Aging and Poverty: Longevity and Wealth

So I e-mailed a group of my more thoughtful and opinionated friends the following link:

DNA test links ageing and poverty: Scientists in Glasgow develop a new test of the ageing process, which confirms it is linked to social factors.

They responded to the article back and forth in typical jesting fashion (see below). These are my abridged thoughts:

I’d like to add my psychoanalytic interpretation: In the American capitalist culture, wealth and materialism are some of the most prized values. The failure to achieve success in their acquisition, as typified by the vast majority of people, may be the cause of the depression and anxiety we identify as being so prevalent.

Think about it: If you existed in a culture where the value of a person was measured in terms of wealth and material possessions, and you lacked these things, what would that do to an individual’s psyche? My guess: it would result in a profound neurosis, something like the collapse of the ego, due to the failures to live up to these societal indicators of value. The duress of this failure would undoubtedly cause a physical stress to manifest in all sorts of ailments.

Of course, our society doesn’t only see the value of a person in wealth and material accumulation, but mainstream media and pop-culture definitely over inflate how important these values should be perceived. Depending on your cultural influences, anything could cause a neurosis like depression if you were to fail to live up to a societal standard of value and success. Most other cultures value family, community, altruism, intelligence, religion, etc. In some parts of China culture academics seems to be the trump value, in South American cultures we find family, in Middle Eastern cultures we find piety and devotion. The list goes on. Failure to live up to these values in their respective culture would be a major blow to the ego.

My point is this: in a culture that emphasizes values such as wealth that inherently operate as a result of scarcity, it’s no wonder we have so much ‘mental illness’ such as anxiety and depression. It is impossible for everyone to possess a value that by definition is reserved for few. Yet, capitalism relies on our desire to live out this fantasy in order to consume and possess by any means possible, even if it means selling ourselves as slaves to debt.

The remedy exists in realizing that these values are culturally dictated and that your value as a person can and should be self-generated and dictated from within; and this is by no means an easy task. We navigate our world through symbols and the symbolic meanings attached to them are typically inherited from our culture: community, family, peer group, etc. It’s extremely difficult to overcome this conditioning, and I’d say that only the most genius in a society ever successfully create a system of values and meanings that are original to them and them alone.

I’ll end by saying that stress is a major cause of physical aging. The more money one has, the less one has to worry about. You may argue that accumulating that wealth may cause even greater stress, but I’d defer to a Bible verse to counter: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Now, I’m not a religious person, but I mine for wisdom where I can find it. Having money and loving money are two different animals in my book. If you can accumulate money without getting absorbed in a romance with it, I believe you will not only live longer, but you will live happier!


Continue reading “Aging and Poverty: Longevity and Wealth”


Why don’t I write? Some inadequecy that lurks beneath. Something that grips my motives and violently shakes me into retreat. Why? I mean, I’m not sure exactly. Sententious speak.

As predicted, the world’s boiling over. This world, this society, living in delusional states, it’s vapid affairs simply rolling along, not because there’s any inherent meaning and necessity to the madness, but because us men, us intrepid sheep, are suckers for tradition, for the familiar inheritances we deem as having so much value. When, in reality, it’s nothing but mindless manipulation. When we try to escape, we escape only deeper, not beyond.


This summer is coming to a close. A good amount of drinking, and reading, and traveling has been accomplished. I like to think every experience amounts to some value, but I must remember that context determines all meaning, all utility, all purpose. Am I any more of a person? Eh. Let’s define the context, right? Well, I sure as hell don’t have an answer at the moment.

I need to expunge so much. Blah. I’ve been working two jobs. One, at Wells Fargo Advisors working for a wealth management group. The other, a manufacturing job at International Ceramic Engineering. There’s a pretty steep contrast between the two jobs. One is saturated with intelligent, driven, ambitious white collared workers; the other involves the illiterate, mostly foreign, blue collar laborers. At the engineering company I press buttons all day. I literally bring a book to work that I read while I’m on the job. It’s too un-stimulating to bear otherwise. I read a book every other day. It’s been great for reading. It’s also been great for showing me what the vast majority of uneducated American’s do every day to provide for their families and make a living. Vastly different dispositions in the working peers I encounter each day. Vastly different experiences gained. I’ll add more later.

Our world is pretty messed up at the moment. Or, at least, that’s how it’s being portrayed in the media and news. I’m not sure if they are capitalizing on the opportunity to inflate mild market shifts to instill fear, or if there really is reason to be concerned for the stability of the world. Riots, market volatility and crashes, unemployment, violence, political bickering and selfish debating, fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement, misplaced policy priorities: the list could continue along.

I need to contemplate more, extract more from my mind, my experiences. It’s not enough to have an expeirence. You must make an experience work for you, make somehting of it, recall it and give it meaning, contextualize it. You know? Many people have experiences, and

Cosmetic Enhancement: Thoughts

Fake tans, fake nose, hair extensions, plastic nails, plastic boobs, porcelain teeth, colored contacts, tuck, suck. And a side of antidepressants. We have an interesting culture.

A friend kindly pointed out:

Cosmetic enhancement – people act as if this is new. It’s not. The technology has simply caught up with ambitions thousands of years old. Every culture and group within the culture, and even some daring self-making individuals, have their standard of mental and physical beauty/health. We are becoming more of what we’ve been, and in some cases, better for it.

Although I’m fully aware of this tradition of body modification as a means to express individuality, or to endorse cultural practices through symbolic body alteration, my issue lies in the motives. So, to his response, I ask “What is it that we’ve been? Is it a good thing that we’re becoming more of it? What makes you think that where we’re going is good? Do you think there is unhealthy self-expression?”

I take issue with is the glorification of appearances. I have no issues with any form of self expression so long it’s authentic and not the result of some implanted societal neurosis. To each his own. The idealist in me wishes society placed more emphasis on the inner life rather than on the outer. The physical fades. A sound mind and character are more enduring and reliable. I get it, our society values appearances. But, save the asthetic value, appearances don’t improve society. They make it more carnal and superficial. If you need to look good by societies standards to have self worth or feel good about yourself, go for it. But i don’t think that’s a lasting fix. If you’re doing it for yourself, go for it. If it’s for others, good luck pleasing the fickle masses. But again, I get it: we’re sexual creatures motivated by desire and passion, rather than reason and good will. I recognize we’re social creatures. I recognize that we navigate our world by sight. But I believe sight is a poor, misleading guide. Most people look alive on the outside but they are virtually dead on the inside. We use our sight to discern between friends and foes, to identify the familiar and unfamiliar. It allows us to pass judgement on things without really engaging and experiencing with them. It’s a cheap and empty way to make value judgements about the world. That’s my take. I’m just as guilty as the next. I don’t think I’m right, or wrong, that’s just my current sentiment.

I know I cant escape my cultural conditioning. I know I’m inclined to like what I’ve been raised to believe is valuable and beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I needn’t worry about what society makes of my wife so long as I love her.

At base, I believe that civilization is a disease.

Culture is a product of civilization’s fabricated demands. There’s nothing natural about civilization. It is a result of this will to power, this will to be a prosthetic god, to impose influence, to rule over our world. What need is there to self-express to yourself? We self-express for others. It seems that way anyway. It’s a product of competition to stand out, to be an individual. When you have yourself and you are content and full within yourself, what need is there to self express? Music can be good. Passions can be good. At least when they are cathartic or inspired. What standard is man. What is culture? It’s a a fabricated environment. In nature, there are natural demands. In civilization, there is culture. Nature is niether good nor bad. How then could be culture be good or bad?

Culture is artificial demands. They are foreign. Are they natural? Vanity? Insecurity? Yielding to cultural expectations and demands?

Cosmetic enhancement: being someone you’re not? or being someone you really are but couldn’t otherwise be?

I suppose in a society that prizes such superficial perfection you can’t expect anyone to settle for anything less. So would I marry a short haired hodgey podgey little woman? In another time and another place.

Internal man vs external man

Eating disorder/Obesity vs cosmetic surgery: underlying issue?

What if obesity was beautiful? Till it was unhealthy? To each his own? Until what? We’re footing the health care bill with our taxes?


Willfully Powerful

Lower organisms overcome competition by multiplying, through progeny or duplication.
Higher organisms overcome competition by dominating, through killing or deviant oppression.

Vegetation, containing the most basic of organisms, simply multiply into sheer numbers for survival. Predators, containing the greatest complexity of organisms, have little offspring, but survive by killing off competition and threats. Humans can be said to be the greatest of predators. However, we have reached a new plateau. We no longer kill the body. We kill the mind.

Interesting to note: Developed societies have an inverse proportion of low birthrates to immense knowledge and power. Undeveloped societies have an inverse proportion of high birth rates to limited knowledge and power. Humans have graduated a rung on the ladder of power by learning to dominate through knowledge. Knowledge (language) is the ultimate tool of influence and domination.

Knowledge is power. It is the ultimate form of power. No longer do people live through their offspring. They live through their ideas and influence. These ideas and influence, this knowledge, is a means of dictating a subjective reality to others to ensure their conformity. Once knowledge has been programmed, and their critical self consciousness sufficiently whithers, influence can be effortlessly woven into their unconscious mind.

He who has the power decides the knowledge. Knowledge is nothing without power. Recall the institutions throughout the age, religious and academic and governmental. Look at the trends of academic development. Is it a wonder that western civilization’s knowledge has so pervasively made itself the gold standard for knowing?

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is afunction of power and not truth. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Formal education seeks to indoctrinate minds with a formal historical knowledge. This knowledge breeds functional fixedness, among other constricting cognitive maladies. It is predicated by predetermined definitions and parameters dictated by predecessors. It prevents fecund creative minds from adopting novel solutions to problems in order to maintain a homogeneous worldview.  It also limits the ability to see, to conjure possibility.

Formal education is a process of censorship where rough robust rocks are hewed into small smooth stones. Such rocks are more manageable and less dangerous.

Knowledge can be a dangerous thing, a threat to a free flowering imagination where possibility blooms. It is a subversive means of control. It bestows a false sense of empowerment. Be wary of who’s feeding it to you. Animals always return to be fed: this is how domestication occurs. Feed yourself. Experience and experiment. Challenge.

Arguing is not about right or wrong; it is about will, the will to power. Arguments are about winning and losing, where the winner has successfully demonstrated his robust capacity for his knowledge and the loser willfully accepts defeat on the false grounds that he is wrong, rather than without. We’ve developed a ‘civilized culture’ where killing is no longer a suitable means for demonstrating the will to power. Today it is demonstrated through dialog. But this dialog is terribly slanted and skewed to serve a foreign body of knowledge that we have willfully adopted to believe is our own. And, in our minds, we are right, until this bastardized knowledge tells us we’re wrong.

Tired. Need more clarity. More thoughts later.

Random Thoughts and Notes Dump:

You will never solve the worlds problems; you can only solve your own.
Search the origin of your thoughts and you will discover they are not original to you.
I master myself so that I may master others.
Improve your condition by improving the condition of others.
There is no such thing as hard work; only time well spent.

I have accepted that people will fail you, there will always be failures who are okay with failing. These are the majority, though they don’t know it. People rationalize their failures like they rationalize their morality. There is no one who is good for all. Even Jesus was bad for the Pharisee’s. I must will myself to power, to dominate through subversiveness, by leveraging the good will of others. I must be first feared, then loved. Love is a great deterrent, but fear is greater. The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom, says the bible. Likewise it is when I am feared. But never bark without bite, and let it be strategic and well planned.

Intelligence is no substitute for experience. Only experience renders wisdom.
I don’t want to continue being the person I’ve been.
The more I love, the more I feel loved.

A dream:

I had a dream last night and you were in it. We hung out and talked. It was interesting. I hope you’re as cool in real life as you were in my dream. So you came over my boss’ house to keep me company. You were wearing a baby blue sundress and a white flower in your hair. We talked and messed around on the computer. It appeared to have what looked like porn virus, which was awkward. We walked around a country road with some trained puppies. Had them catch us foxes then we domesticated them and they were our friends.  Then pirates in flying boats landed near the house we were watching. Police and pirates crashed and continued gunfighting. I got shot in my leg by pirates. You helped keep me safe and tend my wound, which eventually got worse. We had a tough time looking for the bullet but eventually pushed it out. So we played a slot machine and made a few grand and continued figuring out our escape. Etc.,

It’s the fool who plays it cool by making the world a little colder


What’s wrong with our country? Our economy, our politics, our propaganda, our values, our media, our individuals: our culture: a fabricated fortress of rhetoric that keeps more in than it keeps out. We are at the pinnacle of our glory. It could be argued that we’ve been improving along the way, but I don’t think we’re any further along than the Romans or Greeks or Egyptians once were. We’re proud and gluttonous and utterly facile. We’ve built a society that takes care of the harder tasks of life and we’ve grown grotesquely dependent on it. We seek to escape the struggle to survive as if we were above it, as if we were gods and not crawling creatures and defacating animals. Every culture seeks to mimic the glorified, be it Christ or Buddha or Caesar or America or celebrities or politicians or businessmen. I’m not convinced we’re free or further along at all. In the struggle for survival it seems humans quite naturally seek to rob themselves of the very skills to survive until they are at the mercy of a machine of influence and power that they claim is a true reflection of their wants and wishes. Somewhere along the line this towering confluence of congenial compromise conquers its makers it a brash and booming way. And I think we’ll all be around to see it happen. I read that scientists believe that the first person that will live to 150 years of age has already been born, and within the next fifty years the first person to live to 1,000 years of age will be born. Man is obsessed with conquering. It’s the heroism that bolsters the ego out of its wormy condition. The ultimate obstruction for man to surmount is death. I do not think we’ll accomplish this feat. I believe we’re terribly blinded to the realities of our physical nature. The economy, the government, the science- it’s all supported by a delicate web of beliefs built purely on faith. And once the pacification is jarred and we’re confronted with our frailty? it will unravel and crash. Until then, the media and government and society- the culture- will continue perpetuating it’s childish myths as fact and not fiction. It serves the utility of contemporaneousness community and comfort.

I feel like history repeats itself. I watched Doctor Zhivago this evening (If you didn’t know already, the novel is amazing, and the 1965 is equally riveting and moving).  While I was watching the movie a particular quote struck me quite profoundly and I kept it in the back of my mind until now:

In bourgeois terms, it was a war between the Allies and Germany. In Bolshevik terms, it was a war between the Allied and German upper classes – and which of them won was of total indifference. My task was to organize defeat, so as to hasten the onset of revolution. I enlisted under the name of Petrov. The party looked to the peasant conscript soldiers – many of whom were wearing their first real pair of boots. When the boots had worn out, they’d be ready to listen. When the time came, I was able to take three whole battalions out of the front lines with me – the best day’s work I ever did. But for now, there was nothing to be done. There were too many volunteers. Most of it was mere hysteria.

This quote made me think of our current situation. Wars all across the globe, on foreign fronts where the massacre and murder can be fed to us second hand at a safe distance. Who makes the decisions for our country? Our government, almost synonymous with the lobby powers of business and political influence, our modern bourgeois. They speak and the masses listen with hysterical enthusiasm to whatever call that strokes their insecurities and passions.


I made music tonight. It felt good. I went to Vladik’s this evening to celebrate his completion of the DAT examination. We conversed while drinking shots of Silver Tequila and smoking cigarillos. I played guitar and he produced beats and rhythm on the keyboard and computer. We got about a minute of music and lyrics down. It sounds good. I’ll post when we’re finished.