremely dangerous.
 

Onthereals

TRIBE Member
judge wopner said:
that has some validity but is also true for a small slice of our society.

suggesting luck has a lot to do with success is kind of like saying weahter is a big factor in how well a patio restaurant does in any given summer. its out of everyone's control and thus cant be ascribed to any particular fault deliberate or not by society or those holding the strings of power.

luck is winning millions the lottery, it took minimal effort and risk to take a chance, but it is distincly different from being well positioned to benefit from luck like buying risky stocks that may or may not quadruple in a year, or buying a house in a shaky market and either seeing it languish or exploding in price if a boom comes.

alot of success seems like luck to the passive observer. yes it plays a role always, sometimes even the luck of bein born to a rich family or having good genes can be the biggest factor in success. but simply being born to a well off family is no easy ticket to wealth, nor is being born to a poor family an unsurmountable hill to climb. some would say the hardships faced by many immigrants coming to canada since WW2 was instrumental in them becoming a prosperous group, passing it down to future generations who may have grown up softer and unable to meet the demands of an increasingly educated and competitive society.

my own parents grew up so poor, just being middle class to them is such a massive acheivement. for me to get the same sense of acomplishment i would have to become upper class rich, thats hard as hell and im comfortable in what ive got, so it could be less about succeding and more about holding it down for some of us who dont want to break our backs, or who havent found what we are willing to break our backs over.

c what i mean?

Okay well let me rephrase that. I dont feel like luck is the dominant, singular factor, although it is by luck who we are born to, but the element of luck is minimalized or not mentioned as being important in todays society. The reason is that one has to feel that people who are in the positions of power actually earned their way to that position and deserve to be there, when rather it could be a whole factor of things that got them there rather then their individual merit. What people get doctored into believing is that our society runs as a meritocracy when in reality it is not. It is similar thinking to how one is taught in economics that there is a free-market, when the reality is that for many industries and products, the market is run by monopolies or ogliarchies that leave almost no room for competition.

Sure there are examples of individuals who have succeeded through hard work and determination, but I feel like they are the exception rather than the rule. However, these individuals are the ones who get talked about in the media, tricking others into believing that this is the norm. What happens is that people then feel like they are not doing enough, not working hard enough, are too lazy, since they havent had the same amount of success. When the reason why they arent successful is beyond the individual.
 
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judge wopner

TRIBE Member
take control of what you can,
get over what you cant.

i was almost killed in a car accident 3 years ago, it was not some awe inspiring experience i thought it would be. after 1 week of jubilation i returned to my old life but a small weight remianed reminding me that i am here on a bonus round of sorts, kind of like picking up an extra turtle shell in super mario brothers.

i was lucky not to get killed, so in that sense good luck played the dominant role in any future success i may have because if it werent for that stroke of good luck i woundt have even been here.

at the end of teh day consider that billions of people int he world are risking life and limb or at the least yearning so heavily to have a fraction of what we enjoy. mabey for some of us we need to figure out a better metric of success and what it means rather than believing the conventional route to material wealth is so haphazard and out of our control.

even in TRIBE you cant post event listings in the general topics forum
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Onthereals said:
What happens is that people then feel like they are not doing enough, not working hard enough, are too lazy, since they havent had the same amount of success. When the reason why they arent successful is beyond the individual.

YES! It's called Status Anxiety

There is a book and a great documentary of the same name by Allan de Button
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
YES! It's called Status Anxiety

There is a book and a great documentary of the same name by Allan de Button

ha thats crazy, my sister got me into to him last year,
im reading the art of travel right now!! he is awesome.
the consolations of philosophy was amazing as wel, wish i read them earlier in life!
 

deafplayer

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
This sounds a little like you're insinuating that people are just not trying hard enough to figure something out and ignoring the possibility that there is no answer or solution because the systemic nature of the problem simply offers no solutions...maybe that's why we find it so difficult to cope with cognitively.
No Im not saying ppl arent trying hard enough to figure things out.. Im saying the importance and difficulty of figuring out some kind of elusive insight or understanding is exagerated.... it often seems ppl try too hard to 'figure it out', at the expense of acting on what is already understood....
Im not sure what you mean by the latter part of the sentence... anyway I dont think its somthing I was trying to insinuate, but since you bring it up, I guess i'd say the system of the problem offers no sollutions... simply meaning that it must change, there has to be systemic change not just increased charity for example (however of course its always a mixture of both, forces for radical change and for incremental reform)
Which relates to what Onthereals said about the futility (and perhaps also duplicity..) of 'trying to change it from the inside'.... once you're in, it has likely already changed you, and before you know it, you're some higherup, cutting a ribbon at a new hospital wing or daycare or something, and believing you're making a difference

Or you simply hate your job and when youre not at it you 'cultivate your own little garden' or whatever the idea is.... collecting cars, vacationing at resorts, etc


edit: oh yes, and I disagree strongly with post #14..... like, at a very basic level :)
 
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Colm

TRIBE Member
What's the average age of you wasters anyway?

I'm 24, finished school, in a great long term relationship... although conversely I'm overworked and underpaid, and have some small nagging debts.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
Colm said:
What's the average age of you wasters anyway?

I'm 24, finished school, in a great long term relationship... although conversely I'm overworked and underpaid, and have some small nagging debts.

30, finished school, no girlfriend, just moved back home to save up to buy a house to further lock myself in a job i am luke warm about but pays well but is emotionally draining.

and who said they disagree on a basic level with my post? isnt that just your post-modernist angst coming out like when a teenager flees the room of after their parents ask them to clean their room shouting "i hate you i hate you!!!"
:p :p
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
judge wopner said:
30, finished school, no girlfriend, just moved back home to save up to buy a house to further lock myself in a job i am luke warm about but pays well but is emotionally draining.

and who said they disagree on a basic level with my post? isnt that just your post-modernist angst coming out like when a teenager flees the room of after their parents ask them to clean their room shouting "i hate you i hate you!!!"
:p :p

No no, he was hating on MY post...because he wants to strap mind-control to devices to every individual and raise them into an army that responds to his psychic commands, like in that game F.E.A.R. Except Deafplayer isn't a canibal haunted by the transdimensional ghost of a VERY ANGRY little girl.

He does want the people to emancipate themselves by collectively refusing to put up with all this bullshit. We were talking about how the French are all about the "general strike". If Canada got into that habit I would be overjoyed

Can you all imagine Harper's reaction? He'd be foaming at the mouth! He'd call in the army to "restore law and order" THE PEOPLE MUST GO BACK TO WORK FUCK FUCK FUCK! God damn it
 

Shug

TRIBE Member
like in that game F.E.A.R. Except Deafplayer isn't a canibal haunted by the transdimensional ghost of a VERY ANGRY little girl.

Thanks buddy, I haven't started that one yet. :p

I'm 29, done school (lots of irresponsibility and fun during my early to mid 20's) and have been in the professional workforce for about 2 years... and things aren't starting to "gel" for me, like I thought they would once I reached this point. I didn't really set goals past this point, because I thought this would be it, I would be happy.... so I'm kinda freaking out and having a life crisis.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
...the French are all about the "general strike". If Canada got into that habit I would be overjoyed

Can you all imagine Harper's reaction? He'd be foaming at the mouth! He'd call in the army to "restore law and order" THE PEOPLE MUST GO BACK TO WORK FUCK FUCK FUCK! God damn it


<3
 
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