The Meaning of Life

Life, in my experience, has no inherent meaning, and that is okay. No matter how serious, light, right, or wrong we all approach life, none of us make it out alive. I believe that sentiment came from Fight Club. I don’t mean this in a bad way at all. Life having no inherent meaning isn’t bad. It means life can become whatever you want it to be. Do you have a family that you love? Then you meaning in life is that you focus on letting them know every chance you get how happy they make you. Do you have a job that, while not affecting that many people you know, you enjoy? Then go to that job every day, bathe in that happy light you get going in, and make that your purpose.

I think somewhere in humanity, we decided to label the perfect life as a “successful life.” That seems really silly to me because success is an open definition. For some, making a set amount of money is success. For others, becoming famous is success. The funny thing is there are plenty rich and famous people who aren’t rich or famous through their success. Take Shia LaBeouf. He is Hollywood’s latest hate toy. His movies are, generally, considered dismal, and those that are good, he is considered the weakest link. As a person, he is even worse, going as far as plagiarizing, then plagiarizing his apology for plagiarizing. He also has a reputation of a short fuse, attacking people, yet there is no lack of films for him, allowing him to do exactly what he wants for the rest of his life, and allowing him to make enough money to do whatever he wants. In a manner, he is a success. I don’t think perfection and success should ever be the mark of a good life.

Through social media, I found a story about Justin Carmical, a popular Youtube video blogger, who took his own life some time in January. Doing some googling, which I think I mention in every single post, I learned a lot about the guy. He, while being outside of my interests, seemed to make it his goal to help people and make them happy in some small way. In his tribute video, he said one of the most sincere and beautiful things I have ever heard someone say “You’re not stupid. Okay? You’re not stupid. Don’t ever tell yourself that you are. You’re important. What you have in your head may not mean a lot to a lot of people, but it’s what makes you special. You are important. You mean something. And you’re going to go out there and you are going to do some wonderful things. But first and foremost, you’re not stupid.” The saddest part of this beautiful idea is that Justin seems to have been talking to himself. He probably had needed to hear these amazing words as much as any one else.

These two people show the extremes. Carmical had a very small fanbase, likely making very little money compared to Shia LaBeouf, but in his death, you can find people completely destroyed over the loss of such a caring friend. He made life what he wanted, and that was making life better for other people.

Life should always be what you make it. It should be fun, beautiful, sweet, loving, funny, caring, and amazing. For all I know, there is one life. You have one shot to make life anything special. In death, no matter how much money or how many people you have with you, you will die alone. I don’t mean people will leave you alone, I mean they will surround your physical body, but they cannot undergo the final challenge of life–Death– with you. That is all on you. All you have to comfort you are your memories. Making those memories filled with great experiences is my version of a perfect life.  Find your own through personal exploration, and the path to achieve that goal will present itself.

Addiction

Yesterday, the world learned the passing of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Considering his long history of drug addiction, it really came as a surprise to no one. In May, Hoffman revealed he had undergone drug treatment for 10 days after relapsing to snorting heroin. What this story reveals is the mind of the addict.

Drug addiction is not a specific problem as much as it is the expression of an addiction. An addict, no matter how many years they are sober, is an addict for life. With drug addicts, they are more obvious as many die from their escape. Corey Monteith was the most recent heroin overdose before Mr. Hoffman, though his death was similar to the way Mitch Hedberg died. Mitch Hedberg was a traveling comic, and heroin isn’t a common drug everywhere, forcing him to abstain for long periods. When he got his fix, he would consume his old amount, which would be too much after his tolerance level dropped, resulting in a fatal overdose. Heroin is one of a few substances that operates on the concept of diminishing returns. As soon as you try it once, you will never experience that level of perfection. This NSFW video explains it rather succinctly through my research.

As a student of life, I make it a point to research everything that I am uncertain of. Having never so much as seen heroin in pictures (I fear needles), I have a very cursory understanding of the substance. Through research, I have learned that this powerful drug has claimed so many lives that it was important for me to understand why. And the why was quite simple: Heroin dulls pain. As an empathetic person, I can almost fathom the level of emotional pain heroin addicts are trying to suppress. Actors and musicians are particularly susceptible to this since their creative nature makes them more likely to feel extreme levels of moods. The one thing that made them so very famous was their own downfall. Bradley Nowell is another example of how the drug claimed a life. In his sad case, he believed heroin fueled his creativity, and if he ceased using it, he’d lose his creative spirit. That is the death grip that addiction can have for an individual, and it truly makes me sad to think about.

So, surely, Hoffman’s death serves as another example as to how dangerous of a drug heroin is, right? No. Heroin, even in today’s society where we can search for treatment in the privacy of our own homes, is not the problem. Heroin, or the category of opiates, helps with pain management following surgery. Blocking/dulling the pain helps the healing process, which can be incredibly painful. The problem is this same use is where heroin becomes so prevalent today. Patients recovering from extreme surgeries take several prescriptions of oxycodone and hydrocodone, both of which can create a physical dependence after one bottle. Once they are cut off, those with emotional addictions tend to keep with it. When I had a series of surgeries, I was prescribed two types of painkillers (with no checks to see what I already had from a prior surgery). While I lack the addictive personality (though sweets may be my closest), I could feel the physical dependence happening very quickly. Had I been disposed towards addiction, the gate was opened, and I would be lost.

The problem we have to address as a society is we need to help the addict get treatment and help. We need to stop attacking the addiction if it is drugs or sex or stop making light of it if it is shopping or some other non-negative addiction. Humans tend to enjoy the easiest path, making anything that feels good to become a habit with ease. Phillip Seymour Hoffman shouldn’t be forgotten, and his death should be looked at objectively. How many of us know someone, either directly or indirectly, that has been the victim of addiction? How many of these addicts end up alone in their final hours? Instead of removing the method of addiction (ie. attacking heroin or drugs for the drug addict), we should attack the addiction. The drug is just a vehicle that will be easily replaced. If a junkie cannot get heroin, they will binge on alcohol or something to numb the pain. By removing the stigma and removing the barrier for entry for treatment, we will create a future where addiction isn’t something that people keep secret, like Monteith, Hedberg, Hoffman, and myriad of others, won’t be their own, sad demise. That is my real hope for our future.

Ending “Obamacare”

The title is purely for shock value. As a person who has been afflicted with odd medical conditions that would have bankrupted me had I not had insurance, I completely and utterly support the Affordable Care Act. Well, it could be better, but for the sake of argument, I am glad that everyone is required to have insurance, and affordable plans are required by law. No one, no matter who you are, wants to be saddled with so much medical debt that you are crippled for life. I had a surgery that failed, leaving me in agonizing pain, thereby negating all the previous surgeries. That was almost $100k in medical costs, that I was able to escape by being extra fortunate enough to have a great insurance and awesome parents. I am probably under 1% of the population there. What I oppose is the mislabeling of the Affordable Care Act, which is a law, as Obamacare. At first, I championed the idea. It was a gambit by the Republican party who believed the bill would fail, something they then tried to make happen. Obvious only to people who use FoxNews as a citation other than when creating Onion articles, Obama was going to be the blame for the healthcare industry killing bill, and for the rest of time, he would be associated with it in name. The problem is that didn’t happen at all, as I predicted a few times. For the most part, people got better coverage plans, or they were covered for the first time despite pre-existing conditions. It wasn’t this resounding success, but it did help some people out while not really hurting other people. The success or failure of the Affordable Care Act won’t be known for a few years, probably 5 to 10 years, as data is collected, and anecdotes that support one side over the other are likely lies. Social Media of course shows the biggest amalgamation of stupidity as arm-chair politicians explain how this deal is socialism/communism, clearly ignoring those are real words with real definitions. There’s a lot of silly and dangerous assertions that will eventually be completely discredited as studies are done, like the notion that more people lost insurance than gained, which the GOP used as an great, but completely false, talking point. Had that been true, they would have had a lot of great ideas.

My push is to cease the naming convention of “Obamacare” for the Affordable Care Act. The problem with that convention nowadays is it gives the Act more credence than it actually deserves. The Affordable Care Act is a law that, among other provisions, requires every citizen to have insurance. That’s the crux of the Affordable Care Act (other than ending pre-existing conditions exclusions, premium reviews, and no lifetime limits). Unfortunately, by calling it Obamacare, a lot of people without the understanding of anything they oppose or support believe it to be a form of healthcare.

When we mire ourselves with obtuse language, we cannot truly argue the merits and deficits. Once we can boil down the core of the argument, then we can get to the core of the fight.

Another Post about Drugs

“WASHINGTON — As of Monday, the Defense Department says it is conducting random urine testing for spice, an illegal synthetic marijuana-like drug. In the past, the service branches have done limited testing for spice, banned by federal law in 2012. But testing programs didn’t have the technical capability to cast a wide net for the drug, as they do for more familiar substances such as organic marijuana and cocaine.”

Source

It may seem like the topic of drugs interest me a lot, and it does because I enjoy reading about altered states of consciousness. I believe responsible activity by adults should never be outlawed or critiqued. Even moreso for people in the military. Military folks tend to be in highly stressful situations, often suffering from PTSD, and they are usually the first cut when things are being reduced. Testing for spice is so silly as the nature of it, that is a synthetic chemical that acts similar to cannabis, means it will just be modified and not be detectable.

Drug tests always bothered me because while I’ll test negative for everything (except probably dangerous levels of caffeine), it is essentially asking me to prove my innocence without really testing for much more harmful chemicals. With drug tests as they are, I can drink myself to cirrhosis every night of the week and smoke several packs that leave me cancer ridden and breathing with aid. I cannot smoke marijuana as it has an absurdly long life for testing. A drug that has never been linked to a single direct death and has been shown to reduce cancers among other benefits is a schedule 1 drug. It’s so silly that it’d be funny if it wasn’t for the people who go to jail for consuming the plant or the people who could really use the drug to have a better life. A very visible story of a little girl who had 300 seizures a day but the seizures stopped with cannabis shows that our concept of drugs is so horribly stupid and so obviously controlled by people who make money that it is more than a little sickening.

The silly thing about this policy change is it outlines the exact absurdity with drug policy. Spice was created because marijuana has such a long life in the body that it’s hard to get away with smoking it, so people turned to a very dangerous chemical that has been linked to seizures, vegetation, and death. Creating more policies won’t stop this sort of thing. Like I said, they’ll just change the compound enough to where the effects are the same, but the chemical is different, and people will be smoking something new in no time (if they aren’t already; I can never keep up with this sort of thing).

As states continue to defy the federal government, and countries defy the UN, and legalize weed, we’ll see a slow shift away from these draconian practices. Rather than banning substances and making choices for people, which ultimately lead to people breaking the law, trying these chemicals in less than clean manners, and getting hurt BECAUSE of the prohibition, we should focus on creating drug rehab facilities that are ran with tax dollars, rather than dumping billions every year on drug enforcement agencies. Addiction is a serious problem that does stop at drugs, but we are so fixated on that one idea that we ignore the far bigger problem.

Bang Zoom, straight to the moon, China

“China says it has successfully landed a craft carrying a robotic rover on the surface of the Moon, the first soft landing there for 37 years. On Saturday afternoon (GMT), a landing module used thrusters to touch down, marking the latest step in China’s ambitious space exploration programme.”

Source

China landing a rover on the moon is a slap to the face of the US. Until this moment, the moon was basically our thing. We were the first to have anyone visiting, and we were the last to send even a rover to it. While we have Curiosity on Mars, that was a private enterprise as the US has essentially abandoned all things Space. China’s rover landing could reignite the long ended Space Race to build a colony on the moon or even Mars.

The biggest point of argument to moon landing conspiracy is if we went to the moon when we said we did in 1969, why haven’t we gone back since Apollo 17? The answer is sad and simple: Because Russia stopped trying. In the 50s to 80s, the US and the USSR were in a bitter Cold War. Since we both were on the brink of nuclear annihilation, anything we did was challenged by Russia. Russia sends a few probes and a dog to space, we start with massive amounts of satellites. Russia has first manned spaceflight, we have the first piloted flight. This went back and forth until July 20th when the US landed on the moon. The Space race continued in different ways, but we won in the eyes of many.

Tragically, with this frontier conquered, many in the government saw Space as a waste of money. The problem is space travel takes a lot of research and development. R&D that doesn’t magically go away and is funneled into consumer goods. Would we have cell phones, high speed internet, personal computers, electric cars, and a myriad of other technology if the space race never happened? It’s really hard to say.

A lot of Chinese bloggers see the rover as pandering to Americans. They see no benefit for the Chinese people out of such an endeavor, and maybe, they are right. The US is in a very different place than it was in the 50s when the Space Race started, so I don’t think we could ever get the same fervor for another race.

Imagine for a second that we do start a new race. The obvious target would be to put someone on Mars, or even colonize the planet. That would lead to rapid colonization of the moon, probably within 5 to 10 years for the first Earth created structures. This would allow the Moon to serve as a docking station for a trip to Mars. It’d another Cold War type situation with less hostilities between the countries (well, no more than already present).

I doubt we’ll see any sort of Space Race or even concern out of this from our government or media. The article announcing it was British-based because most Americans have lost their desire to explore the stars. With Earth becoming rapidly overpopulated, we will eventually have to expand outwards. Unfortunately, it seems that may happen too late.

Sony’s PS4 Dominates Releases

“Did you participate in Sony’s big PlayStation 4 launch? After selling one million units in just 24 hours and enduring the Xbox One machine, Sony has released a celebratory video, calling its PS4 the biggest launch in PlayStation history.”

Source

Many people hated the PS3 when it came out. A lot of people bought a 360 out of spite. These same buyers were spited when the 360 had a nearly 50% failure rate across the board. So, when the PS4 and Xbox One were announced, fans were clamoring for a change and did they get it.

Xbox One decided to go with the most openly anti-consumer platform by not allowing used games and requiring the Kinetic to always be on. The went back on the used games, but I have no idea about the latter. Sony decided to mock them with a video. Sony’s E3 reveal conference actually earned them a lot of fans, while Microsoft earned the scorn of users. In fact, after announcing their platform, many users started selling all their 360 games for PS3s and pre-ordering a PS4. This is the volatile market of console gaming.

As of December 3rd, PS4 has sold 2.1 million units, and Xbox One has sold 2 million as of December 11th. As the consoles sit neck and neck going into the Christmas holidays, it’s still anyone’s game. Unfortunately for Nintendo, despite a year lead, they, as of September before the launch of either competing console, has only a 1.8-million-unit lead. Nintendo may see a nice boom with Christmas as well as their ad campaigns were focusing on differentiating between the Wii and the foolishly named Wii U. While the Xbox One has a really stupid name, it is enough of a difference where uninformed parents can make the distinction. Playstation 4, as unoriginal of a name as ever, at least shows that it is the newest version of the console. This is much easier for people who don’t have the time or care to learn all the naming conventions for buying things for their kids.

It’s still too early in each of the consoles life to really make a solid purchase. I’ve learned to wait at least one to two years after a console release for the prices to come down and the best, most cutting edge games to come out. The new Mario game is supposed to be a console seller, and it’s just a year after the release of the Wii U. Giving Microsoft and Sony a year to learn the nuances of the console, add perks worth buying, and to catch up on my embarrassingly large backlog, which is useless with a PS4, will end up saving me a bunch of money and headaches. I bought a PS3 about 4 or 5 months after release, and it was really rough, downloadable games were unable to be done in the background, and there were few titles worth spending money on in addition to the $600 I just spent of the console.

After looking at the PS4 screenshots, I have no idea how much further gaming can go. There will be a point where games are completely inseparable from real-life. That’s probably where Occulus Rift steps in.

The Linux Revolution is coming

“The time for Linux gaming is finally almost upon us! Valve has confirmed that SteamOS will be released tomorrow, December 13. On the same day, 300 prototype Steam Machines and Controllers will be sent out to participants of the Steam Machine beta test. With sorrowful catch in its throat, Valve says that the hardware beta test will only take place in the US, due to the “regulatory hurdles” of sending prototype hardware out of the country — everyone and anyone will be able to download SteamOS to make their own Steam Machine, however.”

Source

I am going to be doing a full review on SteamOS next week after using it for a week, but I am beyond excited for this release. Thanks to Windows making some really shitty decisions for gamers, Linux development has started to ramp up. The number one development in this arena was Steam being ported to Linux. As games get ported over and released, gaming on Linux is becoming bigger and bigger. With SteamOS, the transition will become easier. Linux is extremely easy for a lot of users, and for most people, thanks to platform antagonistic design, it has everything someone will need to use Linux with their every day life. The Windows stranglehold is breaking.

Linux provides a really unique experience for computer users. First, thanks to the way it is optimized, even low spec computers can still run the most up-to-date version of the OS. Thanks to this aspect, games that require high recommendations, if optimized appropriately, will run on older systems allowing people who couldn’t break into gaming to be able to use their old PC. What a great thing to really change the environment.

PC gaming is a niche’ market, and offering a free operating system based on games, an industry that typically pushes technology, Valve may be creating a future that is built around Linux and platform free gaming. Everyone has their preference with operating systems. Some people NEED to use Apple or Windows for business, so I can appreciate having those operating systems, but for most people, they can have Linux at home without losing any features, and by enabling triple-A to be played on a free operating system, developers will no longer see Linux as a complete niche’ market.

The major downside is like OSX, Linux gets by with no viruses at all. Both operate under the premise of “security through obscurity,” which means that viruses and other malware ignore these platforms due to the small user base. Thanks to platform agnosticism, spyware already exists on OSX and Linux, though the latter’s architecture makes it harder to actually yield results. Linux can keep a pretty nice locked down state for external users, so virus creators will have to find new ways to exploit that system, but if adoption rate continues, then it will be a matter of time before it happens.

Soon SteamOS will be released. Then, the game will officially change.

Is Our Universe a Hologram?

“A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection.”

Source

This article is extremely over my head, so I will try to cobble an understanding and see where it takes me. Essentially, the article proposes that we may be on the verge of, at the very least, a test for String Theory, the concept that reality is made up of vibrating strings.

News like this is why, in my limited understanding, I love science. The article uses a beautiful phrase “Einstein’s theory of gravity.” Gravity, something we can observe on a daily basis, we can tangibly feel, and we can experience, is a theory. This is where creationist lose science. Science doesn’t work with an end-result then says “This is true.” Science works through unraveling mysteries, revelations, and discoveries. Sometimes, the puzzle starts at the beginning with an idea that requires expansion, such as how to get to the moon. Other times we discover things in medias res and have to figure out how that fits into the world around us OR change the our understanding of the world around us.

Coincidentally, history doesn’t work like this 100%. Graham Hancock, a journalist-turned-controversial-historian, proposed that civilization is older than we have recorded by a couple thousand years. His ideas were castigated and mocked soundly by the history community, and he was essentially blackballed. Then, discoveries were made that supported his notion that humans were older. Recently, a set of footprints were found to be 5,000 years older than the previously oldest pair. Other deeply buried civilizations are cropping up that put Mr. Hancock’s timeline in to the realm of validity. Graham’s biggest contention, and I believe he was quoting someone when I heard him say it,  is that due to water marks on the Sphinx, and looking at weather and flood records, the Sphinx and Egyptian civilization is 12,000 years older than we credit it.

I cannot say who is correct, and while news on String Theory being closer to validated goes ignored, the people who do stumble on it will find solace in the notion that there are people debating the very fundamentals of life. Something about having these watchful guardians looking for the next breakthrough seems pretty cool to me.

A Dream Journey

Dreaming has existed in humans since we became sentient. There’s plenty of studies about how and why we dream, but the true origin of it has always fascinated me. When we look at the beginnings of humans, it paints a fascinating story as to what and why we dream. I cannot truly answer “why do humans dream?” I do not have the skills or knowledge to do so. Instead, I can paint a fascinating story that I hope interests everyone to this secret world.

The Urge to Dream

Looking at why we dream, there are a few hypotheses regarding the benefits of sleeping and dreaming. One notion of why we sleep is that it helps us retain information and learn from our daily lives (Nixon, 2010). Per that article, by simply napping AND dreaming after learning a difficult task, we are more inclined to internalize something than someone who learns and doesn’t dream of the same activity and someone who learns a topic but doesn’t sleep. This paints an interesting evolutionary scenario. Did our ancestors evolve dreaming based on their prowess or did dreaming evolve sentience as the learned skills through the dream plane. Going further, one theory is that the diet of humans, as well as increased sleep quality, helped evolve the australopithecus into the Homo genus (Coolidge & Wynn, 2013). One fascinating aspect of sleep is that it is separated into essentially two phases, deep Non-REM sleep and REM sleep, the period in which we dream . Evolutionary speaking, the former just sucks. We are completely unable to move in any way (though this is truer in REM sleep), we take a while to wake up, and we often awaken in a confused state. What the hell, brain? With all this seemingly working against us, these tools helped humans grow and innovate. The previously mentioned article in the last paragraph mentions that tool creation may have been spurred by dreaming. That start to touch on where my topic started. Were dreams used by our ancestors to create a playground of life where they tried new things in the dream then replicated them in real-life? Imagine finding a tool in a dream that allows you to chop down trees for wood to create fire. This tool would change the way you lived your day to day life if your only tools previously were hands. What’s even more fascinating is the idea that humans could have even been lucid dreaming while creating these tools. Crazy! These early humans were likely taking the environment and their dreams were created as a practice for the world around them. They’d likely wake up, baffled as to how whatever predator that killed them in the dream didn’t actually kill them. The dream rehearsal, while jarring at first, would have given early man a place to practice how to hunt animals that they have only watched or how to evade predators that threatened them. Rachael Rettner reminds us that Sigmund Freud had a theory on why humans dreamed. “Sigmund Freud proposed dreams exist to fulfill our wishes. But such gratification in an imaginary world would do little to help us adapt our instincts to the physical world, which is one key point of evolution, Barrett said”(Rettner 2010). She proposes that dreaming is more likely a side effect of the sleep cycle that evolved through the years. Through further study and brain evaluation, we may one day cement the exact source of dreaming in the brain. Since early man didn’t have the distractions we do, they could have focus on sleeping when tired, regardless of time, and sleeping until rested or roused by danger. Modern humans have created a false sense of sleeping being at night, for 8 hours straight. Instead, humans are used to sleeping about 4 hours, waking, doing something, then going back to sleep (Hegarty, 2012 I am l). For the lucid dreamers out there, this is how a Wake-Back-To-Bed works. So, humans were predispositioned towards dreaming, and probably, lucid dreaming. In recent years, we’ve lost all respect and revere of our dreams. Because of that, we have lost a large portion our lives.

The Lost Quarter Century

We spend nearly 26 years of our lives sleeping (based on the calculation of 8 hours a night for 75 years) (Nixon 2010). Of those 8 hours, we spend roughly 1 to 2 hours in REM, which is where we dream. That translates to about 6 years of dream time for an average life-time. Using lucid dreaming, or at least paying attention to dreaming in general, can reclaim some of this lost time. A fascinating thing to try is to record your dreams nightly. After about a week, your dreams will become more vibrant and real, and you will start to recall more dreams than seemingly possible. I have filled two or three pages with single nights of dreaming. Even if you aren’t lucid dreaming, having a record of these trips at night are amazing to reflect upon, either creatively or for the sake of it being fun. As Nixon pointed out, dreams work to organize our day and the experiences in them. By keeping a solid record of these dreams, we can see how they actually work themselves out. Through various belief structures over the ages, dreaming has become viewed as a useless endeavor to a sign of possession. Watch this video: Sleep Paralysis, Demons My Story

While I feel sorry for someone to be tormented through their lack of education, his comments show no desire to learn at all that what he experienced is a natural phenomenon that can be broken. Instead, he propagates the notion that the experience is a demonic attack. By continuing this stupid notion, he is causing other people to fear dreaming and the normal aspects of sleep. Education will stop this perpetuation of fear, and once that is done, we will see progress in dreaming across the board.

Going Forward

Dreams are a natural part of our lives, and while there are a myriad of ideas about why we dream, it’s impossible to hammer down the exact reason without further dream research. Thanks to a lot of fringe groups grabbing on to lucid dreaming, and dreams in general, they are lost to the aether as useless and silly ideas that are more of a nuance or even dangerous. Through practice and exploration we can learn what dreams really do for us. Lucid dreaming is clearly the key to exploring the world of dreaming. We will never truly understand “what did Cavemen dream about?” without some revelation of records of their dreaming. Instead, we need to focus on making sure we are, and our dream materials, aren’t lost to time. Sharing dreams with friends or just recording your dreams for appreciate later will allow us to have a real record of how and why we dream for future generations. At the absolute very least, it’ll make our lives a bit more full rather than sleeping through a third of our lives.

Resources

  1. Nixon, R. (2010, April 22). Naps and dreams boost learning, study finds. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/9874-naps-dreams-boost-learning-study-finds.html
  2. Coolidge, F. L., & Wynn, T. (2013, October 14). How dreaming changed human evolution. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-think-neandertal/201310/how-dreaming-changed-human-evolution
  3. Hegarty, S. (2012, February 22). The myth of the eight-hour sleep. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783
  4. Rettner, R. (2010, June 27). Why we dream: Real reasons revealed. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/8373-dream-real-reasons-revealed.html

Would You Like to Super Size Your Wage Disparity with That?

“The chief executives of McDonald’s and Starbucks earn more than $9,200 an hour, which is at least 1,000 times the hourly wages of their sales associates, according to a new report by the personal finance website NerdWallet.”

Source

Whoa, what? The CEOs of McDonald’s and Starbucks make OVER $9,000 an hour? That can’t be right. Surely this is some communist exaggeration that the two largest companies in their industry who are accused of paying some of the lowest wages in existence aren’t getting paid that much. No way.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/mcdonalds-starbucks-ceos-more-9-110100507.html;_ylt=ApTAdhfmpiKMuP.sKAywBx0JVux_;_ylu=X3oDMTFxcW9rM2JxBG1pdANBVFQgSG9tZSBUb2RheSBNb2R1bGUgMTEyMTEzBHBvcwMyBHNlYwNNZWRpYUNkdFRvZGF5VjI-;_ylg=X3oDMTFkcW51ZGliBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3BtaA--;_ylv=3

Courtesy of Yahoo,inc

Well, shit. The CEO of McDonald’s who doesn’t want to give the workers a raise, makes more in an hour than nearly 7 and half months at full time work, which doesn’t really happen at McDonald’s. Remember, McDonald’s leaked a budget worksheet for their employees that include a second income. That would be welfare. Starbucks isn’t much better, but I do believe they offer insurance, so there is that.

This news is just another example of the fact that our country is basically run by crooks. Should the unskilled workers of McDonald’s be making $50,000+? Not necessarily. Salary is used to reward people with a desired skill set and experience. It should, in theory, drive people who make little to want to make more. That discrepancy is fine. But should the CEOs of companies really be making more in an hour than an entire branch of workers make in a month? Something seems really out of touch and gross about that.

With the growing trend being towards raising minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is still lower than it would be if it kept rising with inflation, this information will just increase the ire of people. A lot of corporations and countries cap the CEOs salary at a ratio to the bottom end. The Costco CEO takes a $52,000 salary. This keeps him, a man making big decisions for the company, on the same level as the people actually working in the stores and arguably making money. Another CEO whose name I cannot remember nor can I accurately search for him capped the salary at 5:1 of highest to lowest. Trends like this show the value of the bottom of the company, and it creates a wage satisfaction where someone isn’t making such ludicrous amounts money that they probably will never even care if they lost a few paychecks.

Americans have this weird hatred of workers, despite most being considered lower class workers. I’ve spoken to many people who have defended CEOs and castigating the workers who hate having to work to be poor while making less than $100,000. The middle class mark is $250k by considerations, so all these people are doing is attacking their own kind under the false notion that they are wealthy at all and will attain some sense of wealth. It’s funny how we sit on an impossibly high debt, people still look at taxes as a threat of being injected with AIDS. If the system collapses because the rich, who can give more, won’t, then their money is equal to that of the poor which will be worth monopoly dollars.

Fast food is not a requirement or a need for anyone. In fact, it’s pretty bad for people. However, that shouldn’t preclude people who cannot, for whatever reason, get a better job from making livable wage. What people are demanding isn’t anything exorbitant; it’s enough money to live, pay bills, and eat. That seems more than deserved to me as a human being in 2013 America.