Thanksgiving Sales and Black Friday Obsession Is Our Fault

We Are Our Own Worst Enemies

Black Friday and specifically shopping during Thanksgiving dinner itself wouldn’t be the obsession it is if it weren’t for you.  If your family time was more important to you than a new flatscreen, less stores would be open during the time.

You selfish thankless bastards wouldn’t know that Thanksgiving was supposed to be special time to give thanks and be grateful with family and friends or go Black Friday shopping and fight with people over electronics at your local Walmart while shirking that family time.

While Black Friday participation was thankfully down this year among thirsty shoppers by about 20%, the consumer culture that it feeds is alive and sucking the wallets and time of the afflicted.   Yes, more stores closed, but still plenty were open.  This doesn’t even include the various warehouses where we stick our seasonal wage slaves.

Everyone – regardless of their ideology – can put their finger on this notion that something is deeply wrong, but most haven’t dug deep enough.  Simply put, we can’t fix ANY of our problems until we fix our people and the culture they create.

We can’t build meaningful relationships that transcend all the difficulties of life if we will spend that time on obsessing over Amazon details or shopping at Walmart instead of with our families over some tasty turkey.

That problem lingering deep down in a shadowy hole is that there are far too many people willing to forget their families in favor of shopping during Thanksgiving Dinner to save a few dollars off crap they really don’t need or have to own.   Do you really need another tablet?

Of course, greedy corporations and businesses looking to churn out profits from already greedy debt-ridden consumers are willing to appeal to the fallen angels of our nature to generate some additional cash for their never satisfied shareholders. We are our own worst enemy and there is plenty of mutual feeding on greed to go around.

It’s an unspoken dirty secret, but if there weren’t a significant amount of consumers willing to abandon precious time with family and friends – which they probably don’t see all that often – for “deals” and gadgets, there wouldn’t this hoard of companies willing to make millions of people work like dogs during Thanksgiving.

Maybe even the desperate deal shoppers themselves might think twice before throwing another article of clothing on the ground with the assumption some poor minimum wage seasonal worker is going to pick it up for the hours and hours of sorting and cleanup that will be happening all week.

The demand for Black Friday and it’s accompanying World Star videos are because enough of us are significantly demanding with pockets deep enough to blow 5 billion dollars in 24 hours on a day that is now stretching into the weekend.

Until that changes not only will most of us not be thankful for what we have – as well as the time we can spend with friends and family – but we will sacrifice the little time we have with them for the pursuit of more stuff.

No, this isn’t as if you are toiling away for a career, rather you are upgrading your 40 inch tv to a 55 inch during the time you should be spending with your family – the ones who actually care about you.

What make us supposedly happy and our primary goals are reflected by what we spend our time doing and investing in.  As Black Friday shows, too many people are still spending that time and money on stuff than on time with their families.   It’s what makes them happy.

That’s a horrid problem itself.  How do you alter the ingrained programming of thousands of hours of media that more stuff will make you happy?

Attitude of Gratitude

Often we forget about being thankful for what we have because so many people think their life is crap because they dont have the newest gadgets, products, or apps.  We end up shackled to these items and unable to experience the freedom found in gratitude.   at the Imaginative Conservative makes this point:

But gratitude remains the only key that unshackles us and lets us breathe free. Life is a peculiar phenomenon. We all unthinkingly use the phrase “the gift of life,” but it is only a gift if we really think of it as such. If we don’t, then life is an unbearable curse. It is Hell itself. No matter how bountiful and varied our good fortune, life has no flavor and is devoid of any joy unless we are grateful for it. As the Dominican mystic Meister Eckhardt succinctly put it: “If the only prayer you ever said in your whole life was thank you, that would suffice.””

The newest IPhone and 4k tv wont make you feel any more lively than your previous generation Iphone. Unless you are grateful for what you have, you will never be grateful for the future possessions you so envy after seeing ads for the latest flash sale or Amazon deal.

It’s tragic, but there is one definite way to experience gratitude just as Scrooge did in Charles Dickens parable like story or Jesus’ tale of the prodigal son.

You have to lose everything.  Your health, family, and every last item you so dearly valued.  You have to be brought down to rock bottom to rise back up, riches to rags.

Hopefully, we can learn those lessons Scrooge style from those who have so that we don’t have to go through their pain.

To that grateful end, I will share a tragic story that is a part of my industry.  Remember to look on that sunny brightside.  It could be much, much worse. So be thankful for once, you thankless bastards.

Where I work, I run into some rather sad unfortunate stories.

It’s made me realize a few things. We often get caught up in our own lives, worlds, bubbles, and in the troubles and trials that we endure.  Its easy to forget about the plights of those in the distance who are faring much worse.  We become our own worst enemy.

No doubt many of us have seen pictures, videos, and stories about the recent hurricane devastation that has been wrought upon Texas, Florida, and now Puerto Rico.  Or the fires that ravaged California. These people lost everything, but their families and friends remained intact who hopefully aren’t too immersed in “stuff” to lend them aid and support.

Talk to each person whose lost something there and you’ll hear some depressing stories about their current living situations as they try to cope. (Most of us take our support networks and families for granted.)

I won’t reveal where I work as we are in the age of self-righteous Internet lynch mobs who go after people’s jobs as I have a wife and two sons to support.

However I can tell you about about a tragic story I ran into.

 

Hotel From Hell


I’m on the phone talking to a man – we will call him George – who is stuck in a hotel of a large hotel chain.  Him, his wife, and his infant son are homeless after the hurricane.  Evacuating, they took with them as many clothes as they could, their son’s pack-in-play, car seat, and baby carrier you strap to your chest.

George – who was a vet and had fought in our recent middle east excursions – described that everything left in the hurricanes wake reminded him of towns he had seen that had been completely ravaged by bombs and artillery fire.  Their home which I believe was in Tallahassee had been utterly destroyed from Hurricane Irma.

Forced to go from one Red Cross makeshift shelter to another – with a rather sick infant,  a tad bit of luck would come their way; George’s brother would pay for them to stay at hotel for a period of time to get them out of the vicious hot humid weather.  All of the “good” hotels were booked through already.

They would begin their stay on Monday and on Tuesday night their already existing suffering would escalate.  Their infant son – about 5 and a half months old – had just been in the hospital three weeks prior.  Apparently he had been in and out of the NICU quite frequently since he was born, adding to the seriousness of their plight.

Their son – we will call him Jonny, had contracted RSV when he was just a few months old, on top of his previous medical issues.  RSV for infants that young can be deadly to the point they have to stay at the hospital for the duration of the infection.

Jonny had just started sleeping through the night in his pack-in-play. Or at least he was till a flea infestation in the room, unknown to them at the time, left the infant with flea bites from head-to-toe. It was so damn bad, he couldn’t sleep anymore and they would stay awake with him as he screamed and cried through the night.  They themselves would suffer from the flea bites.

A further slap in the face was that they couldn’t use chemicals to get rid of the flies off the clothing that was salvageable – almost none of it – because their infant son couldn’t be exposed to said chemicals due to his medical issues.

The fleas would decimate almost ALL of the clothing they brought with, including the car seat, port-a-crib, and infant carrier.  So now they weren’t only almost broke, but they would have to replace all the clothes somehow.  You can bet most of the charitable places in that area that give out clothes were already overwhelmed.

Of course they couldn’t switch rooms. There were no other available rooms. All had been taken by insurance agents and other survivors and refugees of the hurricanes wrath.  They were stuck there.

George would roam the hotel hallways to clear his head and to think of any way to improve their situation. Of course, he would be penalized for this.

While observing construction that was going off in an area of the hotel – that strangely wasn’t taped off, George would step on a piece of metal and puncture his foot – something that looked like a large metal construction staple.  It wasn’t even near the obvious area of construction.

He would be in immense pain from it.

George’s wife mentioned that she had never seen him scream or cry before, but when he pulled this staple out, he cried from the pain. Perhaps the mental and emotional burdens on top of this recent were enough to put him over the edge.  When thrown in the mix of losing everything you have, it must have felt like a release.

Now I don’t know what happened to them after this.  I hope they were able to find a place to stay.  Mail had to be sent to his mother’s house in another state – that’s the closest relatives they had in proximity.

They had lost everything, but at least they had some family.  Their stuff could be replaced, as tragic as their situation was, but family can’t.

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Family First

When you are obsessing over the stuff you don’t have, just remember to take a look at those who have nothing – through no fault of their own.

Spend time with your family. You never know how much time you really have with them.  New flatscreens and crazy sales designed to lure you into dishing out for a new one you don’t really need will always be around.  Your family may not.

When me and my wife lived 8 hours away from most of our family – specifically mine, it made me realize how much I miss them.  With so many families with members scattered across the states, Thanksgiving may be one of the few days where everyone will be gathered there together.

Make the most of it.  You can go shopping later, which you probably don’t need to.

 

Being Thankless and Homesick on Thanksgiving

This will be the first thanksgiving that I’ve spent away from my family.   Here in Missouri, I will instead be spending it with my son and my wife’s parents and cousins who are here.    During the last few months, I’ve been gutted by a feeling of being homesick.   Today, it will probably hit the hardest.

Alas, this feeling however does give way to a realization;  We never appreciate our family enough until they aren’t around.  The atmosphere of my dad’s family staying up late into the night, kicking back some beers, the ambient noise of conversation – it’s something I’ve realized alot of other families don’t have.   I’ve lived in Illinois my entire life, and while I hated the state with a passion, my family is what kept me there.

In modernity, we often leave our families and move to various parts of the country in search of economic freedom and success – in my families case the best opportunity is currently here in Missouri.    Grandparents often barely know their grandchildren, nephews and nieces only see their aunts and uncles twice a year, and siblings often are stuck with only Facebook to establish that connection to bring back memories of home.

Sometimes I wonder if the fact we can go anywhere with a press of the gas pedal has inadvertently led us to paths that often don’t include the family structure, proximity, and support that existed for most up until the 1960s.  Will we ever experience that again as a culture? I can only lament.

It takes a village to raise a child – especially for those who desire a big family.  That’s almost impossible nowadays. Many millennials often move so much, that we never establish roots and become so close with our neighbors that they are like blood.

Some however survive the homesickness and overcome it.  A while after originally posting this, I reached out to Quintus and suggested it as a podcast topic for him – which he actually just did – and a gentleman who goes by Motivated Maverick gave me some advice.   Suffice to say, he’s been in the military for 14 years and has been away from his family for long stretches. He gave the following 9 points for consideration.

  1. Build a routine. Even small things like your meals, a cup of coffee, a walk or a cigarette. Enjoy them.
  2. Focus on the people around you. Make others smile & laugh. People around you probably feel homesick too.
  3. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. 3 hard miles will solve nearly all your mental problems.
  4. Accept what’s happening; embrace it. Philosophy used to help men cope. Still does. Read Boethius.
  5. Make a rule in your mind: YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM. YOU DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR YOURSELF. This is important.
  6. Keep a journal. This will help a lot..BUT NO VICTIM JOURNALS
  7. Read good, uplifting books.
  8. An engaging long term project is your best friend. A side business you’re working can make time fly.

Alas, but we press on.  Perhaps some football tonight will get my mind off it.  Happy thanksgiving to those of you I love, cherish, and know.   Modernity does have it’s price I suppose.

To all those in my spheres, from RVF to Maverick – happy travels and I hope that while you make your life abroad, homesickness doesn’t bring you down.  Deus Vult

Envy Is Destroying Western Culture

Envy Is Destroying Western Culture

Envy is at the roots the core problem that plagues our culture – specifically that of the West.  It is destroying my generation.

Why Envy?  It’s all about that tenth commandment from that terrible mythical book that tells us not to covet.

What prompted this realization was a podcast by Quintus Curtius entitled, “Letting Go Of The Anger And Resentments Of The Past” in which he goes over why it happens and where it comes from.

I’ve seen people who have been so thoroughly damaged by their past that their anger consumes them and is dished out upon the surrounding world.

Their inability to let the past go cripples them.  Unlike the song, they shall not overcome.  Instead, they give into a formidable and dangerous form of envy, because its easier then taking any responsibility.  Why work on yourself, if others are completely at fault?

It is indeed envy more than it is jealousy because envy is the reaction to lacking what others have while jealousy is the usual reaction to losing what you have – usually not just in possessions, but people as well.

Look at the roots of the Social Justice dogma that plagues my millennial generation; it is a fundamental belief that you have been deprived, wronged, and prevented from having what is rightfully yours.  Everyone else is oppressing you.

The 1%, the cis straight white male with a decent white collar job, the normal everyday blue collar worker with no criminal record; they don’t deserve it, but the fact that they have it and you don’t leads to that boiling rage and all consuming fire of envy.  It’s not even just limited to success, as people covet the looks of others, blaming those looks and their lack of them for their inability to succeed.  On social media, this has been dubbed, “The Instagram Effect”. 

Look at the results of that fire. It destroys the lives of those who social justice types and feminists who have subconsciously and unknowingly became nihilists as the logical conclusion of their ideology tears into reality.

Consider the critics of men like Mike Cernovich.  What is at the root of their anger toward him? His success.  His influence. His ability to self-publish a book and sell over 15,000 copies in less than six months. Because they can’t have it, no one else can.  They want his “fame” and “fortune”, but they don’t want any of the hardwork that went with it and the family that Cernovich has created in these last few years.

They firmly believe that they are simply “leveling” the playing field, but don’t actually realize that they are destroying it because they hate themselves and what they have become.

Of course they can’t realize this because they are so thoroughly broken by their pasts, that they can’t see beyond their own pain, nor see the pain of other “privileged” people in front of them.

The resentment that Quintus talks about is all consuming. People who have more then you do aren’t just “privileged”, they are an enemy. Because they have what you don’t, they must be taken down a notch and made to “check their privilege.” Why create when you can steal, plunder, and destroy what was your enemies?

 

Envy Is Destroying Western Culture
Creating something new.

But even that isn’t enough. They are a kind of evil, to be vanquished. The homeless cis straight white male on the streets isn’t evidence of holes in their ideology, but rather a confirmation that the “Patriarchy”, “White Supremacy”, or whatever other buzzword effects the “privileged”.

Envy when left unchecked, and the anger and resentment that give birth to it, eventually result in a complete lack of empathy.  Ironically, that lack of empathy is exactly what they credit as to leading up to “systematic racism”, “white supremacy”, “Patriarchy” and the rest of it.

They have become that monster they despised and fought against.  Not only are they now becoming the establishment in both academic and media circles, but they are far more vicious and less empathetic then the dethroned evil they had fought against.  Even their fellow revolutionaries can be apart of the oppressive establishment and their  their supposed allies problematic, hence the recent inquisition by feminists targeting the “misogyny” of the gay community.

Why? What is turning them into Medusas that turn to stone everything they see?

Nietzsche was right when he said, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”

They are now that monster, fueled by anger and resentment of what others supposedly have which they do not.  Leveling the playing field isn’t enough anymore; they must now destroy and dismantle everything that the previous “establishment” has created and produced.

This is why political correctness isn’t just running amok, its becoming more personal each and every day as the political becomes deeply personal.

Envy is indeed dangerous, especially to those who are desperate to find a cause to give their life meaning and in turn adopt causes like “Feminism”, “Fat Acceptance”, and “Cultural Sensitivity” because they know their life doesn’t have purpose.  So does everyone else.

Because of that, no one else’s life can either.

This doesn’t have to be any of us. It doesn’t have to be you.  Even if everyone else is completely at fault for your problems, it won’t change the fact that you still face those problems.

“Stop hating and start creating.” – Mike Cernovich