How to survive modern day life.
Chapter 1. Intro
In today’s society, the average man in the developed world gets to experience more pleasure inducing activities than what kings of the past would have. But are we happier than before? Definitely not.
Through this simple observation, we know that the popular belief is not true. The belief that more pleasure is more happiness. It’s funny that most people chase the wrong goal. To earn more money, so that they can buy nice things to make their lives easier and more convenient, which is not a bad thing. And still, we are not happier than before. Even worse, when we look at past videos, people actually looked more lively and happier in general.
It’s because people fell into this pleasure trap. I want to combine what I have learned through my experiences into this book. I will try to write as short and clearly as possible, because there is no reason to steal anyone’s valuable time by unnecessarily making it longer, while you can do it in a short form.
I will analyze the cause of the modern day phenomenon, which negatively affects our lives. I am not an expert on this field. Please take my advice with a grain of salt. Your brain will keep learning the more content you read. This is my collection of knowledge, so take it and train your brain, filtering out wrong information using your previous knowledge.
Chapter 2. The manufactured consent.
There is a famous book written by professor Noam Chomsky who is a famous linguist and a professor at MIT. It’s called ‘Manufacturing consent’. It’s about how the news media is manipulated to change what the public thinks. People often think ‘that person is paranoid’ when they find someone who doesn’t follow popular beliefs. But surely professor Noam Chomsky is not paranoid.
In this money driven world, it’s easy to control things using money. The more the people want to make money, the easier it is to control them using money. If you control people, you can virtually control all things. Because our society is controlled by people.
Power is a relative term. Not everybody in the world can have power. More power for group A means less power for group B. In this sense, people who have the most power at the top want to reduce the power of the rest, the public. In the current world, where money is very important, the most powerful are the ones with the most amount of money. I don’t think it’s one or few people who deliberately control the world. But the collective actions of those powerful people make them as if it’s a person. So let’s say this collective mind of powerful people who control the world as ‘the elites’. For the elites to make their lives easier, they need to reduce the power of the rest of the people, the public. To effectively reduce the power of the public, the elites need to control them. What do the elites have that the rest doesn’t? Money. To control the population using money, they should make the public crave money more. No matter how much the public craves money, it doesn’t make the public richer, because the amount of money that’s been printed and circulating is fixed.
For example, in the Netflix series ‘The squid game’, the designers of the game hung a pile of money in front of the audience(participants) to see. This works as a bait to make people participate, and more eagerly, while the amount of money that will be given as the prize is fixed. They need to show it more to the participants to stimulate them, to make them follow order, and use them in favor of the system operators, which is to make it more fun for the rich guests.
It works the same in the real world. The elites can make people worship money using mass media. Not only news, but movies, books and articles. The elites don’t lose anything because the amount of money that’s circulating is fixed. It’s a zero sum game. And once the public is in their control, by money, they can control the entire system in favor of them, the elites. For example, they can bribe politicians or journalists with money to control them.
The second tactic the elites use to reduce the power of the public is to make conflicts. What did kings do to keep their power? They made each party to compete and hate each other, so that they could not conspire together against the king. The same thing is happening these days. Why are we so divided? The Youngs and the Olds. Men and Women. Black and white and yellow ethnicities. Neighboring countries hate each other. All these phenomenons didn’t happen by nature. It’s deliberately designed by the system to make us hate each other. It’s not too obvious what’s going on. It’s very subtle.
For example, how do we make A and B against each other? Make a news article saying group A hates B. Then a few days later, an article that says B hates A. Soon they will hate each other.
Why are we feeling empty inside while in a pool of material abundance? Why do we undervalue love over materials and pleasure? It’s all designed by the system. Everyone wants to be a millionaire nowadays. It’s a goal that can never be fulfilled because the money that’s circulating is fixed, and not everyone can be a millionaire. It’s like the law of physics. The energy will remain constant, just in different forms.
Why are the rich getting richer? It’s not because that’s natural. It’s because the system is rigged in their favor. We know how they gain power to control. One they have the power to control the system, they can make the system to follow their needs, and let the public think that it’s a natural thing.
Tactic number three, they make the public believe in certain ways, which are actually things that benefits the elites. For example, in Korea, where the elites called ‘Chaebols’ control almost everything, people believe that giving tax money to big industrial giants like Samsung or LG is a good thing for the country and the people. There are pros and cons, but they only promote the pros while neglecting cons. The people live poorly because they are competing for what’s left out after benefiting those ‘Chaebols’. Electricity bill for houses is one of the most expensive in the world, while for industry, it’s one of the cheapest. All these things are believed to be good things for the people. It’s because only the elites’ ideas and philosophies are broadcasted because they are the ones who have money. And money can control everything. Koreans work hard to death and this fuels enormous amounts of cheap human resources for the Chaebol companies. These elites have power to change cultures, beliefs and philosophies of the public in their favor. All these beliefs, cultures may be good for the elites but not good for the public, or even further, for the world. For example, because Korea has such a cheap hard working labor force, the chaebol companies can succeed in global competition. But is it really good for the public. Certainly it’s not good for the world, because again, the global market is a zero sum game. If company A earns X amount of more money, then company B in the same industry will earn less amount of money. It’s a competition of who will make a profit. The company is contributing to the world only when it is inventing something new. If a company has a technology no one else has, then it is certainly improving the world. But if a company is using the same equipment, the same technology that everyone else has, but exploiting their people to produce more cheaply, it is contributing nothing to the world. So what Koreans believe is good, is certainly not good for the world. Then again, is it good for the country? Not really. People have to work harder. They need to sacrifice their lives in favor of money. Because life in Korea is hard, many smart people who are attractive enough for global technology companies are leaving the country. A lot of research centers where good jobs are, are located outside of Korea because people capable of finding jobs outside want to leave Korea. Because the money which should be funded for public good, such as infrastructures, are flowing into Chaebols, public infrastructures and in low quality. Streets are messy with a high pedestrian death rate. It’s not pleasant to stroll around and live comfortably, which makes smart people to leave the country. So certainly it’s not all good for the country either, but still, majority people believe what’s good for the Chaebols is also good for the country.
So in essence, popular opinions are not always true, because there is a force which manipulates popular opinions. There is a lot of wrong information and ideas floating around, and because of these wrong information, there are many side effects as well.
3. Money doesn’t make you happy.
In this chapter, I want to explain why more money doesn’t mean more happiness. In the past when there was less material wealth, we were not unhappier than now. Conversely, it looks like it was happier back then. It’s because material wealth doesn’t fulfill anything for people. I am a Christian, but still, we humans are biological animals. Our brain has a way to regulate the amount of ‘feel good’ hormones. With all that wealth, we buy more materials, and do more pleasure seeking activities. So for instance, let’s say activity A on average induces two times more pleasure than activity B. If a person does activity A for a long period of time, would he feel twice as much pleasure than when he does activity B for the same duration? Certainly not. Our brain adapts to the amount of pleasure we are getting by regulating receptors in the brain. So if we keep doing high pleasure activity, the brain reduces the receptor for that hormone which causes pleasure, and we no longer feel the same excitement as before. Everyone would have experienced that, after a long period of feeling bored because of some circumstance such as preparing for an exam, it feels good doing normal activities when the boredom causing activity is over. You are in a crowded train in a developing country for ten hours straight. When the train finally arrives and you go out and breath the same air you have been breathing for all your life, you feel heavenly. So it’s all relative. You don’t do any pleasure causing activity for a extended time, your brain receptor gets sensitive and it feels good doing normal activities. This applies to all things including food. Nowadays, there are tasty foods using artificially produced ingredients everywhere, and once you are adapted to these foods, you no longer want to eat normal healthy food. So if person A eats extremely tasty artificial unhealthy food for a year, and person B eats healthy normal food for a year, these two people feel the same amount of pleasure for the year, but person A has eaten junk food and gained extra pounds and became unhealthy, while person B has none of those problems. So if you make your life goal to feel as much pleasure as possible, it simply wouldn’t work. That explains why it doesn’t change your happiness level whether you are a billionaire or not, once you have fulfilled your basic needs. We are living in abundance of material wealth, so it’s not really possible to not meet our basic needs. I don’t mean to hate money. Our society has developed to need money to function normally as a society member, money is somewhat important. But if you focus your life goal on earning money, not only you will waste your life, but you will feel empty inside even after achieving your goal.
It’s ironic that if every member of society doesn’t value money as much, the society would not be controlled by money, and the elites would lose power immediately. Making them not be able to manipulate the system, and thus, make them lose money. So we should know that when money is concentrated in the hands of few people, the society will degenerate and the problem would get bigger without limit. People believe it’s capitalism’s fault, but I have a different opinion. The problems we are facing are not caused by capitalism philosophy. It’s more of a socialism problem in a sense. When the rich get tax evasion and get all the benefits and subsidies, it’s the opposite of what capitalism is. It’s socialism for the rich companies. We should be aware of these popular ideas of blaming capitalism, because it might as well be induced by manipulation to create a distraction on finding out the real problem. Why is North Korea so degenerate? It’s because the power is concentrated in one party. The more the power is lost from the public, the more the system is rigged by the very power. When power is distributed to the public, everything finds its way to be normalized. The reason is because it’s the people who get to make important decisions, so the society transforms to be livable. I don’t know too much about politics, but in case of Switzerland, they don’t even have a president, but representatives of each municipality represents the country in rotation with short terms. With fewest natural resources, they thrive relative to the rest of the world.
This principle applies to many things. For example, city layout. If you see the streets of Europe, most of it is organically formed by the people who are actually living there for hundreds of years. No wonder that it feels warm and lively to walk the streets. It’s not designed in a top down manner by the rulers who don’t even live there. When the actual people who are living get to decide policies and important decisions, it becomes livable. This applies to all areas.
The importance of money is exaggerated to reduce the power of the public, we should help each other over money to gain the power back.
Then what makes a fulfilling life? I don’t have an explicit answer for that, but it’s certain that relationships with each other plays a big role. When you have more genuine, caring and loving relationships with other people, rather than trying to stab in the back while fake smiling, you feel more secure and happier. Also I believe most people have a field of their passion. If you never try to learn and create in your field of passion while chasing only money and consuming it, you will feel empty and unfulfilled. To do that, there is an important thing to learn. We have learned that ‘feel good’ activities make normal activities less enjoyable. So when you are indulging in feel-good activities too much, you will be unable to enjoy doing work on your passion. It’s comparable to drugs, to a less extent. When someone is addicted to drugs, he is unmotivated to do all other things except for doing drugs, because his brain receptor is reduced too much. You should know every enjoyable activity has the same effect as drugs, only to a lesser degree.
This explains why people in the past were more lively and happier. There were fewer artificial pleasure inducing things around, so they enjoyed more normal activities in life, such as hanging out with friends, doing things that they care about, helping others, etc.