Class struggle

Walking through the streets of my city I have developed a new habit. I order people as being higher than me, lower than me, or equal. Sure at the existential we are all equal, but there are those that walk this earth that I would like to be closer with, and there are those people for which some distance would not be such a bad thing. These people I would like to be closer with I call higher people.

With this new habit I have found myself in the middle of an age old struggle. A class struggle. As dark as the tunnel gets there are very few of these higher people on the bus or at my job. It’s as if the bus is an asylum we have sorted the sorts of people we want to keep off the roads, far away from the drivers; and my work is simply the job held by someone who has not quite graduated college yet.

Almost never do I take self acceptance to be the answer to my struggle and instead take on the challenge of overcoming and climbing the social ladder. Onwards and upwards, entitlement, confidence, and one new number everyday.

The thing that deserves the most blame for the situation and class that I am currently in; myself. Money, power, self control. It’s a struggle at this point and it’s a vicious fight. I am smart and relatable and starting a business is the path I will choose.

Plus one for the dark side.

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Pedicabs

A biker taxi they called themselves, or pedicabs as the name assigned to them by the men they worked for. These brave men and women who worked as pedicab drivers would scour the streets of the downtowns looking for a tired footstep or a group of party people who might be in need of a scoop and a shoot along whatever road they travel. The people paid well and the work was sweet. Biking a surplus of 40 miles a day has a way of making one sleep harder and taste the food more, but it’s a dead end job that only ever serves to pays the bills.

One night a young boy pedicab driver picked up a wicked elderly man off the sidewalk. The man demanded to be taken to the other side of town. He promised to pay well and the boy agreed. Along the way the man jeered and yelled at the boy to go faster and work harder. The boy was innocent and tried his best to meet the man’s requests.

When the boy and man were in the midst of climbing the steepest hill the old man called out to a bystander “Hop in, there is enough room for the both of us.” With a cackle like the devil another fully grown man hopped in the cart. The boy was in his lowest gear, peddling as hard as he could and still the cart would hardly move. “Another!” The man cried out pointing a young female who had stopped to watch. She eagerly jumped on the laps of the two men in the cart as they continued to climb.

The riders cackled with excitement seeing the boy struggle to climb the hill and in time a crowd gathered. Windows where opening to investigate the commotion the riders were causing. Encouraged by the first man’s enthusiasm the crowd joined in with the jeering. Strangers started jumping into the cart uninvited. Slower and slower the boy climbed the hill. “We will break him!” Cried another man jumping into the cart. The cart had become too heavy for the boy and finally he could climb no further.

Cackles came from the first man and shrieks of laughter came from the crown. “A stick!” someone cried out handing the first man a small piece of wood. “What do we pay you for!” said the first man who began whipping the boy with his new tool. As much as the boy struggled he could not move the cart which by this time was filled with newcomers who had joined in the fun.

A young child and his mother stood a distance off watching the scene unfold. Seeing the struggle the child hugged his mother’s leg and asked “Why are they doing this mommy? Don’t they see that he can go no further?”
“Let’s go sweaty.” His mother softly replied and took her child away from the biker and his spectators.

“Grab some more sticks!” Cried a woman from a second story window, and three men with what resembled more of a log than a stick began beating the boy who rolled off his bike to the ground where he curled up like a dead spider.

Like Hyenas who have had their fill the passengers began getting out of the cart. Putting arms around one another, laughing they walked away into the night and the crowd dispersed leaving the boy lying on the ground.

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The best of times

I think a lot, about the difference between apathy and contagious ecstasy. About the difference between being in unaffected emotionally by loved ones, and the first moments of being reunited with an old friend after a long trip. About the difference between a heavy boredom that weighs one down to the point of sleep, and those moments when one can simply look at a tree and exclaim “What a nice tree!”

As humans we create mental habits and after we fall into a comfort zone we rarely attempt to escape that comfort zone. What then happens is a process known as hedonic adaptation. Philosopher and poet Jason Silva says “We have eyes that see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand.”

Depression, boredom, and apathy are deplorable word we use to describe a deplorable existence. The question is; how do we shape our lives in such a way as to elicit experiences of passion, wonder, and ecstasy?

Escape the mental habits and experience something new. Scramble the self temporarily so that new thoughts can invade the brain. When the mind is confronted by something of immense power (thunderstorms, charismatic leader, moral virtue or beauty) we place ourselves in a perspective compared to said object and are humbled in comparison.

There is a biological advantage to being awestruck. It drives us to new heights in order to attain this sort of ecstasy. A study done at Stanford explained that persons who more frequently experience awe believe themselves to have more time and thus are less rushed in their daily lives. These people have less stress and greater satisfaction in life on the whole. They are also more driven as they find greater purpose in their lives that in continually redefined during moments of passion.

So find these experiences of such perceptual vastness that our mental operating systems are forced into expanding their models of the universe. In these moments we make the brain upgrades by refiguring what was once thought possible, and by opening up our thoughts to new possibilities.

This is what it’s all about and the great part about it is that it’s everywhere. A deep connection with a friend, a good and close look at a bumble bee, or a shirtless rampage through a thunderstorm. Whatever it takes, get there.

Wanderer

Wanderer, who are you? I see you following your path without scorn, without love, with unfathomable eyes, wet and sad as a plummet which has returned to the light insatiated out of every depth—what did you seek down there?—with a bosom that never sighs, with lips that conceal their loathing, with a hand which only slowly grasps: who are you? What have you done? Rest here: this place has hospitality for every one—refresh yourself! And whoever you are, what is it that now pleases you? What will serve to refresh you? Only name it, whatever I have I offer! ‘To refresh me? To refresh me! Oh, you prying one, what have you to say! But give me, I pray—-’ What? what? Speak out! Another lends? Another lends and a new mask to wear!

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