Friday, April 9, 2010
I've been thinking a lot about the "American Dream" lately. In theory, a place where someone can go and become whoever and whatever they want sounds fantastic. In reality, though, it's more like a nightmare. We're almost forced to work mundane, useless jobs where we're under appreciated, and abused physically, mentally, and emotionally, essentially working for other people's gain just to give all our hard earned money to people who don't even need it, unless we're lucky enough to be our own boss and can do as we choose. But even then, we have to pay taxes, and follow certain laws and ethics that were set up by who knows who. We live in a time where we can choose any profession we want and chase after it, go to school, start a business, anything. But let me tell you something, I stopped learning new things in the 6th grade because after that point I was taught the same things I had already learned, or things that were useless. In college, I learned logarithms, and by learned I mean I knew what they were long enough to do the homework, forgot everything about them, reviewed them for the test, and once I had taken the test the information went right back out of my brain. I've been out of high school almost six years now, have I ever once used a logarithm? No! So, why did I waste brain power, time, energy, and money learning them in college? Whatever happened to the days of apprenticeships where you chose your profession and went to work alongside a master? You'd learn the skill in a few months and then spend your time perfecting it. Now, you sit in a desk and are talked at for four years before you're allowed the slightest experience with your chosen profession. I don't learn from lectures and books, I learn from experiencing things first hand, and I retain the information for much longer. If the information is relevant and useful, then I'll remember it because I'm constantly using it. Logarithms, bah! I'm not going to be a mathematician, or a physicist, or whoever uses those things, so I didn't need to learn about them. The so called dream has complicated things. Sure, there are perks, like being able to Google something you're curious about. But find a good old fashioned book and you could do the same thing. Or social networking sites that allow you to contact friends you haven't seen or heard from in years, but I remember the good old days when people would write each other letters. Go figure. My brother said he thinks computers will be the downfall of our society. I agree with him. Think of all the things that computers complicate. I know, they're great, whatever. They're a plague, and yet here I am using one. We're at the mercy of technology. Computers are making it so we don't have to think anymore. As I'm typing this, I don't have to make sure that I spell things correctly, because the computer checks it for me. It's all too convenient. We look at the world around us and see ancient buildings and creations with character and history that were built in spite of the seemingly impossible feat it was, but somehow it was accomplished. We now have technology and machines that can easily create such beautiful buildings, but it's out of budget and not profitable to create things of quality, so we build concrete boxes instead. Cars, great in theory, but add in the factors that we have no control over like traffic lights, stop signs, speed limits, over zealous testosterone fueled cops, never ending construction and other cars and the egos that come with them, and they just add to the problem instead of creating a solution. Give me a horse drawn carriage, or a place where I can walk everywhere I need to go over a car any day and I'll take it gratefully. They complicate things. I don't like complicated. I want to live in a place where I can go out in the sunshine and enjoy it, and not have to worry about where I have to be, or who's expecting me where. I want to grow my own food, make my own clothes, read a book lying on the sand at the beach, and watch the sun set over the crashing waves and have some space and land and room to breathe around me, and time to myself where I can do the things I love without feeling guilty like I'm shirking my responsibilities. Give me that, let me have that, and I will feel free.