Monday, June 10, 2013

Morals and Guilt

Guilt is a weird thing. Two people can engage in the exact same behavior while one feels intense guilt about the situation and the other feels nothing. And of course other people will have feelings everywhere else along that spectrum.

If I allowed myself, I would feel guilty about everything. It's so easy for me to see the negative effects of my actions. To be honest, I still feel guilty about a lot of things in my life but I just submerge those feelings in order to go on with life. I used to think about living on a farm somewhere and growing all of my own food, making my own clothes, etc in order to avoid buying items made with sweat shop labor. I even used to wonder how I would get metal and other materials I couldn't make myself while still avoiding sweatshop labor and oil. Yes I'm that weird and think that deeply about both practical and moral issues (my life would be so much simpler if I only thought deeply about one or if I used surface level thinking for both).

I asked a friend to be a reference for a job that I'm very close to getting. This job would be the beginning of an actual career for me: benefits, a salary, etc. I asked a friend to basically lie for me. I asked her to pretend to be my current colleague for a place I used to intern at. Once she realized what I was asking for, she told me she couldn't do it and said "my conscious would bother me and drive me crazy." She did offer to be a personal reference.

It's a weird thing. This person is very privileged. She is the friend I mentioned in this post. I will give some numbers that I did not give in the other post. The total COA (cost of attendance) for the university where we met was $50,000 per year. Tuition by itself was $34,000 per year. So total COA (over 4 years) for both my friend and her sister would equal roughly $400,000! Actually it would be a little more because the numbers I have given were from a our freshman year and of course all of these costs increase every year. Her parents paid for all of it out of pocket.

I remember asking her years ago if she ever felt bad about the poor people in her home country. She mumbled something about there being resources available for them. (Needless to say that this was when I still had a rather naive view of the world.) Basically she didn't feel bad for them.

Now her home country is rather poor and even just a small fraction of the money spent on her college education (not to speak of all of her private school education before that) could have made an IMMENSE difference in the lives of many people there. Even in the US it could make a great difference. And with the money left she still could have gone to a top-notch college.

And for this she feels not a drop of guilt (at least as far as I can tell). She also travels back and forth (by air) between her home country and the US fairly often and doesn't think of all the environmental damage she is contributing to and the many lives that have been ruined due to oil exploration. And of course she wears the same sweatshop clothes and eats the same factory farm meat and vegetables produced by exploited workers without a second thought.

And yet her conscience won't allow her to lie to help a friend obtain a job. Now I need to clarify that I'm not saying she has a duty, moral or otherwise, to help me. I just find it so interesting the seemingly random resting points of the average person's moral compass.

I guess she would be considered a deontologist while I'm a utilitarian (I think).

Earlier today I found myself watching a YouTube video of young lady discussing how she dresses modestly for the Lord. She named a bunch of mainstream stores. Not once was the topic of the treatment of the workers brought up. And this for a video that is all about moral issues. Apparently the Lord doesn't care if you wear sweatshop clothes as long as they are modest sweatshop clothes.

People are truly the same everywhere.

The old me would resent my friend for not helping me but the wiser me knows better. There will probably still be some resentment but I will (try to) keep it artfully hidden for when I need her for something else.

More than anything, I just find human beings so tiring.

Thankfully I have other options for references. I'll keep you guys updated on how the job situation turns out.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I think I'm experiencing yet another transformation. My social justice period might finally be winding to a close. I'm starting to experience the same change I went through when I transitioned out of Christianity. At first I looked more deeply into Christianity attempting to find something that negated the obvious flaws, hypocrisy, and unfairness of the Bible and those who to adhere to it. Obviously, I didn't. Even from biblical teachers I personally trusted, I received a lot of emotionally-based explanations. The answers outside of those were either of the "you can't understand God's plan/ways/etc". or worse.

After a dip into the pool of militant atheism, I finally realized that people believe in God because they WANT to believe in God (well as much a person can want something when free will doesn't exist; but I will talk about that later). They believe in him past all manner of reason and sense. Their view of God is actually EXTREMELY SELFISH. It still freaks me out how people can go about worshipping a God that not only allows all matter of horrors and evils to happen in this world but (according to the majority of Christian denominations) is going to burn and torture the vast, vast majority of humans FOREVER (although I must add that not all denominations believe in the doctrine of hell. If I recall correctly, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists both believe that non-believers will simply be annihilated [both body and soul] on Judgment Day. There's also the concept of Christian Universalism). And they are okay with all of this as long as they get to have a personal relationship with God on earth and to live in heaven forever. In total, people are pretty much monsters and their monstrous beliefs lead to the world we have today.

What I am basically trying to say is that I am mistaken in trying to help people. From what I've observed, most people are okay and praise life no matter how bad their particular situation is. I am the one who can't just 'deal' no matter what situation I am in. If most people don't have minimum standards for their life (in terms of what they are willing to put up with) why should I try to force those upon them? I need to work on forming a life that meets my own particularly high standards. I will still probably always feel something for children who are unwanted and not prepared for the crazy and cruel world we live in, but I also need to remember that these poor kids will turn into adults who also have no minimum standards for their lives. They will become the adults who would rather be born into the most unfortunate situation than not be born at all.

Again, why should I try to force my (obviously very abnormal) standards on them?

Also, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that very few people actually care about justice in any real way. They only care when something unjust happens to them. They would be just as happy to ignore if it was happening to someone else and they will surely encourage it if they believe they will benefit in some way. The more I think about it, the more I realize that helping someone just gives them more opportunity to be an exploiter in this world.

And what's the point of that?

As I mentioned before, I don't really believe in the concept of free will so I can't really blame them for wanting to live no matter what. It's not really them wanting to live as much as it is their genes carrying them towards thoughtless reproduction.

I think this transformation will take longer than my social justice transformation but I believe it must occur because a social justice mindset just doesn't make any sense in this world.

I hope this post doesn't sound like I am turning into a hard-core republican. I'm not sure what I'm becoming, I just know I'm changing.

I live amongst zombies

I live amongst zombies. Every and anything is acceptable to them. They even praise God for all of it.

I really don't fit in here.

It's becoming increasingly apparent that I need to find some kind of meaning in my work in order to have some peace.

I must develop self-discipline so I can successfully run my own business. I understand that there's nothing particularly virtuous about things like hard work, networking, gaining skills, or self-discipline but I need these skills to even have a hope of escaping the life of a wage slave. In particular, the life of a low-paid wage slave. Working these types of jobs is killing me. I can't believe that I am paid barely livable wages in order to make another human being INSANELY rich. And the fact that I need a job in order to survive in this current economic set-up still doesn't change the fact that it is exploitation. The fact that this is what all employment (especially low-paid employment) is does not seem to bother most people but then again I'm not most people.

I'm not most people.

I'm not most people.

And that's okay. It doesn't make me better or worse than anyone else. I need to embrace my unique perspective of the world and find a way to thrive while I am here.

I've been saying this forever but I really do need to lead a more active life.

On a completely unrelated note, I recently reactivated my fb in order to invite certain people to my wedding and I was quickly reminded of why I quit. As soon as my wedding is over I'm deactivating again and even before then I am going to do my best to only spend a small amount of time on there. In the small time that I've reactivated, I've started comparing my life to that of others and feeling unpopular. Isn't funny how small a certain website can make you feel?

I'm looking forward to deactivating again and only knowing intimate details of my friends' lives.

Which reminds me that I need to cut down on my blog reading too.