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Glamorized Self-Inflicted Slavery

A lot of people, hopefully not you, are living lives of glamorized, self inflicted, slavery. I've debated writing about this for a while, because of the connotation, but it's something I think about constantly. Sometimes I see someone working and I realize that they don't have the freedom to spend their days according to their own discretion. I try to empathize and imagine what it might be like, and as a result I feel a twinge of panic. It's unfathomable.

Time is all we have. If you're in a job that you don't enjoy, and you're not consistently saving up money, you are wasting your time. I don't care if you have a Porsche or a Schwinn, a penthouse or a room in a subleased apartment on the fringes of town. You can say that life is short, or you can say that it's long, but either way, it's finite. Today's the last day just like today that you have.

There's no conspiracy in play, trying to turn people into slaves. It's simpler than that: people take the path of least responsibility, and thus put the control of their lives into other people's hands. Why do so many people give up the best hours of the best days of their lives? Because it takes no thought. Everyone else gets a full time job, so why not?

On Vice

On Chaotically Ordering

Vice is an interesting concept. We all have the traditional concept of vice; alcohol, smoking, drugs, gambling, to name but a few. I, however, have started thinking about vice in a slightly different manner, and it's the kind of change in thinking that's been haunting me for the last week or so.

Take your average guy (lets call him Joe, because I was a perfect example of this until quite recently). Joe comes home from work, cooks some food, plays video games for 3 hours, reads his book (fiction) for 10-20 minutes and goes to sleep. The next day, Joe comes home from work, sits down in front of the tv and orders a pizza with a couple of his housemates as a treat for working so hard. He doesn't drink in that time, he doesn't smoke, he loses no money to gambling, and he doesn't inject herion into his eyelids. Most people would say Joe is free of vice. I have started to think this is not the case.

I no longer think that vice is simply an addictive substance or activity, but also a state of mind. It starts when you think that you deserve a "night off" or a "lazy weekend" for a job well done, or for working a job that you detest. You take that time and you do nothing constructive with it; you play video games, you watch TV, you look at pictures of captioned cats on the internet. Basically, you follow the easiest path to waste your time. This leaves you most of the time feeling unfulfilled, unhappy, and empty inside.

This is our natural human instinct to take the shortest path to instant gratification. We see the book on finance we've been meaning to read, and we see sites like Reddit, or Imgur, and we instantly grab at the one that's going to allow us to see hilarious pictures. We mean to work out on Sunday, but our friend invites us round to get a KFC and marathon Star Wars, and before we know it we're cheering Luke along that trench on the Death Star. We are hard wired to take what is immediate.

This, however, is unfortunately a waste of time. No-one looks back with fond memories on that time they watched 9 episodes of the Simpsons; no-one looks back on life from their death bed and says "I'm glad I saw that video of the kid biting the other kid's finger". It's easy gratification now at the sacrifice of long term satisfaction and happiness later.

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