Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Black Friday Or Is It Black Everyday?

It's the day after Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, Black Friday and now, what's becoming Black Thanksgiving Day. I'm sure you're aware of the numerous accounts of violence across the country involving street level fights in the middle of stores like Walmarts, stabbings, hair pulling, patrons using pepper spray and tazers and even fights over panties at Victoria's Secret. What we're seeing here is the basest level of human behavior, the "Dark Side" if you will. This is America, world. The bastion of hope, light, freedom and civility in a world that is rife with violence and evil and darkness. It simply proves that being the wealthiest society on the planet Earth doesn't remove our basic animal instinct of "survival of the fittest."

Now, to be fair, these are, of course, isolated incidents reported by the press (electronic and print) for sensationalism. Good, light, happy news doesn't sell ads and commercials and it doesn't attract readers and viewers. The most popular adult TV shows and movies are based either around crime, murder, mayhem and violence including terrorism or they are over exaggerated situation comedies that typically stretch way beyond reality. Gone are the days of the 'Father Knows Best," "Donna Reed," "Ozzie and Harriet" and "Leave It To Beaver" shows when the plots were based on the humor in real life events and the families, though probably portrayed as more functional than the average American family of the time, still tended to lift the standards and values of the viewers.

But, in a country where virtually everything is over the top, the kind of shows I cited don't attract viewers any longer. Is there any doubt why programs like WWF, boxing, no holds barred, kick boxing, ever more violent football games at all levels, hockey, pile-on infield slug-fests at baseball games and even attacking an ice skating championship competitor draw bigger and bigger audiences? Even animated TV shows, once the realm of children (violent even in the early days - Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote, as one example), are full of more blood and violence. And, we certainly don't want to forget our beloved video games. The vast majority of the best-selling video games for all the platforms involve violence of some kind, but usually the basest forms.

Sociopaths And Psychopaths

So, we are taught that humans are the most intelligent life form on this planet. I wouldn't dispute that. However, whether you are a creationist or an evolutionist as far as the origin of the human species, it doesn't matter. All you have to do is read the Bible's historic account of humanity from the time of Adam and Eve, the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and the serpent (interestingly, a reptile) and it is full of human treachery, violence and murder. All this from a "loving God." On the other hand, evolutionists believe that humans descended from the earliest single-cell life form through the fish, amphibians and, for that part of the history of evolution, the most intelligent species, reptiles, which include the extinct dinosaurs of all kinds. That is why the human brain is still described as having a lizard or reptilian segment that has mutated and grown into what is now one of the most mystifying studies.

I'm not a biologist, anthropologist or psychologist. I've had, during my early, required and voluntary college education, the typical courses in biology, some minor touches of anthropology and a minimal amount of formal psychology. However, over my 68+ years of life in this evolving society, I've observed and learned a lot about this human animal. I contend that every human alive has some form of, what we now label as, personality disorder. In other words, there are no perfect human beings. Those who accept and believe in various religious doctrines will refute me and tell me that Jesus was perfect because he was the Son of God and you're welcome to believe that. Historians are finding all kinds of proof that refute his perfection. I further contend that every one of us has some sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies and they are seated deeply in that reptilian brain.

Thankfully, 90% of the human species is able to sublimate those traits and we seldom resort to them. However, according to one person from an article I read this morning, about 1 in 10 of us will display either the sociopathic or the psychopathic part of our personalities. I contend that these are the people that walk among us everywhere we go whether in our neighborhoods, shopping malls, workplace and schools to mention a few. They manifest these personality traits and accompanying behaviors in a variety of ways. These are the people that are reported on by the media in the Black Friday violence in the stores.

The worst of them, and thankfully, only a very small percentage of the 10% I noted, are the mass murderers, serial murderers, rapists, war criminals, child and spouse abusers, animal abusers, etc. These people have no conscience and no remorse for their actions. Some actually gain personal pleasure from their heinous acts. Perhaps we are witnessing the next level up from the most base level I just described in this new "sport" being termed by the news media as the "Knock Out Games." This is where someone will walk up to a complete, unsuspecting stranger and attempt to knock them unconscious with a single punch to the head. There is no other motive or intention for the attack like robbery or revenge.

Certainly, some of these 10% of the population channel these tendencies in positive ways, although, they are capable of changing the positive to the negative in a heartbeat. I contend that some people and certainly not all, men and women alike, who choose careers in law enforcement, firefighting, combat military and especially the special forces like the Navy Seals, Green Berets, Delta Force, etc., CIA and other undercover covert operating agencies and similar are such sociopaths and psychopaths. These are the people who feel justified in their actions involving violence, murder and mayhem (like snipers and assassins) because they are acting for the common good. However, we have seen these people (police officers, combat soldiers and so on) lose control to their darker side in an instant. They overstep their authority and boundaries and usually the law they are supposedly upholding and inflict their wrath on innocent and unsuspecting people. These are the people who can go to work as a police officer and inflict pain on others and come home at night and play with their children, help them with their homework and make passionate love to their spouses. These are the soldiers who go on multiple deployments into combat missions and come home without suffering from PTSD or other psychological injuries of war. Those "warriors" who return and do have to deal with PTSD and other psychological issues are typically from the other 90% of the population.

Still others are those who are fine, genteel, upright citizens . . . until they get behind the wheel of a car in a heavy traffic situation. Then horns sprout out of their head, fire comes from their nostrils, steam comes out of their ears, their vocabulary changes and their car becomes a weapon of mass destruction. You know who I mean. You see them all the time. But, worse yet, you may actually be one of them. Unfortunately, I know that I have those tendencies and I am aware of it. I have to work hard to control it. My best defense is to avoid heavy traffic and congestion situations whenever possible. But, since I am aware of it, I have created any number of personal methods to maintain my composure. So the worst I get is to utter some profanity in the seclusion of my own vehicle. I don't even use hand gestures as some friends I know often do.

So, Who Are We Anyway?

So, this is who we are. For the most part, we are gentle, kind and civil people. Some of us are very creative with all kinds of gifts and talents that we, sometimes, exploit for our own pleasure and fulfillment. Often we don't because we're too busy in our harried lives. It's those of us who are too busy living lives of quiet desperation who don't have the time. But, inside us is this reptilian brain - or the guilt and evil from the "Original Sin" for those religious oriented readers. Do we just release our frustration, anger, anxiety, depression, stress and whatever else you want to call it on Black Friday and the other days around Black Friday? Or is it becoming Black Everyday in our society? I submit that our society is breaking down under the pressure, the very society we idealize by calling it The American Dream. We are constantly bombarded by marketing messages that make us feel inadequate if we don't have the latest, greatest of this, that or the other. It seems like few people are happy with what they have. They always seem to need more to be happy only to find that when they have more they still aren't happy with what they have. Are we truly allowing the government and the huge corporate culture to dictate what "The American Dream" is and channeling us down the path (to perdition) where they want us to go and are actually stealing our personal dreams and choices of what truly makes us happy?

Here is a quote I took from the article I read this morning. I'm going to give you the link to the entire article so you can read everything in context. But, this makes so much sense to me and quite accurately defines why I HAD to change my lifestyle and the direction I was going:

What does a sheeple’s daily life consist of?

In most cases, he lives what he believes to be the American dream. He wakes up in the morning swelling with superficial concerns of personal gain, scheming ways in which he can raise his perceived stature among the other sheeple around him. He then travels to his place of employment, usually a job he hates, in order to accumulate enough wealth (scraps from the plates of government and corporate financiers) to buy all the “things” he assumes everyone else wants. In the process, he pawns off his children to state-run schools designed to crush their spirits; and he becomes estranged from his spouse, who begins to forget why they ever got married in the first place. He returns home physically and emotionally drained, knowing that he did nothing worthwhile with his time, only to sit apathetically in front of his television for a few hours being bombarded with cancerous marketing propaganda and barely talking with the family he tells himself he works so hard for.

Think about it. Think of the pitch-black void that his life has become. Think of all the abandoned dreams, all the missed opportunities for experience and joy, all the moments of reflection and self-education that were missed because he was “too busy” trying to elevate himself within the ranks of a heartless collective.

This quote is from an article I read this morning titled "The Dark-Side Psychology Behind Holiday Madness" by Brandon Smith, the founder of the Alternative Market Project. It's an interesting read. Click on the article title to go to the article. Smith also discussed some Freudian and Jungian research and psychology that further explains our behavior with regard to the growing tendency toward the dark-side of Black Friday and holiday "madness." In this quote by Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, you can see how this psychology has been applied to manipulate the masses:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. … We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. … In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.

So, what we are seeing in human behavior is actually being manipulated by just a relatively few people, invisible from public view, who gain all the benefit from this control. Even the government that is supposedly "of the people, by the people and for the people," according to Abraham Lincoln, is controlled, and I'd even venture to say, "owned" by these invisible people who control the wires.

Freedom - Real or Imagined?

So, here are a few questions to ponder. Do you ever wonder why, if you're "living free," so many people will say they envy you (or me), but usually follow up with saying something like, but I couldn't do that or I'm too entrenched in the life I already have to change? Do you wonder why those same people do their best to fight "home-schooling" rather than allow children to learn freely as opposed to the state sanctioned education? Is there any wonder why we're falling lower and lower in the world rankings as far as education in the U.S.? Do you really have to ask why the mass of the public wants to eliminate certain liberties for those who choose to travel and live on the road labeling us as vagrants or panhandlers?

Freedom is real! Unfortunately, due to those invisible people manipulating everything through the puppets we call government, those who choose to live free, individualists, if you will, are considered rogues, rebels, mavericks and in some cases, even criminals because they (we) refuse to settle down and be under the governments controls (called laws, regulations, ordinances, etc.) and microscope and conform to everything "They" want us to do and be good "Sheeple."

I'm not talking politics here. I'm talking about something that goes way beyond politics and government. This system has existed since humans and their reptilian brains (or the brain of the serpent in the Garden of Eden) realized they could reign over the growing masses by learning what makes them tick and how to manipulate that. Then, by implanting an ever-growing number of messages in their brains, they could direct the masses down the paths that were being chosen for them by these invisible people. If you were born in or around the mid 1940's as I was and grew up during the 50's and 60's, you can easily see the changes that have been accelerating since that time. The printing press already had a long-standing impact on people's minds. Radio was already well established. But, then television came on the scene (remember the Veg-O-Matic) and brought with it even more influence and it grew even more influential with cable and satellite TV. Of course, the Internet has probably had the largest impact of all the new ways to influence people.

My final point is that I don't think I'm far off base in saying that The American Dream is not the individual's dream anymore. The dream is being consciously and subconsciously channeled and embedded in the minds of the masses so they now resemble the first quote, above, from Brandon Smith. Unfortunately, with each succeeding generation this is being more and more accepted as THE way of life and THE American Dream. Most of the individualists I encounter are from the 40's through the end of the 70's. Those born after 1980 have less, little or no idea of what freedom and living free is really about. It's very refreshing when, on occasion, I meet a young person in their 20's and 30's who gets it and chooses individualism over marching down the well worn path with the masses of sheeple. What will this country and this world look like in another two generations? I shudder to think. 

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