Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Beyond My Front Door 3

For part two, go here

I have gone on in length about how I hate having to go anywhere or see anybody. I don’t want people getting the idea that I think I’m better than anyone else, or that I am just a hate-filled cretin, looking to lash out at anything I deem unworthy. Sure, I am probably smarter than you, and yeah, I hate a bunch of things, but ... what was my point?
At any rate, I feel that since I am apparently going to keep writing these things that border dangerously close to being a manifesto, I might as well tell you about myself. My name is Harold. I’ve already told you about my cat, Diogenes, and how I hope that his name perplexes you and makes you feel inferior. Because you should. If you do manage to get it, don’t tell me, because that will just annoy me. Just because you get a labored joke about a guy that’s been dead for thousands of years doesn’t mean I’ll like you more. I’m not looking to form a tribe of disgust-filled pseudo intellectuals.
My mother always tries to get me to go take a class, or find people who share my interests, but why in God’s name would I ever do that? Sharing one common interest with another human being is what gets most people in trouble. We get our hearts broken, end up in hate groups, give power of attorney to con men, or end up in a cult when we mistake a common interest for love or trust or a place to fit in. We are all complex, and one shared interest doesn’t make two people soulmates. In fact, believing in soulmates is the quickest way to make sure we are never “soulmates.”
Yes, even idiots are complex in their idiocy. That’s why you can’t ever make them happy. Relationships, no matter what kind, all consist of a test with no right answers. We will never know the answers because we can’t ever know them. The people administering the test doesn’t even know the answers, that’s how messed up it is. Complex idiots are a thousand times worse than complex smart people, and there are a thousand times more of them.
These complex and convoluted morons bounce around our lives 24/7. They are in front of us in traffic, they are infesting our stores and restaurants, they are ordering the wrong parts and forgetting our dipping sauces at McDonalds, they are sharing fake news and voting Republican. All the while, their motives and comprehension skills are so convoluted and underdeveloped that they don’t stand a chance. And we are at their mercy.
Back to me. I am obviously angry, but I have come to terms with it. Anger can be a tool in the right hands, it can motivate you, it can inspire you to greatness, it can change the world. I have done none of that. I am angry, but nihilistic. I hunger for change, I yearn for world enlightenment, I crave nothing but better things for the planet and all its inhabitants. I expect none of it, and I am happy just to complain and point out all the failures and folly. I am not helping, but I don’t want to. I hate everything, remember?
I think that the human race has basically run its course. We could have been something. We did achieve some pretty stunning technological advances, but every advance mankind made was co-opted by power and money crazed corporations or governments, which are often the same thing, and used for evil rather than good.
The real problem with complex idiots, is that they bully and lie their way to positions of power, and other complex idiots worship or vote for them. Thus, you get kings and dictators, religious leaders and fascists, and of course, Republicans. No matter what you do, no matter what good you have in your heart, there will always be enough uninformed cretins brimming with self confidence to thwart your good intentions. You like to think that there are more of you than there are of them, but chances are that you’re one of them too. If not you, then a lot of the people on your side.
You see, like I was saying, if you base your tribe or relationships on one thing you have in common, you are already dead in the water. Just because people are labelled the same as you politically, they still might be idiots, and idiots are wild and unpredictable and easily swayed. Getting an idiot to your side is not that much of an accomplishment, because they can be convinced you’re wrong in an instant and join the opposition. They can end up hurting your side more than helping it.
There is probably no worse feeling in the world than when you find someone who agrees with you on some topic you deem important. You bond instantly, and that whole “soulmate” thing starts creeping into your head. You think you found a kindred spirit, a fellow traveler in this crazy, mixed up world. Then they open their mouth, and the most ridiculous nonsense spews forth and you look for the nearest exit. That’s why a tribe full of idiots is useless, unless you know how to control them. If you have any kind of conscience or morality, you will find that it’s impossible to corral and control idiots. You can really only do it through deception and brute force, which is why psychopaths are so good at it.
You can be an idiot and control other idiots too, as long as you have no moral compass. People mistake evil for genius all the time, but there are very few actual geniuses. Most of the time sheer audacity and a propensity for lying directly to people’s faces is confused for intelligence. That’s understandable though, because most of the people in awe of these average intelligence psychopaths are idiots themselves.
Notice I don’t call these idiots stupid. I don’t think that most idiots are stupid. Most people have average brains, but even an average brain is amazing and capable of great things. Most idiots have the ability to keep track of vast stores of knowledge. They can instantly quote you obscure sports statistics, movie and music trivia, or the names and attributes of all the pokemon characters. Idiots go to medical and law school and become doctors and lawyers. They are engineers and policemen and scientists, they are actors and musicians and artists. Many of them hold powerful and respected positions that require a fair amount of brainpower to achieve.
And many of them come out with the most idiotic statements you can imagine. They can be top of their field, yet lack self awareness. They can be human computers, yet have no common sense, and be swayed by the most inane arguments, as long as they appeal to a particular prejudice or fear. That is how idiots are best motivated, through fear and insecurity, and nothing makes an idiot feel afraid or inferior than something that’s different from them.
So that’s why you’ll never win. That’s why you are so frustrated on social media. Idiots are everywhere, and now they have a forum to spout their idiocy. And we all think that everyone else is the idiot, when in fact the chances are good that you’re just as big an idiot as the idiot you are railing at on Facebook.
Ah, Facebook. I know that these little essays are about how much I hate the outside world, but now, thanks to the internet, I don’t even have to leave my couch to experience the hell that is other people.
Nothing in the world gives you a sense of accomplishment like arguing with some jerk on social media, and nothing feels more hollow minutes later when you look back on it and realized you accomplished nothing at all. Even assuming you’re not an idiot, you are most likely arguing with one. What do you think will come of that? Yelling at an idiot and pointing out the fault in their logic simply makes them dig in their heels and throw more faulty logic at you. Memes and gifs and stories from fake news sites, all designed to put you in your place. When you point out to them that their “proof” is bogus, they will just resort to calling you names.
Eventually it will just devolve into insulting each other until someone brings up Hitler. There is even an internet adage about it. Godwin’s Law states that the longer an online discussion goes on, the more likely a comparison involving Hitler is bound to happen.
I want to point out that I know I usually make it a point to explain how you probably don’t even know about something like Godwin’s Law, and how I am so much smarter than you for being aware of it. I take any opportunity to rub your face in the fact that I know more than you, but alas, so many hipsters and social justice warriors and Bernie bros have ruined that for me. One of the ways corrupt complex idiots control regular complex idiots is to make them feel like they are being spoken down to by “liberal elitists.” Unfortunately, liberal complex idiots fall into this trap all the time by actually being douchebags who think that they are vastly superior simply because they heard of a particular internet meme, or took a course in sociology at their local community college for a semester before giving up and going to work at Starbucks.
It’s too easy for everyone to know things, so chances are that some idiot is going to have heard of something, whether they grasp the concept or not, and throw it in your face. It’s like years ago, when only a few upper class idiots had cell phones. They thought they were so special and unique, then soon every housewife and minimum wage worker had them, and it didn’t impress anyone anymore. So thanks to these barely woke imbeciles, I now have to be gracious and not flaunt my superiority over others, lest I look like some hipster doofus or dorm room leftist. I might be a douchebag myself, but at least I am self aware.
Whatever the cultural exposure of the adage though, it is true. Hitler comparisons inevitably pop up, and whoever makes them first claims what they believe to be the moral high ground. At that point, arguing with them is pointless, after all, you, or the cause or the person you represent, are now Hitler. Fascists even call anti-fascists Hitler, which boggles the mind. Logic doesn’t apply, though, and once you are labelled Hitler, you face your own eastern front and will most likely die there, cold and hungry, thanks to smug complex idiots who don’t even understand how debates and arguments work.
That’s why whenever I get involved in an internet fracas, I will now immediately call the other person Hitler and leave. If that’s going to be the end result, why not just cut to the chase? If the trump card is Hitler, why not play it first and foremost? Why engage in a war of attrition when you have a nuclear weapon?
The end result in all this is that it is pointless. Idiots arguing with other idiots is not changing anything. Complex as you might be, if you’re an idiot you’re probably not going to grasp any salient points the other idiot might luck upon making. The sad truth of the matter is that to harness the power of idiots, you need to coerce them with their own failings as people, and you can’t really do that one on one on social media. You need to do that with campaigns and slogans, and finely crafted subversive and subconscious appeals to their hatred and hypocrisy.
So I basically hate social media the same way I hate society in general. At first the internet seemed like it was going to open up a whole new world for the best and the brightest to find each other. It would be some vast utopia of free thinking enlightenment and shared ideas, exposing everyone to new and better ways of thinking. It wasn’t to be, and it quickly became a place for porn and buying consumer goods and cats hassing cheezburgers. Like I said, the world is full of complex idiots, and they quickly reduce everything to the lowest common denominator.
Which is why we now have a president who is a public embarrassment. I think that in the age of the complex idiot, there is no better symbol than this cruel and feeble excuse for a human being we have now. This is where we’ve been heading, since we first came down from the trees and managed to avoid being eaten until we harnessed technology to catapult us to the top of the food chain. We didn’t get there because we deserve it, we got there by sidestepping and leapfrogging and cheating our way. There are no shortcuts, so at this point we are simply psychotic apes, handling technology that has evolved a million times faster than we have.
But anyway, it’s not that I have a problem with the shopping aspect of the internet. I am grateful that I can now bypass the mall or superstore and buy things with no human interaction at all. I do this whenever I can, but alas, I have to leave the house on occasion to buy certain items. Mostly food. I know, there are services where you can have the grocery store pack up and delivery your order, but do you really think that I want idiots picking out my vegetables for me? Most people have no clue how to pick a perfect avocado, and there is nothing more depressing than getting an under ripe or overripe avocado. Besides, isn’t the store going to stick me with all the products that are about to reach their expiration date? I would; it just makes good business sense.
I also have to leave the house if I want to go to the movies. Most movies, I will simply wait for them to come to streaming or pay per view, but there are some movies that I feel the need to see on the big screen. And here you thought I wasn’t actually going to get beyond my front door in this edition!
I am a bit of a nerd, and I like big budget comic book movies. Or, I should like them. They are all horrible, ruining the characters or the point of the comic they are based on in the first place. Alas, if I don’t go see them as soon as they come out, I won’t be able to go on reddit and comment sections of pop culture sights and explain how everyone else should hate the movie too. I like other scifi and fantasy movies, and most of those are horrible also. Even if I like the original movie in a series, every sequel or reboot is garbage. If you are commenting on any of these movies and you’re not complaining about every aspect of them, you are missing the point of seeing them in the first place.
So at least I can buy my tickets and choose my seat online. That means the only interaction with theater employees I have is showing them my code on my phone screen and they tell me on which screen my particular movie is showing in. Not like it doesn’t tell me that on the ticket I bought, or on the led display outside the door of said screen. Thanks for the needless redundancy!
It’s not the kid taking the ticket’s fault. It’s the corporation that owns the theater. They pay a lot of money to people to figure out the best way to move along the complex idiots that flow through their doors and not make it look like they are herding them through like the idiots they are. Then they hire some more idiots, and train them how to talk to other idiots and get them to keep moving, and maybe spend more money in the process.
Ah, the movie concession stand. Popcorn and a soda that costs more than the movie itself. Popcorn and pasta are the biggest scams are far as prepared food goes. It costs next to nothing, yet the markup is insane. A plate of spaghetti costs pennies to make, yet it is right in line pricewise with every other thing on the menu. You could buy a trash bag full of popcorn for the price of a small bucket at the concession stand. A bottle of water will cost you five bucks in most cases. They have you hostage, though, and if you want something to eat while you watch the movie, that’s where you have to buy it. Some places even have a bar these days, and service right to your seats. This seems like it would be a nightmare. I can’t think of any situation that gets better when you add drunks to it.
Now, I could try to sneak food into the theater, or eat beforehand. I could just not eat at all, but I am American, so that’s not really an option. So I make my way to the food counter and ordered my edible garbage. These days, you can get much more than popcorn and candy. Nachos, pretzels, hot dogs and hamburgers, all kinds of things. I must admit, I go for the nachos rather than popcorn these days, because hey, I’m not fat enough.
Being angry and aware and cynical, I can understand the prevalence of conspiracy theories. (On a side note, conspiracy theories are the pinnacle of complex idiot behavior. Just stop it, already.) I get that personal information is the new currency, and nothing is free. I rarely give out my email or cell phone number, because I know the information will be sold off to anyone that wants it, and I will be inundated with spam. The theater has a VIP club, which gets you money off on tickets and food, and apparently the only thing you need to be considered a VIP is a cell phone number and email address. In a moment of weakness, I begrudgingly gave them this info at some point to save a dollar on popcorn and movie prices. Most idiots gladly give away all their information to save pennies, but even more of them give it away for stupid quizzes and games on Facebook.
There is a perfect example of a complex idiot. Otherwise intelligent people who give personal information away on a whim, and when you try to tell them that it’s a bad idea, they argue with you and ignore you. That’s where the complex part rears its ugly head again. The complex idiot doesn’t want to hear anything that goes against what they want to believe. Of course, how complex an idiot am I if I know all this, and still sell myself out to save a buck?
The people in line and milling around the concession stand are the worst. Kids and slow moving parents, morons on dates, morons with a girl who think they are on a date but are in for a rude awakening. All in my way, all trying to figure out what they want or how to operate the soda fountain. In an effort to save time and money, theaters nowadays give you a cup when you and expect you to fill it up yourself. Thanks to this innovation, you now have a backup at the dispenser. There is one spigot, and you have to choose between which of 20 different sodas you want to come out. This is pushing the limits of most idiots capabilities. While the powers that be have trained their employees to herd the idiots along, once all the money that can be gotten from them has been gotten, they are set free to wander aimlessly. Once idiots reach the end of the movable rope cattle chute, they are bewildered and frightened by freedom and choice. I plow my way through them.
So I get my discount nachos, fill my soda cup, and head to my seat. These days, theaters have assigned seating, and reclining chairs. It’s nice, but I can’t help thinking that it is yet another sign that we are in the end times. I think of the movie WALL-E, and how humans have become sentient creatures that live their lives from a recliner. Between our couches, our cars, and the theater seats, we are almost there. I sit down, and instantly regret my nacho choice. The box they come in is unwieldy, the little cup of cheese is infuriating small and too big at the same time, and when you take a bite the crunch is so loud. You are sure everyone is hearing you.
As with everything in life, the other people in the theater almost make it unbearable. Screaming children that shouldn’t even be seeing some of these movies, running up and down the aisle, while their oblivious parents do nothing. People talking, on their phones or to each other. Then there are the people who will ask you to switch seats, because they want to sit with their friends or family and they couldn’t get advance tickets next to each other. Because I end up going to movies by myself, people see me as the perfect opportunity to chase to another seat. They apologize in advance, which basically affirms that they are wrong to even do what they are about to do, and ask me to move down, or go to another row entirely.
How dare they? I paid for my seat, I chose it for its location, and now I’m expected to move because you couldn’t find the seating arrangement you wanted, but bought the tickets anyway. What kind of bullshit is that? Now here I was, faced with that situation. A father and his two kids, asking if I could move so his kids, who shouldn’t even be seeing the violent movie they are about to view, can sit together. I try to indicate that I really don’t want to move without saying it in so many words, but this complex idiot is just not getting it. It’s wrong to make me move, I shouldn’t have to do it, but what am I going to do? I have learned that when it comes to public opinion, kids and family trump the sad, angry loser in the minds of the idiots. Besides, even I have a soft spot for kids. They aren’t quite the idiots they will grow into. They are usually jerks, make no mistake, but they are simple and single minded, not yet burdened with the complexities that will drag them down one day and make their life aggravating and confusing. I can’t hold all the sins of the complex idiots against them.
So I called them Hitler, and left to go find my new seat.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Excerpts From A Ghost's Diary, Part 6

June 9, 2008
Hello diary, me again. Still drifting along, still trying to figure it all out. The more I see, the more complicated it all seems, to be honest. People have always confused and confounded me, and it’s no better now that I am dead.
As a ghost, I have the ability to be around people undetected. I can stand right next to them, in their most private moments, and just observe. I get to see all the things that people do when they think no one else can see or hear them. I watch them sing, and sometimes it's beautiful and sometimes it’s off key and jarring, but who cares? They seem so free and happy when they are singing.
I see them write all their dreams and feelings down, and then squirrel it away so no one can see. I see them act out scenes, I see them dance in an empty room. I see them try attempt to see if they are as flexible or coordinated as they used to be, and see bad cartwheels, and muscle cramps as yoga positions don’t work out anymore.
I see people creating things and trying out their talents and whims, and it is kind of inspiring. People are so much more than they let on to others. They have this whole hidden world inside them, and they would probably love to share it, but they just don’t have the nerve. If only they knew how alike and forgiving they all are, and if only I wasn’t a ghost and I could tell them.
At least know that the ghosts are enjoying it, and they think you’re great.

July 18, 2008
So one thing that never gets old is watching people fall down. Not in a way that they injure themselves, but just the inherit clumsiness we all have leftover from the transition to walking upright.
I see people stumble over nothing, try to do too much and get all tangled up, lose their footing on the ice, miss a step and go for a spill down the stairs. Honestly, it never gets old.
It strikes me how most people try to cover up their awkwardness. They pretend that they meant to do it, or jump up and hurry off and make like it never happened. People are so afraid to be human.
The really great thing is when the person that trips themselves up can laugh about it. There are few things as life affirming and joyous as people who can laugh at themselves. They are so comfortable in their own skin that they don’t get embarrassed about things that aren’t really that embarrassing in the first place. So you might as well laugh at yourself, and know that the ghosts are laughing with you.

September 6, 2008
One of the things you have time to do when you’re dead is go over all the decisions you made while you were alive, and second guess them. Not that you don’t spend most of your life doing the same thing, but when you’re dead, there’s no chance of going back and fixing them or making amends. When you’re alive, you can change course, you can repair the damage you’ve done. What you don’t want to do is spend your life caught in inaction, and throwing away the chance to control your own destiny, good or bad.
Eventually you just end up going in circles, and you get frozen. You lose trust in yourself, and you overthink even the simplest of choices. You get to the point where you are afraid to make a decision, so you sit there, like a mute statue until the moment passes you by.
As a ghost, I still get to make some decisions, but none of them really have much effect on me or the world around me. I can decide how I feel about something, but I can’t really talk to anyone about it. I can decide where I float or what I see, but it really doesn’t matter if I’m there or if I see it or not. I am completely ineffectual, and nothing I think really matters at all.
So if you are alive and reading this, make a decision, even if it might be the wrong one. Someday you will be just like me, impotent and drifting in the wind, lamenting the past, and making any decision will be of no consequence to anyone. Why be that now when you don’t have to be? You will have a whole eternity to curse the fact that you didn’t make a choice at all, and trust me, you will.