On Deception
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On Deception

On Deception / #9: Do you feel useless or desperate? Read this.

Let’s begin the explanation why some of us feel useless or desperate in life with the following example:

Imagine two people, Albert and Betty.

Albert really enjoys gardening. He especially likes cultivation of flowers. Albert has the greatest talent for flower cultivation in his geographical area.

Betty really enjoys mathematics. She especially likes computer programming. Betty has the greatest talent for computer programming in her team.

Now, who of these two often feel useless and desperate?

It’s Albert. Why?

Well, while Betty is paid handsomely and recently rented a flat in the downtown, Albert is scraping a living selling his flowers in the local farmers’ market.

To sell flowers in the farmers’ market, Albert wakes up early and works through the whole day on Saturday, while Betty’s plan for the day is to hang out with friends in a posh mall.

Betty actually makes seven times more money per month than Albert.

Same potency of passion, talent, and expertise. Different remuneration.

How is that possible? Aren’t we “equal”? What is going on?

Albert does not feel useless because he has chosen to pursue his area of passion, talent, and expertise. He feels useless because of his economic situation. He is in a constant state of livelihood insecurity.

Betty has also chosen to pursue her area of passion, talent, and expertise. But unlike Albert, she travels to a couple of countries each year to experience a quality vacation.

In our society, passion is a fancy word thrown around by self-“improvement” gurus to “motivate” us to take action and “pursue your dream”. But in reality, our economic situation is very important to us as well because our economic situation determines whether we actually eat. Our economic situation is linked to our chances of survival in the market economy.

In the market economy, a naive pursuit of your passion without considering the economic aspect of your endeavor might cost you dearly then. Even though Albert has the same potency of his gift as Betty, in terms of capitalism, his gift is not equal, but inferior. That’s a plain harsh reality. Just look at Betty’s paycheck.

What is going on in our society in terms of our feelings of uselessness and desperation is an unequal emphasis on the value of individual gifts in the market economy. Unfortunately, this unequal emphasis is driven by an insatiable lust for money, not by an insatiable lust for a societal good. Don’t get fooled.

Again, this is a “market” economy, not “individual gift” economy.

“Ok, but how does all of this relate to my feelings of uselessness and desperation?”

If you are not “lucky” enough to actually enjoy the areas that the current market finds valuable, you have got basically two options:

A) doing your thing, but suffer economically,

B) doing the market thing and suffer spiritually.

(If you’ve just dismissed the spiritual suffering, then you haven’t experienced it yet. It is one of the worst feelings that life offers. It is a distinct feeling that kills you while alive.)

So, why do you feel useless and desperate? Because you are not allowed to give your gifts to the world. Instead, you are forced to participate in the dodgy ventures of the market economy. In other words, your existence is perverted through the structural violence of the capitalist society.

You have basically been dealt a bad hand in terms of dignified living in a capitalist society. For (far too) many people nowadays, living means just “adapt or die”. And yes, this may be considered as a basic law of surviving in nature, but here we are not speaking about surviving in nature. We are speaking about surviving in a human-invented ideology.

The contemporary society does not honor who we are. It honors profit.

It is chilling to hear that, but if we do not possess the traits that the market economy deems valuable, we are deemed inferior as a result. We are not told that directly since it’s “politically incorrect”. However, we are told that indirectly by our paycheck. The true tragedy happens if we ourselves start to believe in our inferiority. Such belief does massive damage in our lives.

There is a very effective way how to get out of this mess: let the contemporary structure crumble and replace capitalism with its market-based economy with a responsible societal management system that upholds the resource-based economy.

But this, of course, will never happen. At least not voluntarily. Why? Well, the rich and powerful will not give up their privileges and the poor and exploited are busy watching Netflix.

So the only advice I can tell you to help you get rid of your feelings of uselessness and desperation is: Make your own rules. Only you can save yourself. Don’t depend on other people.

ADDENDUM:

If you think that Betty’s remuneration is justified, maybe you should know this:

She’s developing an algorithm that makes you see more ads in your social media feed. So much for the celebrated usefulness of programming-related professions.

Or, maybe you think that “Albert should learn to code and turn his small business into a million-dollar franchise”. There’s a three-fold counter-argument to this position:

Firstly, you probably watch too many motivational channels and think that being an “entrepreneur” is the holy grail of human existence. Stop it. Entrepreneurs are nothing without the employees and vice versa. It’s a co-dependent relationship.

Secondly, it’s the same like asking Betty to “learn to set up a garden to grow her own food”. Stop forcing people to become what they are not.

Finally, some people simply don’t want to chase money and “become millionaires”. They just want to live with dignity as they are fine with “enough”.

This is my #9 post in my series On Deception.

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