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Can You Really Make a Difference

I often hear people ask, myself included, “Can one person really make a difference in this messed up world?” They say: “There are so many issues and problems… What can I do that will make any difference at all?” And “What can one person do?”

There are the waves and there is the wind, seen and unseen forces.  Everyone has these same elements in their lives, the seen and unseen, karma and free will.  ~Kuan Yin

There are the waves and there is the wind, seen and unseen forces. Everyone has these same elements in their lives, the seen and unseen, karma and free will. ~Kuan Yin

At many points in my life I have pondered these very questions. Most times I felt hopeless against the sea of problems our society faces. Hunger, war, poverty, abuses etc. This hopelessness has has lead me to say many times: “There is nothing I can do.” So I try to enjoy life as best as I can until our society comes to a screeching halt, and just pray it doesn’t happen in my lifetime. This works for a little while, but since I’m not really a quitter, more of a giant procrastinator, I always find myself thinking: “there must be something I can do!!”

I guess I could give up my life and move to a poverty stricken portion of the globe. I could help nurture and feed people in need. I could sell all my worldly possessions and donate the money to the poor. I could go down to Washington DC or NYC and hold up signs. I could put on a mask and march on any number of corporations or conglomerates responsible for human suffering. The issue with any of these choices is obvious. I would have to give up my cushy first world life while leaving all of my friends and family behind. “Ok so what’s the big deal?” you ask. Well maybe these people depend on me for friendship, laughs and company. So I may fill a void somewhere in the world but create another by leaving. (I am not in anyway knocking people who do this by the way. Wish there was more people in the world who did those things!)

After pondering this on and off for years I finally had a breakthrough! An “eureka” moment. I realized that we are all connected, the whole world! I have heard people say it, but dismissed it as hippie talk. Now I finally understand what people meant. By gaining this perspective I realized that for me (everyone is different) running out to different parts of the world to try to help out would be like plugging holes in another part of a sinking ship while water is getting in right next to me. We are all in the same boat, the whole world, so you can actually help by plugging holes all around you.

Back to my realization. It has to do with the concept of Karma. Karma is often misunderstood in our society. People say: “Don’t do bad things because it will come back and something bad will happen to you.” This is partly true but not the whole story. My realization came to me while writing comedy of all things. I was writing about my time in the Marines Corps. I used to keep my hair a little long for a marine, just within regulations, and my superiors really gave me a hard time. The USMC is all about conformity. At the time I wasn’t very empathetic, but now looking back years later I realize the reason they were giving me a hard time. It’s not because they were “Dicks with no lives” as my 20 year old self might suggest, but it’s because they themselves had superiors. I’m sure I made my superiors look bad in the eyes of there bosses. This made me wonder if they had ever pissed off their superiors when they were younger, and now they were experiencing the negative feelings they themselves had caused someone else to feel years earlier. Classic Karma. But then I went deeper. I thought of the vicious cycle continuing throughout the years. I envisioned it as waves in a the ocean. I really do not know the source of the first waves. however I could see the effects of the current waves thrashing about just as a stormy sea effects a ship. And the ships movement in turn creating more waves.

I then applied this analogy to the whole world and the whole of human existence. Imagining we are all in one big ocean. There are waves thrashing about right now that we are all effected by. Not many people really know or care about the true source of these waves. Most only focus on the current wave hitting them or perhaps what caused this wave in the first place. Nothing beyond that is very important to them.

Looking at it in this manner I realized there is something I can do!! I can try my hardest to be non reactive to the negative energy I encounter. I broke down it down like this: think of waves in the ocean as negativity and calm flat ocean as positivity. When you have a negative experience try not to let it effect you to the point where you release more negativity of your own. This would only create more waves. If instead you are non reactive you can absorb these waves and create calm flat ocean. By taking this simple step you can undo years of negative energy in an instant. Here is an example. Think of getting cut off on traffic. You may get angry and yell at the person, speed up and cut them off. Lets rewind here a little bit. Why did this person cut you off in the first place? Maybe they had a fight with their spouse? Why did they fight with their spouse? Maybe their spouse had a rough day at work? Why did they have a rough day at work? Maybe their boss was mean or condescending to them. Who knows how far back you can trace this wave of negativity? Hours? Days? Months? Years even?

When this wave comes across your path in the form of being cut off in traffic. You can actually stop this wave. If you are non reactive and just smile(I’m not saying it’s easy, takes a lot of practice) you can actually take that wave of negativity off this earth for good! This may not seem like a lot, just one wave in a turbulent sea full of them, but there is no telling where that wave was headed. Who knows what bad thing you may have prevented.

This may also help eliminate the other mis-interpretation of karma in our society. Which is people doing good things only because they want good things to happen to them. Yes, I will take it, but it’s selfish. Sometimes bad things will still continue to happen to these people and eventually they may give up. They are in it for the wrong reason, and are only trying to help themselves. When you view at it as helping “all of humanity as a whole” you may relieve some of the pressure of self gratification.

In conclusion, YES, you can make a difference in our world. Try to be conscious of every decision you make. Think: “How will this decision effect people around me?” Be non reactive to negativity and watch it dissipate around you. Try to be more empathetic and understand why people are spewing out negative waves. You can make a game of it: See how many waves you can dissipate before you actually let one effect you. Don’t get discouraged… remember even Jesus (if he existed)lost his temper. Whether you believe in him or not I believe the story of Jesus loosing his temper was Inserted (or included) in the bible to remind us that we are all human and we make mistakes. We must learn to move on and hone our craft of dissipation.

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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in Karma, Uncategorized

 

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The Dave Chappelle Debackle in Hartford CT

I was at the show and I don’t think the blame can be squarely placed on the crowd or Chappelle. It was about 70% crowd 30% Chappelle fault wise. People who are quick to blame the comedian don’t realize how tough it is to try to talk over people and there was a constant barrage of people screaming and yelling out comments. Also remember there were several thousand people there so it’s not as if there were only one or two bad apples. I was thoroughly annoyed with the people who wouldn’t shut up. He was nice about it for the first few times and some people just didn’t get the hint. It is like they were calling his bluff and did not believe we would stop his performance. Every one around me was silent except for whispers where they were expressing there frustration with the crowd.

The 30% blame I place on Chappelle is I believe it could have been possible for him to muscle through and get the show going.Although if he didn’t feel like talking over people’s constant screaming that is his choice. It is possible that he is such a good performer he will only give you the best or nothing. I guess we will never know CT. This is only my opinion and guess what? We all are entitled to our own. If you disagree with me I respect that as well, this is just how I feel 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

The Lyrics are Rather Controversial…. Or They Were

Maybe it’s is because I am getting older, but music just doesn’t seem to be the same these days. I remember being excited to hear my favorite artists were releasing a new album, song or even video. The internet wasn’t the force it is today so we mostly heard about it on MTV or in magazines. Better still we would go to the local record store and be pleasantly surprised to see a new CD (or Cassette lol) by our favorite group, band or rapper. I still remember the smell of a brand new tape or CD as I opened the package. You could slap that into your radio and listen to the whole thing. I remember memorizing all the words to my favorite songs and how great i felt when I got them right!

Times have changed and now that I am older it seems something about music has changed. I Don’t feel the same excitement and honestly can’t remember the last time I was excited about new music. Maybe to you this statement doesn’t sound that odd because we all get older, and identify less with current music as this happens. The thing to remember here is that I am a DJ! I spend a minimum of 3 nights a week playing music for crowds so I can earn a living. So if anyone should feel excitement about new music it should be me!

I spend a lot of time, thought and effort pondering why I feel this way. Through all this examination I have come up with a few possible suspects on why I feel the way i do about current music.  Could it be my age and that I identify less with the music. I very seriously considered this several times. I came to the conclusion that this couldn’t be the issue. After several hours, over countless days of couple of years of putting serious thought into this I stumbled upon a conclusion through a newer type of music…. Dub step.

When I was first introduced to Dub Step Music I must admit I was not a fan. So at first this seemed to further my hypothesis of “I was getting old and didn’t relate to the music.” As time went on, however, my opinion changed. Like any good DJ I would play this hideous music if it is what the crowd wanted. After a short time I started to feel something. Keeping an open mind, as I always try to do, I very quickly began to feel the music and respond positively to the energy. After I finally admitted to myself that I liked Dub Step I came to the realization that it couldn’t be my age that was giving me the disconnect with other forms of music, mainly Hip-Hop and Rock.

This was a great discovery for me and it made me focus on the other suspect in my self investigation. This suspect or should I say these suspects I am referring to are “The Lyrics.” I have said for a long time that lyrics aren’t what they used to be. I remember when i was younger people asking me why I liked a certain band or rap group I always answered “the Lyrics” first.

Why should lyrics matter that much anyway? If you have a “Hot” beat does it really matter? I guess that depends on who you ask. Even though I was conscious about my love for lyrics I never really realized how paramount lyrics were and still are to me. It wasn’t until I really examined this issue. Even in writing this piece it has become more apparent to me and I have made some revelations that I will share with you.

To talk about this topic is to talk about society in general. Society is ever evolving which changes music, fashion and art. A great example of this is the 60’s. This was a decade marked by civil disobedience, government corruption and social change. When I listen to the music of this era I feel all of this. As I sing the words and feel the music flow through me transporting me back to those times. Depending on the song it also makes me think of current events such as war and corruption but also love, harmony and the striving for peace.

Skipping ahead to the 80’s and the development of Rap Music we see great change as well. Most Rap groups of the late 80’s were talking about their environment. They would speak of the problems they saw around them. By doing this, knowingly or not, they shed light on what most “Middle Class” Americans either had no clue about or chose to ignore. I will focus on two groups who were as different as night and day. these groups were Public Enemy and N.W.A.

N.W.A., which stands for Niggas With Attitudes, was a group of west coast rappers that included most famously Easy E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. They talked about their environment in a way that had not been successfully done until that point. It was considered “Gangster Rap” and critics scorned them for glorifying that lifestyle. It was really no different than movies such as: “Scarface” or “Good Fellas.” There may have been some glorifying going on, but there were also lessons to be learned as well as messages being spread about what was really going on in some American Streets. Whether what they talked about was actually true or fiction didn’t really matter. It didn’t matter because they were mirroring what was happening on a daily basis on the streets of L.A. and most likely many major cities across the U.S. They spoke of gangs, drugs, guns, robbery, prostitution, etc in ways that made you understand just how one could get caught up in all of it. A few years later some movies came out such as “Boyz in Da Hood” “South Central” and “Menace 2 Society”(Just to name a few) which really gave a visual reference to what was going on and what was being depicted in this music

Public Enemy on the other hand was from the east coast. It included Chuck D, Professor Griff, Terminator X, and of course Flavor Flav. They were equally as competent when it came to shedding light on social issues. Their focus was more political however. Where N.W.A. was speaking of symptoms of an illness, Public Enemy was speaking about the illness itself… Inequality! I speak of Class inequality which is easily and conveniently mistaken for racial inequality. Public Enemy understood this and shed light on all levels of inequality whether it be in politics, war, movies and especially music. I remember memorizing lyrics and it gave me chills speaking them… That is power! I didn’t realize then why I got chills or why I felt so empowered, but I have a good idea today why I felt that way.

Getting back to the evolution of society. It seems that for whatever reason (you can draw your own conclusion here) lyrics have went from artists reporting on problems in there community and social issues to talking about their accumulation of materialistic objects and wealth. I’m not putting the blame on the artists themselves. if I had a new Bentley I would want to sing about it too. i am simply pointing out the change in lyrical content over the years.

How does this tie into how music makes a person feel? Well it’s actually quite simple when you think about it. It really relates to money and materialistic pursuits. A majority of people believe happiness is attained by accumulation of wealth. I wrote about this in an earlier piece entitled “Money = Happiness?”  Yes it may feel good to accumulate wealth (I wouldn’t know). I have heard it leaves you empty inside and you are never truly happy as it is never enough. I do, however, have experience with plenty of happiness even though I am far from wealthy. How did I attain this happiness you may ask? Well basically through love, being a decent person and helping others. You can read the piece I just mentioned on my blog if you want to know more.

I believe this is as simple as comparing the Materialistic world versus Spirituality. For example: When we work hard at our job, make a decent wage and pay bills we feel good. Unfortunately it doesn’t last because we have to go back to work everyday to pay more bills each month. Now let’s say you give out some good advice to a friend. This person follows it and they benefit from your advice. This also makes you feel good. Or say you jump someones car who has a dead battery, or you buy a friend a meal. These are simple actions which make you feel good inside as well. Now imagine you gave clothes to a homeless person or fed a hungry child, how would you feel then? This type of good feeling doesn’t fade away as easily because no one can take that deed away from you. The bank can repossess the car you have been making monthly payments on, and even though it felt good to make those payments, it all goes away if they take the car back. Those are a few small examples, but you get the point.

Now to tie this in with lyrics. I can only speak of my personal experience, but whenever I sing lyrics along in my car, the shower, or a club, I feel good as I’m sure we all do. However, when I sing about “Fighting the Power”(Public Enemy)  or “They don’t gotta burn the books they just remove ’em” (Rage Against the Machine) or even “It was All a Dream” (Notorious B.I.G.) It’s a different kind of good feeling. It is different from the good feeling I get when singing about: “got money, and you know it” (Lil Wayne) or “Beamer, Benz and Bentley, my jeans are never empty”(Lloyd Banks). I really believe this feeling translates to how we feel on a daily basis. When we sing or rap about positives things and changing our community or lives for the better we feel something that can’t easily be taken from us.

I am going to end this by quoting the Wyclef song “It doesn’t matter” Featuring the Rock:

Yo, yo, yo I got fifty Bentley’s in the West Indies

(It doesn’t matter!)

I got a pocket full of cheese and a garden full of trees

(It doesn’t matter!)

I just won the bingo bought a crib in Rio

(It doesn’t matter!)

‘Cause if you ain’t sharin’ people ain’t carin’ Come up in the hood and they take everything you wearin’

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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When Does Help Become Too Much Help?

It’s no secret that most everything I was ever told growing up was a lie (By society not my parents). For example: Salt is bad for you, FALSE. Marijuana kills brain cells, FALSE. Sticking our nose into other countries business and starting or supporting wars is vital to the American way of life…. Hmmmmm this one isn’t so easy to make a judgement on. There are no studies or experiments that could be done in a lab to prove or disprove this. Maybe I can examine a few recent wars to see if I can come up with a good answer.

Take the Vietnam War for example. Itvietnamwar2 was touted as being necessary to fight the spread of communism. We had to help those poor Vietnamese people so they wouldn’t fall under Communist rule. Was it really up to the US what happened over there, or up to the people of Vietnam? One major flaw of this countries government is they act like the “Boss” of the world. We see countries and their conflicts and we automatically assume we know what is best for them. Maybe as a “free” society we should try to help other peoples in their fight for freedom, but do we go too far?

Let’s examine this question by comparing these wars with our own revolution. This is a great example because we were struggling for our freedom while being ruled by a monarch in another country. We felt we could do a better job ourselves. We also reached out to other countries for aid, and one that responded was France. They sent troops, ships and money which proved invaluable and helped us win the war.

Some argued the French could have done more to help us. These arguments were very prevalent during the war as well . Our country wanted more troops, ships and aid from the French. It’s obvious now that we didn’t need anymore, and we made good with what we received.

Now imagine for a moment the french did send more help. Say we convinced the nation of France that this war was imperative to stopping the spread of the British Empire and they should make it there number one goal to drive the British out of the American colonies. If we somehow accomplished this and the French sent the majority of their army and naval fleet to the colonies many would see this as a good thing. They would have a huge force and really give the British a pounding. However, the French armies would be encamped all over the new world. This wouldn’t be the intended purpose, but when the war was over the US would have a huge french army “occupying” American soil.  Now let’s say the French realize their huge investment in this new world and want to protect it. After all they just spent countless lives of troops, ships, money etc ensuring our freedom from the Brits. They may feel they would have to leave troops here to protect us from a follow up British invasion or from another country who may swoop in and try to gain control over our new nation. If this were to happened the French would have wasted all those lives and resources for nothing. How could anyone blame them for wanting to protect their investment.

Think about this for a moment. There would be a standing french army on American soil, here to “protect us” from an unseen enemy. From the point of view of the American people, who just gained their independence from one nation, it would look like the French didn’t trust us with this  new freedom that they had just helped us gain. After awhile of this “occupation” the American people could want to rebel against the French, or the French could try to make us part of the their own Empire. One could compare this scenario to the Iraqi war. At first they greeted us as liberators. Then as we became an occupying force they began to resent and rebel against us.

The point here is there could be such a thing as too much “help”. It’s like that old saying: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he feeds himself for a lifetime.” If our government really wanted to help these countries there may be better ways to go about it. Instead of starting or participating in an all out War we could give them aid, support, and funding. If this isn’t enough to help them gain independence then maybe they are not ready. Maybe it is not their time. Who are we to make that decision? I believe if we do want to give aid or support it should be up to congress however. This way there would be a more representative decision on the part of the American people on who we help and why. Instead of helping a country because they have oil or are strategically important in a region. Of course this would only truly work if you had an uncorrupted system. Which is a whole other story.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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My Take on Political Parties (Open Letter to Dan Carlin)

I invite you yo read my open letter to Dan Carlin who host two podcasts: “Hardcore History” and “Common Sense.” He will be on an upcoming episode of the “Drunken Taoist Podcast” Hosted by Daniele Bolelli so I submited this letter on their forum as a question for Dan.

Dear Dan,

You seem to suffer from a “condition” that allows you to see how future events will unfold. There’s no doubt that you use your knowledge of history as well as great understanding of current events and some good old fashion intuition to do this. My question is with this “condition”(some may call a gift or a curse) do you see the natural progression of where our once great nation is heading? If so is there really anything we can do? Or do you feel by the time the average citizen figures out what is going on it will be too late?

Also related to this topic is something you talk about and I try to promote as well which is the divide in this country between political parties. I find it fascinating that our founding fathers were against parties AND this seems to be the root of our problem today. I believe this proves the knowledge possessed by our founding fathers of people and governmental ideals hold true even up til present times. For the problem is not the parties themselves so much as it is the divide created by these parties. (Get out your tin foil cap)It’s as if a group of monarchs, emperors and dictators had a meeting about where they went wrong in the past. They knew they could hold power for awhile through various methods of tyranny, oppression and fear , BUT eventually the people became disgruntled enough and realized they could rise up and seize power themselves.

I imagine all these rulers in a room and one stands up and yells “eureka!! All we have to do is have to seperate sides take turns ruling. We can have the people vote for which side they want every few years. They will pretend to oppose each other but in reality will support us and our will(the monarchs being the “us”). And just to throw off the people we will use topics such as abortion and gay marriage to really divide them around election time.”

ANYWAYS where I was going with this was: I see a lot of unhappy people that have been gathering, ie the Tea Party. And it seems there is hope for people to “wake up” and see what is happening to their country. BUT I fear that if a republican wins next time around all that will go away just as the anti-war/anti-Bush era stuff did once Obama took office. I was, as I’m sure you were and still are trying to make this known to as many people as possible. The hope I do possess comes from the fact I see more people who are not buying into the 2 party system BS. So having said all that do you feel there are enough people in the “know” to effect anything? Maybe you could do a history show on political parties :))

Thank You for reading this post. You can take your tin foil cap off now, I’m going to keep mine on though. Looking forward to you on the Drunken Taoist Podcast as well as any future episodes of Common Sense and Hard Core History.
Thanks Again,
Brandon Smith
Brandon@comedylol.com
@brandonsmith203 twitter

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Turn the Other Cheek.

Today I am inspired to write a blog entry once again by social media. Two different posts in fact, one very negative and one very positive, such is life. The negative post was bashing all Muslims for the actions of a handful of “so-called” Muslims and the other post was speaking of our rights being taken away and talked of revolution. Reading both post within minutes of each other I was prompted to make a post of my own. The thoughts I wished to convey flowed through me and I quickly realized I could not fit the message in the space provided.

I want to preface this by saying that I do not consider myself a Christian or part of any organized religion for that matter. I was raised Christian and always fascinated by religion and the control on people. I spent much of my time researching other religions and belief systems. Most if not all religions and belief systems have very valid points and are a great guide on how one should live. The problem, however, comes with the different interpretations. I am not here to talk about different religions or the flaws of humans so I will move on.

Getting back the the statuses that inspired me. The main theme which popped into my brain as I read these statements was “Turn the other cheek.” Or as Jesus said: ” But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39

Most people interpret this to mean that you should not seek revenge and if somebody is beating you up you shouldn’t defend yourself. I had an epiphany! What if the message being conveyed was:”Don’t react in a way in which the aggressor is trying to make you react.” This Idea can be applied to many situations but I will use a terrorist attack as an example.

When people plan and carry out a horrific act of terror there is a purpose. Most times they are trying to convey a message or garner a specific response from a group of people. What better way (In their twisted mind) to do it than kill a bunch of innocent people. It certainly grabs media headlines and attention across the the entire globe these days. These “Terrorists” know the normal response to an act of terror in this country is two-fold. One there is a bloody response from our forces(Police, Military or both) and Two freedoms of the American People are usually taken away or threatened. Look at Boston for example after the bombings. The tanks on the street and troops going door to door was, to me, equally if not more frightening then the bombings themselves.

Now back to turn the other cheek. If we agree the terrorists are pulling off these horrific acts to garner a response then what better way to nullify there attack by acting opposite of what they expect. I believe this is a great tactic in any war or confrontation. Why would you ever respond in a way your enemy wants you to. You would play into their hands in effect allowing your enemy to control you. Instead, I suggest, you must gain an understanding of what your enemy wants you to do. Ask yourself why do they want a specific response from you. And if you “turn the other cheek” as Jesus suggests you will destroy their plans.

This is ingenious for a few reasons. It allows us to act from a place of reason and understanding instead of anger. Also it takes away the one true weapon terrorists have which is causing chaos. I am not suggesting we do nothing. I am simply suggesting we do not allow ourselves to act out of fear and anger. For isn’t that what the terrorists want? They want to spread hate, fear and anger. If instead we combat this with patience, love and understanding we can contain the chaos and take away the power the terrorists have to manipulate us.

I know when I talk like this I run the risk of being called a hippie. So before this happens let me explain what I mean. A terrorist is only given power if we let him have it. They want to spread fear, anger and hate. There are several ways we can prevent this from happening. First of all we should not sensationalize the event live on TV. This spreads the most Fear of all. There are ways to report on events without spreading fear.

Second : We should not send drones or planes to bomb other countries in haste. Killing more innocent people to try to kill responsible parties is not the answer.

Third: We shouldn’t turn loose the military on our own soil going door to door trampling citizens rights to catch a suspect. There are certain dangers of living in a free society you must be willing to accept. Not having a military police state to protect you is one of those dangers(insert sarcastic font here).

There are many different ways I can conclude this post. The main theme I want to convey is that the way we handle ourselves as the world’s “Super Power” is not working. All we have to do is open a history book to see what happened to every other great “Super Power” of their time. The way we can “buck” the trend and slow down or stop our decline is with rational acts. Acts from a place of patience and understanding instead of fear and hate. If loosing your freedoms and tanks on our streets is ok with you than that’s fine, if not we must do something.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Money = Happieness?

I am being inspired to write this article today by many people I encounter in my life. Be it through social media posts of unhappiness or complaining I hear from people in “real” life.  So being a good friend/person I inquire about the unhappiness in which I encounter. Most times the answers to my question sound like this: “I wish I had more money” or “I need a man/woman(or both haha).” (Disclaimer: The article I am about to write represents my feelings on the issue, Mostly opinion, common sense, my experiences, what I may have encountered in reading or google-ing late at night. So please take it with a grain of salt and I encourage you to not take my word but do your own research.)Image

I will address the money issue today, but I believe there are parallel underlying issues to both money and finding a mate in the pursuit of happiness. So the question comes down to: “Does money really buy happiness?” The great Comedian Daniel Tosh put it so eloquently when he stated:”Money doesn’t buy happiness?! Uh, do you live in America? ‘Cause it buys a WaveRunner. Have you ever seen a sad person on a WaveRunner? Have you? Seriously, have you? Try to frown on a WaveRunner. You can’t! They’re so awesome, it’s just throttle. People smile as they hit the pier.”

While I admit being on a jetski is AWESOME!! But have you ever went out on a jetski by yourself? It’s only fun for so long. Also depending on where you live summers can be short, and a jetski is no good in the winter. Even worse I have seen many jetskis break while people are riding them causing just as much if not more stress and anger than happiness. So, while that is a hilarious bit by Mr. Tosh, it still doesn’t prove that money buys happiness.

I would like to break down what money actually is or represents. Money represents goods and services. I’ll give you a very basic example of how money came about. A long time ago a farmer may have traded his goods with a trapper for some fur or meat. Because the farmer was so busy with his crops he had no time to hunt just as the trapper had no time to farm. It was a great barter system. Then market place came along where many people would come to barter for goods, but some people also offered services such as dentists or black smiths. So they would trade their services for goods in the market place. As mankind progressed the farmers realized sometimes they didn’t need services right away, but the black smiths still needed to eat. So they would make up chits or I.O.U’s thus allowing the black smiths to eat while the farmer could later redeem his chit for services as they were needed. Sounds all nice and dandy!!

Well as the world expanded and empires were formed the market place got much bigger. So coins were formed out of precious metals, ie gold and silver, to represent these goods and services. Then when coins were not enough paper money was invented to represent the precious metals which in turn represented goods and services. Still with me? Today the paper money does not represent gold or silver. We are on a fiat currency system where money is created out of thin air. it is supposed to represent goods and services, however there is a growing imbalance in the system. (For this article I will not dive deeper into that issue, but if you find it interesting please research it and/or comment about it!) So if we break it down even further we can surmise that people who lust after and/or hoard money are actually lusting after and/or hoarding a made up currency which represents goods and services. Which in my opinion is not only terrible for the market place, but not healthy for the human animal.

Now happiness. How important is happiness? Well it’s so important that the founding fathers guaranteed us the pursuit of happiness in the constitution right after Life and Liberty!! Happiness by itself is the most under rated requirement to modern living. Whenever people say: “Be Happy” or “Don’t Worry be Happy” they are often looked at as if they are Hippies. Happiness in today’s society is closely attached to material possessions, money or other people you may desire. This is largely due to the conditioning that we endure from the time we are born. This conditioning usually comes in the form of advertising. We are constantly bombarded with messages to buy and acquire “things.” Simply put happiness in this country is tied in with ownership of new cars, cell phones, iPads, clothing, shoes, etc. I often see the term “Retail Therapy” thrown around. Which when broken down literally means you are achieving happiness through acquiring objects. This is also seen heavily on TV. Generally speaking, no thought is ever seriously given to achieving happiness just for happiness sake.

I admit that I am not immune to this system and I have a closet full of clothes and shoes as well as the newest gadgets to prove it. Yes, it does make me feel happy to buy new things. This happiness fades quickly, however, especially when the latest version of that iPhone or Car comes out on the market! When I actually take time to stop and think about it there is no comparison between this happiness and the happiness that I achieve through healthier avenues. A simple example of this is spending time with true friends and laughing. The kind of laugh that is uncontrollable and you just can’t help but to do. When you are basically crying and can’t breath. This costs no money and has many times the benefits of shopping. How come we are never taught this in school?? There should be a comedy class taught where people are encouraged to laugh and try to make others laugh. Think about how good you feel when you make others laugh by saying or doing something funny. That is true happiness which cannot be bought for any amount of money, precious metals, goods or services!!

In closing I would like to say that deep down most people realize happiness is the key to life, but then life happens. We quickly get wrapped up in the events of our lives. We take our situations and lives too seriously, which defeats the whole purpose of truly enjoying life! So what can we do? Well first off you can start out by laughing more. I try to find the humor in most situations that I am presented with in life. Sometimes the funniest moments are born from the most serious situations. Secondly you can smile more! Yes it is contagious. Lastly to gain more happiness we must let go of fear and hate(yes like a Jedi!). Fear and Hate consume happiness and could consume your life. Next time you feel afraid of something stop and assess the situation(if you can). Say you see a spider, what are you really afraid of? You are 1,000 times bigger than it silly!! Stop it already 🙂 Seriously though whenever you feel hate or fear toward someone stop and ask why do I hate this person? What did they do to me? Most times you have no real concrete reason other than:”well that’s what I was told to do.”

Thank You for reading this, I hope it helps if even in the tiniest way. Comments and discussions are encouraged 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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