Tonight I was walking into the corner store and sitting outside was a man smoking cigarettes and asking for change. Usually, I decline them, but tonight something moved me. When the man asked if I could spare any change I said, “Sure. I’ll give you all the change I have if you tell me something.”
He said, “What do you want to know?”
“What’s your passion?”
He looked at me quizzically and said, “What does that mean?”
“What fills your heart? What drives you onward?”
Without hesitation he answered, “Love, brother.”
As I was giving him my change, I asked him one final question. “What have you been doing to pursue that lately?”
He shook his head sadly and looked away. “Hell. I don’t even know anymore, man.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I have a list of passions that fill my heart. But when I ask myself what I’ve been doing to pursue them, I have to admit to myself, “Hell. I don’t even know anymore man.” And why don’t I know? Why have I given up on all these things that add meaning to my life? I suppose for the same reasons most people do. Because we let life get in the way. We tell ourselves, “I’ll start on it tomorrow.” The only problem with that is Tomorrow never comes. It always turns into Today. And it’s always so hard to find the time today; there’s too much to do.
But what is passion? What does it mean? Ultimately, our passion is what we were put on earth to accomplish. What we individually do to make and leave the world a better place. But that has been distorted and confused. We live in a world where passion has been mistaken for emotional outbursts. Look at reality television. It’s nothing but cheap emotional manipulation saturated with advertisements. The same can be said for social media outlets. Every time I scroll through a feed I go through a range of emotions. This post makes me angry. This post makes me laugh. This post tugs at my heart-strings. This post wants me to buy a new razor. And on and on. These things aren’t passions they are sleazy emotional ploys. We shouldn’t be filling our heart with them. They give our lives no meaning. In fact, they only take from us. By the time I get to the bottom of the feed, I feel empty. I usually slam my computer shut in disgust and tell myself, “Way to go, genius, you just wasted another 20 minutes of your life.” So what’s the alternative? The answer to that is easy: force a change. If you know better, do better.
We let ourselves become convinced that happiness is this false sense of security called the American Dream and we’ve sacrificed our passions on the altar of this great god called Mammon. We’ve been conditioned all our lives to believe that if we do everything according to plan, go to school, get a job, make money, get a house, fill it with shit, then we are supposed to be happy. But that’s not the case. I see more and more people unhappy with their supposed achievements. But this doesn’t necessarily mean more and more people are realizing what they need to be doing is following their passion. Too many of us are immersing ourselves in an ever-expanding myriad of distractions in order to ignore the fact that we’re miserable and unfulfilled. We are all guilty of it. We can’t really blame ourselves too much, I mean, it IS the world we were born into. But it’s not the world that we have to live in. It’s not the world that we have to leave to our children.
Things are how they are because we’ve been fooled into accepting a fiction as reality. We CAN change. We CAN refuse to accept the lie and start living in truth. But in order to do that we have to start TODAY. Are you ready? If so:
What’s your passion?
And what have you done to pursue it lately?
Tags: America, American Dream, career, change, choices, Dream, emotional, emotions, fulfillment, happiness, heart, homeless, inspiration, job, life, love, materialism, money, passion, reality television, social media, today, truth, world, Writing
Dear Frito Lay,
I recently purchased one of your 99 cent bags of Nacho Doritos. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag and discovered it to be less than 1/3 full. Really, Frito Lay? Really? What in the hell is going on? You fill the bag with air to give it the impression of being full. I understand the necessity from your warped and evil corporate world view. No one in their right mind would pay for an empty bag of chips. But that is exactly what we’re getting. I know that chip companies have been employing this shady tactic for some time, but this doesn’t make it right.
I know times are tough and the economy is shit. But you can’t tell me that your product costs so much to manufacture that you have to cut portions and raise costs to make a profit. That’s just greedy. That’s just you wanting to take every last cent from the John Q. Publics that devour your unhealthy chemically concocted chips. Is it really that necessary to rob good, honest people of what little money remains to them?
Honestly, your products aren’t all that great. And to pay 99 cents for what amounts to a 25 cent bag of chips is more than a little infuriating. It’s deplorable. I won’t bother asking how you sleep at night because I know: on your king-sized mattresses stuffed with the profits of your ill-gotten gains. All the while wallowing in Cool Ranch and Extreme Nacho crumbs and relaxing to the aromatic therapy of a Buffalo and Bleu Cheese scented candle. Yeah, Frito Lay, that’s how you roll, alright. And that’s fine. We still live in America and you still have the freedom to roll any way you want. But I won’t be rolling with your cadre of thieves and marketing con artists. Keep your overpriced bags of air. I won’t be buying them any more.
Remember way back in 2008 when America had “The Great Recession” (which was really another Great Depression just with a nicer name) and the government bailed out rich people and their corporations and cut the rest of us loose to sink or swim? Yeah, we’ve been steadily sinking since then. Now, a whole four years into the future it seems the Metatron of our benevolent leaders (the Media) has decided to remind us of that. The Huffington Post writes this:
I can’t believe it’s taken the Media so long to figure this out! I thought this was apparent from the first bailout when they bailed out the banks and the rich assholes instead of the American people. You remember don’t you? All those banks and rich assholes gave themselves billions of bailout dollars in bonuses? Don’t remember that? Here, let me jog your memory.
Oh that’s right! A huge majority of that taxpayer money our government gave the “too big to fail” corporations went right into their executives’ pockets. Meanwhile, more and more working class Americans are ending up in tent cities.
Tent cities. The future of America! Free rent, natural living and outdoor pooping!
Here’s a breakdown of the equation as I understand it.
Government + Taxpayer money = “Too Big To Fail” bailout = Big Banks and Corporations + Executive (read RICH) bonuses
On the other end of that we have the equation:
Bailout + Richest 1% = Superfluous Economic Growth (Rich get richer)
Bailout – American People – Basic Necessities = Tent Cities = Economy – Middle Class
How is this not pissing anyone off?
It breaks my heart to report this. It is a true tragedy. Last night, the American Dream was found dead in a back alley in Studio City, California. He had sustained multiple gunshot and stab wounds and was covered in what appeared to be Monopoly money. “ Why Studio City?”, was the first question that needed answering.
Apparently, the American Dream had been on the lam there since 1972 and had been working undercover on the Price is Right. He was the guy responsible for securing all those nifty prizes at rock bottom (read FREE) prices. Not an easy job for a manifestation born of hard work, determination and inspiration. In just three years after his work on the show, The disillusioned American Dream began a decent into depravity that he chronicled in a journal uncovered at his dingy one bedroom apartment. Here are a few excerpts:
“After I lost everything in the first stock market crash, I thought I’d never forgive myself. Then I got my first credit card. I haven’t forgiven myself since.”
“The 80’s were a blur. Barker’s Beauties, cocaine, alcohol and the Bohemian Grove all mixed together into this drug addled excitement. I came back to my senses at a bar in Tijuana, Mexico in 1994. I should’ve stayed.”
“Walked out of a bar with Bob [Barker] tonight. Saw some dude walking his dog. He didn’t have the mutt neutered. Bob snapped. Last I heard the poor schmuck was still in the hospital. Remember folks, spay and neuter your pets or Bob will bash your face in!”
“I’m being watched. The banks and credit card companies have been on to my location for 10 years now. Bastards stole all my gold and now they want my cash. Yesterday, I saw a credit card goon across the street from the studio. People said he was asking about me. Said it concerned a ‘personal business matter that required my prompt attention’. I’m gonna start carrying a knife.”
The above entry was the final one in the American Dream’s journal. The next night, he was found murdered in an alley. Police are baffled as to why his corpse was covered with Monopoly money. At this time, there is no suspected connection to the Parker Brothers organized crime family.
And I’m not just saying that because Rich Uncle Pennybags is standing next to me with a menacing blunt object. Really I’m not.
The American Dream is survived by his ailing Uncle Sam and all the women he loved before. As well as his 300,000,000 some-odd children whose only inheritance is an insurmountable mountain of debt.
Goodbye, American Dream, you will be missed.
I was talking with a good friend last night. We were discussing the American Dream. Back in the day, the American Dream is what people worked to achieve. The well-paying job they’d never lose, nice house, car, etc. is what motivated Americans to thrive. We became the greatest superpower in modern history because of it. The American Dream inspired and motivated people to create and push ever forward. It is what attracted the best and brightest from around the world. The American Dream was what made America a shining beacon.
But the American Dream was illusory or at best, temporary. Now that the bottom has fallen out from under our old motivation, what’s left? What drives America now? What keeps us inspired and motivated? What instills that need to create and achieve? The need for iThings and big T.V’s? The desire to sign your life over to your choice of corporation or government institution? Maybe our motivation lies in an overwhelming desire to sink into debt?
And the answer is…nothing. There is literally nothing pure left to motivate us.
And that, friends, is why I’m living for a Renaissance.
If not, you could be sitting next to one. And thanks to a nifty little pamphlet (go ahead, it’s worth the click) being circulated as part of Communities Against Terrorism the average coffee shop patron and/or employee can know the warning signs.
I know. I was horrified at the thought myself. Coffee shops are supposed to be cozy places where you’re free to do coffee shop things. If you think about it, these are exactly the types of places that terrorists (domestic and foreign) would frequent. In this day and age with everyone consumed with their iSomethings and FaceWhats, they’d never notice terrorists working evil in their midst.
Think again terrorists! The government has given us the knowledge to stop you!
Some warning signs of coffee shop terrorism include:
–Being overly concerned with privacy. This includes shielding the screen from the view of others.
–Paying with cash too often.
–Traveling a long or “illogical” distance to get to the coffee shop.
–Preoccupation with media coverage of terrorist attacks
Isn’t it comforting to know that the next time you catch someone peeking at your screen, telling them to “Screw off” could be considered a suspicious activity? That’s because anyone living and working within a Community Against Terrorism should have nothing to hide (note the sarcasm).
Since we’re being encouraged to snoop over peoples shoulders, be aware of some of these way-of-life threatening activities:
–Downloading content of extreme/ radical nature with violent themes. (Which is a broad classification, if you ask me).
–Sign on to a residential based provider (like AOL).
–Downloading terrorist/ revolutionary materials or “how tos” based on subversive topics (i.e. The Anarchist’s Cookbook).
So what is a vigilant citizen to do if they suspect one of their fellow coffee shop patrons of terrorism?
Luckily, the pamphlet outlines it for us. The steps include:
Gathering information on suspected individuals without drawing attention to oneself and taking down license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions, languages spoken, etc.
If you’ve ever dreamed of being Magnum P.I., now’s your chance. What gets me is the “revolutionary” adjective thrown in there along with “extreme” and “radical”. So not only are we to be on the lookout for terrorists, now we have to sweat revolutionaries too. What is the world coming to?
Granted, the flyer does say that “some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent” and a further admonition warns: “It is important to remember that just because someone’s speech, actions, beliefs, appearance or way of life is different; it does not mean that they are suspicious.”
Really that just means don’t call them every time someone with a good tan or a foreign accent shows up at the coffee shop.
But don’t let this lull the terrorists into a false sense of security. Despite these warnings, any juicy tidbits gathered should be handed over to “law enforcement professionals” who will examine the information in a larger context to see if it warrants further investigations.
All kidding aside, this really bothers me. Technically, sitting at a coffee shop, not wanting people looking at my business while I sip the overpriced latte I paid cash for could qualify me as a terrorist. Not that I’m saying it would. Besides, that’s not up to your average Coffee Shop P.I. to decide. No, their job is just to note anything suspicious and turn it over to the proper authorities. Then the proper authorities decide if and when the proverbial ax will fall.
As if we don’t already live in a culture of fear, now I’m going to have to wonder if the guy sitting next to me is going to take down my license plate and give it to the cops because he saw me looking at Black Listed News and listening to Rage Against the Machine. Makes the whole coffee shop experience that much cozier.
Looking for a good book I journeyed into a very popular bookstore chain. Pick any one (that still hasn’t gone bankrupt) you want, they’re all the same. This was the beginning. I stared at the philosophy section, the poetry section, and the theatre section. I picked up book after book to find nothing but the same mass-produced names, ideas, and beliefs. Now call it a premonition, a vision, an undeniable truth, whatever it was I heard a little voice in the back of my head say, “it’s time for a Renaissance”. And I agree. It is time for a revolution of thought, a revolution of beliefs, time for a revolution of the mind.
We have had our very essences stolen from us. Siphoned from us by benevolent dictators in their ivory towers. We have become less than human. We have become empty shells waiting to be filled with whatever our benevolent dictators deem suitable. We crave some new philosophy so that we may intrigue our friends with banality at the dinner table. Or we need some new-found religion to fill our spiritual appetite (as if there are not enough out there already) so that we may face the new day with a false sense of security. We have developed a false sense of entitlement and deluded ourselves into thinking that “everyone is special”.
Helpless spoiled children is what we have become. We live in an era where anyTHING we want can be acquired with the push of a button. We fatten ourselves with poisons and chemicals and processed food. We waste precious time figuring out how to make simple things simpler. Filling every second of every minute of every hour of every day with some menial task because having any free time would literally drive us crazy. This is what society (as an extension of our benevolent dictators) has forged us into. A populace of fools unable sit and enjoy one moment without thought of who is dying, starving, fighting, becoming rich, becoming poor, and who is screwing who. We live in a world where young people consider the internet a need on par with food and shelter and think that updating a Facebook status is more important than actually hanging out with friends. We perpetrate our disconnected connectedness every time we text the person we are sitting next to instead of actually talking to them.
We live in a time where all original thought has been massacred and consumed by the Media Machine. A machine that remakes and remakes the popular until the original beautiful idea is obscured in rehashed shit. This is a time when original ideas have ceased, creativity is destroyed, where dreams are traded in for quick cash. We live in a world that has become an endless cycle of the past. Like Rome at the height of its degradation. We are all junkies and whores searching for our 15 minutes in the spotlight.
Radio stations play the same mindless crap all day long. Groups that don’t have enough talent to write their own songs or music have become the wave of the day. It’s not about creating something new, it’s about producing something that’ll make a few bucks. Television and talk radio shows constantly tell us what and how to think. They fill our head with useless contradictions to keep our minds dull and distracted. Reality television exploits the worst of human nature and has twisted dysfunction into a societal norm to be lauded and praised.
When did we cross the line into degradation? How can we sit and continue to let this happen without any moral or ethical dilemma? We can’t.
It is true that this has all been stated before by people far more educated and experienced than I. However, everything must start some somewhere–with someone. The time for a Renaissance is now.