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Staying Positive in a Downer World

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How do you get through the day? It's a simple question but I suspect the answer for a lot of people would be pretty complicated. Our modern world seems to be a cold place even while it gets hotter. The Western world seems to be suffering an emotional breakdown. We see it in a media that emphasizes fear and violence. We see it in the vicious language and traitorous actions of our politicians. We see it in people we know suffering depression, addiction, and debt despite living in affluent societies and having material means of living many, many times greater than anything our ancestors would recognize.

If Marx was right then people are shaped by the economy they live in. A teacher I knew agreed with this fact and cited her experiences in India, where she was from, and China to explain why. She said in both countries, there is a greater emphasis in the Northern-half on wheat for a staple dietary crop than in the South. In the South, rice was emphasized. She argued in both of these countries, there is a stronger tradition of patriarchy in the Northern-half where the wheat is grown since it traditionally tends to be male-oriented work due to its less strength and labor-intensive nature. Rice, on the other hand, is labor intensive and can done by women equally well. She suggested that this in turn leads to a greater emphasis on the men seeing the women as equally necessary for the survival of their family as themselves. This forms higher levels of respect.

Well, we live under capitalism; an individualist, market-oriented system where we generally see each other as competitors to beat or to negotiate for advantage with. Even worse, it seems like the capitalism we know is collapsing around us. Corruption is so rampant as to be meaningless. It has become the new normal. Inequality and debt enslavement destroy entire countries as they destroy the individuals living within them. Love is harder to manage under a system like this. Real love implies a trust that our focus on instilling competitiveness and gaining advantage crushes out of people.    

It seems this type of thinking has spread to the elites of most countries who are forcing or sometimes simply allowing their people into this same mould. In many cases we force them to but it wouldn't really matter if we didn't. The system forces them to if they want to compete in it. Nature and the Human Soul come secondary for any country to surviving in a very broken system.

Now, it seems the West's financial systems are collapsing. We really just don't make and sell enough stuff to continue consuming like we do and we're not going to be able to pay off the debts we've acquired and take proper care of our aging population. There's going to be some bad times made even worse by the police state we've allowed to emerge around ourselves. The corporate-government-military complex is ready for dissent and has done a good job programming us so that most of us won't even give it.

But. There is always a but. We are by no means beat nor is anything decided. Despite the gloomy picture I've suggested, I am pretty optimistic about the future. Maybe not the very short-term but the medium-long turn, yeah, I think we're going to be seeing some improvements over the debauched Kali Yuga type of civilization we're living in right now. Wikipedia Kali Yuga if you're unfamiliar with the term. It's a useful concept at the moment.

Now, I'm a pretty young guy. I'm only 24 and my life is about as good as I could hope for. My family is loving and functional if a bit stressed. I have some good, long-term friends. I'm going to be finished with my master's degree in political science shortly. I have a job I don't hate and will have no debt once I finish school. Still, despite my blessings that I fully recognize, I've been physically and emotionally depressed for a little while now. I'm trying to change up aspects of my routine and keep improving my diet. I'm trying to reduce my drinking to very minimal and exercise more. Talk to people more. Really anything to get out of this funk.

Which is why I wrote this. I imagine others here are having similar feelings. Following politics is exhausting and masochistic but unfortunately very important so it's good that everyone who is able to do it, does do it. Safeguarding a democracy is like any other heavy thing. It gets lighter for every additional person who lifts it. There are not enough people lifting this damn thing and those left to do it seem like they get crushed to the point they are incapable of helping any more. In my case, even my participation in my local Green Party has ceased to almost nothing. I've lost my drive for it right when any assistance is most useful.

So my question for anyone reading this is: How do you stay positive and involved? Involved meaning up-to-date and in attempted opposition to the evils you see in our world. I don't mean in any big sweeping generalities. I just mean, what do you personally do that keeps you going in the face of a pretty scary future? And these can be good and bad things, vices as well as virtuous activity. Strangely enough, drinking was definitely a functional crutch for me and since I mostly quit a couple months ago, I've generally felt worse. Viewing the world totally sober is even worse than viewing it with a hangover.

So please. It would be good to hear some optimism and uplifting words and life-strategies from others. Anyone read who reads this, please comment on yourself, what you do, and how you keep yourself sane and fighting back in an insane world.

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25 year-old Canadian student, currently attaining my masters in political science. Work with mentally disabled individuals for employment. Try to be politically involved. A card-carrying member of the provincial and federal green parties of Canada. (more...)
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