Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Along Cometh my Dating/Relationship Indictment...

Being an observer is so much fun.  Except for the parts where you find yourself crying, because you never do anything yourself.  As an observer we trade tears for one of the most precious gems our great green menagerie can offer - wisdom.  Not that I have any.  I have my own perspective, though.  For some my perspective might be wisdom, for others meh and for the rest total bollocks.

Oi vey, fellows!  Something I have spent way too much time observing is the dynamic and chemistry between two lovers or potential lovers.  My observations are very much limited to heterosexual relations, I'm afraid, and virtually none of my own.  Sorry LGBT friends.

Anyway, I find an injustice in the accepted norm.  Men are expected to pursue a lady whom he vested his eyes upon from afar, a la The Notebook.  The idea is not to get to know the woman for who she really is -  what scares her, what makes her happy, what her hopes for this life is.  Oh no, this information is irrelevant.  You must scout out the most attractive female and try to gain her number.  No, not the one that you would be able to share a laugh with on a rainy day or the one that stays loyal to you in spite of outside pressure.   Simply the one who makes you tingle on the inside and in certain places, actually.  You must garner the little bit of self-confidence you have left and go up and face certain rejection from the female who is supposed to play hard to get.  No, she is not allowed to give this brave man a chance, because she has been told to be an ice queen. Men are pigs, the only want to have sex with you.  Well, if he approaches you in a bar, he probably wants that. 

Then comes the pursuit.  Honesty and practicality is not important.  It's all about which man can display the biggest fireworks.  The one who can organize a flashmob for her to feel like she is in a musical.  The one who can put the biggest Carbon-Carbon-Carbon.... ring upon her finger. 
Why are we humans so attached to gestures and signs?  Actually, why are we so attached to and glamorise one-off events such as the proposal, my training for a two week Olympic Games or a few hour long wedding ceremony?  Why are we not more interested in what comes after the pursuit?  The companionship of having someone who will join you on a year-long roadtrip on a moment's notice.  The peace of knowing someone will love you regardless of whether you lost your face when your workplace took fire.  The joy of waking up next to your special person for the rest of your life.  Why don't we romanticise companionship as we do romance and dating? 

You know what also sucks about being a male?  Unless your significant other or girlfriend is Victoria Secret level hot, you are an absolute failure.  You may be the most successful accountant in your company's history, the man who spends all his free time working at charities, the man who still keeps in touch with his family and the one who is intelligent, but have an average looking lady and you immediately a "Beta Male".  You can be the biggest scum on earth, but if you have a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covergirl vainly by your side, you are hailed and revered by all men. 

Why does physical appearance matter so much to us men?  Why do friends, family and society pressure us to believe that we are subordinate men, lest our women are beautiful? 
What if I love her for 1000 more reasons than the fleeting vanity?

 Why must we remain quiet about the way we feel?  Saying you feel a certain emotion when being in someone's presence is not saying "You are now bound to me and struggling against the bondage will only hurt you."  It is merely me not trying to hold a false front in front of you. 

Why are men always expected to lead and to pursue?
Why can women not stop wishing upon a star hoping that mr. Right will coming swooping into their lives?  Can't you just go out and look for him yourself?
Then when the pursuit is over, then the man's work is over.  Oh you, got to put a ring on her finger and now you are released of all duties you previously had towards her.  Now the missus needs to do everything.
Crash boom bang, another divorce, because we have been indoctrinated by society to believe that there should lopsided efforts in the whole spectrum of a relationship.  Man does everything at the start and woman does everything towards the dénouement.

Goodness me, the system is broken.  Society wants men to vainly chase after the most attractive female in his tribe and the woman to only accept the attempts of the flashiest man.  No thought to children and companionship.  No wonder you don't have anything to talk about anymore.  You though infatuation will last forever. 
It does not.
 Love, however, does. 

Forgiveness and acceptance go a long way.

My soul shall ever wander the lone trail, until it leads to whom I can call mine

Even then shall I wander
But not solitary

Equality in pursuit, courtship and love is all I really want.

Goodness this was quite poorly written
I'll have to revist

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street is a Must-See/Read for the Sheltered, Ignorant and Naïve

Instead of doing homework tonight, I decided to indulge in a movie that has recently created quite the stir in popular culture.  I was discouraged from watching The Wolf of Wall Street by my bible study group.  The reasoning was that a Christian should not consume that type of obscene material.  Therefore I had to watch the movie.
The warnings you were told about all the sex scenes, swearing in nearly every sentence, explicit use of drugs, domestic violence and even possible animal abuse, I can confirm, are all true.  I would imagine that the most puritanical and conservative amongst us might have stormed out of the movie theatre after the first 5 minutes, fuming at the portrayal of sex, drugs, female subjugation and swear words all in one scene.  For those who left on a moral premise, they made a good move, because it wouldn't change much for the remaining 3 hours of the movie.  Numerous scenes shamelessly depict massive orgies, fully nude women and domestic violence.  The main characters were depicted many times snorting cocaine or binging on some other illicit drug.  Some would argue that the film took the depiction of "the real Wall Street" way too far. 
They might have a case.  I, however, found the explicit material to be suitable for the film.  As a Christian myself, I understand the warnings thrown about by believers that, at the very least, fellow believers should not watch the movie.  As children of God we should strive to be perfect and holy like God the Father is perfect and holy.  Fair enough, I will agree with that, but is avoiding the things that happen in front of our very eyes the right way to go about the situation?  If we continue to live a life where we avoid all forms of evil we might just as well delete ourselves from this world!  A film like The Wolf of Wall Street reminds us that evil is all around us.  Personally I knew that there are some things done on Wall Street that is a blight for humanity such as money laundering, corruption and lobbyists from big corporations courting politicians to influence legislation in favour of said corporations and thus only furthering the destructive overly-capitalistic machine.  I only knew this because I gave an ear to non-mainstream news sources that are actually focussed on delivering the public the facts and not merely telling the public what the government or corporations want them to hear. Now there are many ill informed people out there who actually think that the people working on Wall Street are suited and booted (well, they are well-dressed, I shall concede) professionals wanting to make the most money they possibly can from your investment.  It's exactly from ignorant, naïve people like that that these stockbrokers and corporations make their money.  Don't be an idiot.  Most of those people don't really care a thing for you, your money, your mortgage or your children's college tuition.  All they want is to line their own pockets and buy shinier and faster cars.  And they call themselves professionals?  Ha, show me a true professional that engages in as much debauchery as in The Wolf of Wall Street and I will show you a snowball thriving on the surface of the sun. 
Of course, I have over-generalised by implying that every single person that draws a breath on Wall Street is greedy and selfish.  Of course, there are some magnanimous men and women, greater persons that I can ever hope to be, who wander through that famous street.  My point is that people, especially really sheltered people, should watch the film and see what happens out there in the "real world".  I am an optimist myself, but even I know that not everyone out there wants to be your friend.  For some people, when they see even a single greenback in your wallet they want to get their hands on that and for what?  To spend it on lavish holidays in some exotic European destination to please their vain friends and brown-nosing employees, that's what they are going to do.
If watching the movie would cause too much of a moral stir for you, luckily the movie is based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort.  Read those memoirs and find the even more gruesome details of life in the most all-or-nothing business in the world - stockbroking.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

An Incovenient Youth: The Generation Y Situation, A Defence of Our Hope

So, I believe I am qualified to write about this topic.  Attached to this document will be a 3 page list of all the degrees I have received whilst on full scholarship exclusively at Ivy League schools. 

No, sorry I do not have any of those I am afraid, unless high school counts, yay?  I am a member of Generation Y.  Born in the sterling year of 1994, South Africa reached full democracy, Forrest Gump won Best Picture at the Oscars and Justin Bieber was born.  Wait, scrap that, 1994 wasn't such a great year. 

On a more serious note though, we as Generation Y have received quite a great deal of flak as many Generation Y kids are entering the labour force of their respective countries.  Laziness, disloyalty, lack of commitment, disrespectfulness, etc. fill up the ever growing clamour cloud above disgruntled CEO's heads.  We are known as the entitled generation, the generation that won a trophy at a sporting event even if you finished dead stone last, the generation that fills in bubbles in school instead of writing something profound.  Anti-intellectualism runs rampant in mainstream media where we glorify people for doing unlawful deeds for a fleeting moment of light on CNN's headlines, whilst great inventions such as 3-d printing is still unknown to many people. 

"We are the middle children of history, man, no purpose or place" as Tyler Durden said well in the movie that must not be named.  It seems almost as though the period where a child learns to fly has extended well beyond the historical 18 (or 21) when you suddenly became an adult.  Record numbers of young adults still live with their parents at 25.  Youth unemployment is high across the whole world.  A culture of entitlement, procrastination and ignorance plagues my brethren and sisters.  Older generations like to point to this dark triad as the reason for Generation Y's struggle to adapt to society.  You can't really blame them, because for many Generation Y kids the dark triad is a reality.  Older generations need to realise, however, that the dark triad is not the cause of Generation Y's struggle, but rather the symptoms of far deeper and wide reaching problems. 

To address the issue of entitlement, Generation Y was born into the probably the greatest era mind kind has ever been in.  Wealth and prosperity is possible for any person regardless of your background, every living person on earth is guaranteed unalienable human rights, universal social justice has been as close to realised as it has ever been in human history, literacy is almost universal, life expectancies are through the roof and our connectivity to other people is faster and more convenient than ever before.  All the technological, scientific, engineering and societal advances that mankind has made to this point was basically presented to Generation Y on a silver platter.  We were born knowing that all the societal safety nets are in place in case we stumble.  We live in a day and age where few things we do truly is risky.  If we break our leg, a doctor can fix it.  If we miss rent payments, we can live in a homeless shelter.  Civilisation has grown so mighty that people have nothing to drive them.  As far as human motivation goes, fear is the absolute strongest form of motivation.  If you know that mommy and daddy will indefinitely care for you, what reason do you really have to go out and discover the world for yourself?  This is why a disproportionate amount of startup businesses in the US are established by foreign immigrants.  A child that faced a life of struggling to till the land for survival in Kenya has far stronger motivation and reason to rise from his/her bedstead than one who never had to work a day in his/her life.  Our educators, parents, governments and society failed miserably to give us reason to get up out of our comfortable beds to endure the grind.  We must give purpose and reason to the lives of Generation 2K and younger Generation Y members.  "We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives." once again Durden highlights the issue.

As far as procrastination goes every generation must have struggled with this.  In the society of today the issue is possibly stronger.  From the day we are born we are placed in a culture of quick-access.  Fast food, fast cars, fast internet, fast entertainment, fast relationships.  Instant gratification is the only way for some people.  The wonderful value of delayed gratification may have been a weapon in our parents' child rearing arsenal, but society's message runs contrary to this.  In the media we are shown people that are already successful, never told the decades of hardship and failure they had to endure to be where they are now.  We see these successful people and think our own success should come quickly.  A little bit of effort and we'll be rock stars!  We end up procrastinating on the real grind that gets you to a place of success and are perplexed by the lack of progress.  We give up and seek the next fad that might bring a passing moment of adrenaline.  Stronger emphasis needs to be put on teaching youths the glory of the grind.  Crashing your car into a tree whilst high on hallucinogens should not be the stories that litter CNN's headlines.  Stories of struggle and overcoming those hurdles should be what drives media.  Children will then realise that purposeful living is what makes you esteemed in the eyes of others, not temporary vainglories.

The final edge of the dark triad ignorance is the one that moves me the most.  It would be unreasonable to suggest that every person know the names of all the dictators in South America, Asia and Africa and know the reasons why we consider them dictators.  It is unacceptable however that someone knows not that the Syrian people are in great pain at the moment.  It is unacceptable that someone knows not that Global Warming threatens the survival of the human race.  If all that two people are able to converse about is other people and quote catch phrases out of movies, then our human race is doomed.  Eleanor Roosevelt said "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people" .  Sure we can gossip as it is human nature and relieves stress, but woe the day if all we can do is gossip.  The destruction of ignorance starts with educators and the media.  We must value knowledge of history, the arts and current events.  We must encourage deep and creative thought amongst our youth and certainly greatly reward novelty.

I am an optimist.  I believe in the power of the human spirit to overcome challenges.  History has evidenced this countless times.  Generation Y is not lost, we are asleep; waiting for our rude awakening to unleash the heroes inside each and every one of us.