“Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”

“If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. And what can this tell you about American culture? Well, look at the drugs we use. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”

― Bill Hicks

It might be quite cynical and controversial but I feel like Bill makes a good point. It’s the ‘rat race’, what do you win at the end of it? In the short term – Success? In the long term – Death?

Wikipedia puts it well:

A rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel.

In an analogy to the modern city, many rats in a single maze expend a lot of effort running around, but ultimately achieve nothing (meaningful) either collectively or individually. This is often used in reference to work, particularly excessive or competitive work; in general terms, if one works too much, one is in the rat race. This terminology contains implications that many people see work as a seemingly endless pursuit with little reward or purpose.

The increased image of work as a “rat race” in modern times has led many to question their own attitudes to work and seek a better alternative; a more harmonious Work-life balance. Many believe that long work hours, unpaid overtime, stressful jobs, time spent commuting, less time for family life and/or friends life, has led to a generally unhappier workforce/population unable to enjoy the benefits of increased economic prosperity and a higher standard of living.

Escaping the rat race can have a number of different meanings:

  • A description of the movement, of either the Home or Work Location, of previously City Dwellers or Workers to more rural locations

  • Retirement in general or no longer needing / having to work.

  • Moving from a high pressure job to a less intense role either at a different company or within the same company at an alternative location or department.

  • Changing to a different job that does not involve working 9 to 5 and a long commute.

  • Working from home.

  • Becoming financially independent from an employer.

  • Entering professions such as teaching/motivational speaking

  • Moving away from the city to the country and living in harmony with nature.

It’s certainly socially accepted and the norm in society to live like this. In cave man days, they would probably just get up when the sun rose and go to bed when it went down, in sync with nature. But now we get up super early everyday, work hard all day and go to bed too late every night, then when the weekend rolls around you might say we feel entitled to let our hair down. Not a great cycle for our health or sanity but it sure does keep us productive and ignorant.

So whether it’s a Rat Race, a conveyor belt, treadmill, or an invisible prison, I don’t want to be part of it. Life is ultimately pointless in the grand scheme of things but I could at least spend my best years doing something that truly fulfills me instead of chasing money in order to keep on living to keep on chasing money, it’s self perpetuating stress and meaninglessness.

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I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought provoking stuff. What’s your opinion on the subject?

Follow my blog by email on the top right hand side, and get weekly inspiration, videos, quotes and resources on thinking, questioning, growing and learning about yourself, others, life and the world.

 

 

Drugged up zombie or pretty much cured for life?

Depressed people’s brains are overactive in certain areas. As Laci Green puts it: “They’re ruminating on their own inadequacy and worthlessness to an obsessive point. This over activity is an illness that actually removes people from reality and the research suggests that magic mushrooms block this obsessive activity. People that took part in the mushroom test felt much happier in the weeks after taking the shrooms.”

Some interesting studies seem to show promise in treating certain psychological problems with various currently illegal drugs. MDMA as treatment for PTSD (http://www.maps.org/conference/ps13mithoefer/), Psilocybin (magic mushrooms) for depression, LSD for anxiety (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYFLWJ_Lwss&list=PL6uC-XGZC7X5cBSTMpx5koKmwWvHlu9Qe) and Cannabis for anxiety, depression and even bi-polar disorder (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYFLWJ_Lwss&list=PL6uC-XGZC7X5cBSTMpx5koKmwWvHlu9Qe).

When you hear scientists talk about latest drug studies, it’s mostly about what the chemicals do to certain parts of your brain and what that means, but never how the person taking it actually feels. Did they have a profound realisation whilst high because the cloudy pain of judgement was released, giving them clarity on a problem? Is that why it’s good for depressed types? Because it allows them the freedom to assess life and themselves quite objectively? I doubt just having good feelings and obsessive mind activities blocked for a period of time would create lasting changes after the drug has worn off.

I find it unbelievable that the humans that claim power over other humans get to decide which things we can use, even though they have been growing on the earth for hundreds or thousands of years. And I can’t believe that they would deny anyone with mental health issues or just a curiosity about life and themselves; treatment that could possibly do far more for them than any pharmaceutical medication could ever do.

We need more clinical trials and less ‘red tape’ to find out the possible break-through this drug might have on such long term hard-to-treat disorders such as depression.

Dammit government – let us fix people and make them happy again, without being drugged up zombies on pharmaceuticals for the rest of their lives! Let’s actually cure their issues long term!

“I detect a little tension I need some social medicine”

“I detect a little tension

I need some social medicine

so brake out the bread soda

make it safe to get to know ya

not bound by this tension

a little medicine

medicine can help me talk

and put a little swagger in my walk and

give me verbal diarrhoea

help me bond with god knows who

when i’m drunk that’s what I do”

“We’re told that to be great is to be bold, and to be happy is to be sociable. Our society disfavors shy and introverted traits. One way we manifest this bias is by encouraging perfectly healthy shy people to see themselves as ill or weird. Many adults work for organizations that now assign work in teams, in offices without walls, for supervisors who value ‘people skills’ above all. As a society, we prefer action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. Studies show that we rank fast and frequent talkers as more competent, likable and even smarter than slow ones.” – Susan Cain

“Shyness and introversion — or more precisely, the careful, sensitive temperament from which both often spring — are not just normal. They are valuable. And they may be essential to the survival of our species. Shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Shy people fear negative judgment; introverts simply prefer quiet, minimally stimulating environments. But shyness and introversion share an undervalued status in a world that prizes extroversion. ” – Susan Cain

So why are we taking ‘social medicines’? Social pressure to talk like a funny, charming extrovert? Not being okay with ourselves as quiet and awkward, because society says so? If people only like you when you’re ‘drunk you’, is that what you really want?

‘Social medicine’ can come in many forms – alcohol being the main one, but also prescribed anti-anxiety type drugs, marijuana, and many other illegal drugs. The problem with that is, it’s escaping reality, escaping yourself, potentially dangerous to health/deadly, and it creates a crutch to lean on which can lead to addiction. Acceptance and love from within allows you to use these things for fun and be in control of them, so I’m going to work on achieving that!

Just one more great quote:

“The act of treating shyness as an illness obscures the value of that temperament. Ridding people of social unease need not involve pathologizing their fundamental nature, but rather urging them to use its gifts.“ – Susan Cain

For more information on this subject, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/opinion/sunday/26shyness.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

A letter to my MP about the current UK Drug Policy

Russell Brand has influenced this letter for sure:

Here’s the letter I sent to my local MP:

“Dear Catherine McKinnell MP,

My name is Annie and I’m contacting you on behalf of myself and my partner. We currently live in Newcastle and wanted to contact you regarding an issue that we feel needs addressing.

We don’t want to take up a lot of your time so I’ll try to make this as concise and clear as possible.

For a long time we have both felt that the state of the current UK Drug Policy is damaging and harmful. There are many examples, over a long period of time that show the current Government’s attitude to Drug Policy is at best, not working. At worst, it’s a policy which does more harm than good and criminalises people who need compassion and medical support.

I’m sure you are aware of Professor Nutt’s 2008 unceremonial sacking as the chairman of the New Labour Government’s own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs when he reported his findings regarding reclassification of substances based on their harm to individuals and society.

This was an attempt to look into this issue based on scientific evidence, which is exactly what is needed. How do we know if something is working if we simply refuse to look at the evidence gathered rationally and objectively?

More recently the Home Secretary Theresa May forced through a bill which banned the substance Khat, against all scientific advice (http://www.drugscience.org.uk/media/press-releases/). Khat is almost exclusively used by Somalian communities in the UK and presented no clear threat to public safety at all.

We would like to suggest you read a recent article which highlights the current damage done by the draconian policy of the ‘War on Drugs’ , which we very much agree with and which explains the issues better than we can: http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/ending-war-on-drugs.html.

One consequence of the current drug policy for example, is that any substance which may have a beneficial medical or therapeutic use, is almost impossible to research if it happens to be illegal. We think it’s ludicrous and inhumane to retard medical research like this.

The MP Caroline Lucas is currently calling for a cost-benefit analysis into the current drug laws (http://www.carolinelucas.com/media.html/2014/02/13/caroline-%E2%80%93-we%E2%80%99ve-achieved-a-major-step-towards-a-humane-drugs-policy/) and if you agree with what we’ve said, we would ask that you support this.

There are many things that we are angry at with the current Conservative Government but their point-blank refusal to look at this issue and simply consider the objective data and evidence (this is all we are asking), makes us very concerned that this is another idealogically-driven campaign that harms the most vulnerable in society.

Thanks for your time.”

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I hope this had some value to you. Follow my blog by email on the top right hand side, and get weekly inspiration, videos, quotes and resources on thinking, questioning, growing and learning about yourself, others, life and the world.

I’d love to hear comments – whether it’s good or bad. All opinions are valid 🙂

The oppressed, the underdogs, the misfits

A side effect or a price that we pay for having this self awareness, a higher consciousness is we have the ability to judge, bully and oppress others of our kind. I really think it’s a shame and small minded to do so. You would never see a tiger oppress a dog because it was different, it wouldn’t care at all if the dog was gay, female, mentally ill or a drug addict.

But us humans can be really mean, when really everyone wants to just belong, be accepted, appreciated and loved right?

Imagine if we could extend our empathy not just to our family and friends but to all humans and animals? It’s hard to live on this planet as it is. Empowering instead of judging…

“People can only live a happy life if they can live the way their brain has been programmed, and the state should accept that, and guarantee them the freedom to live that way so long as they don’t harm others. You should have the freedom to live as a homosexual, a transsexual, a heterosexual, and be protected by the state.” – Dick Swaab

We should stop obsessing so much about the differences and look at the similarities between us all.

Where oppression needs more empathy, compassion and understanding:

– Sexuality (gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, a-sexuals, pan-sexuals…)
– Gender (male, female, transexual, transvestite, androgynus…)
– Race
– Drug addiction/abuse – legal and illegal
– Elderly
– Disabled
– Mentally ill
– Introverts
– Religious and non-religious types
– People who don’t belong in the justice system
– Honest people on the dole or benefits

– Did I miss any?

Anything that doesn’t fit the majority opinion of the population in at least western societies, gets cast out as weird and wrong and the rest are selected to be celebrated and pushed onto others. Is that more about them than us? – Just look at the way some straight people see gay people getting married as weakening the meaning of traditional marriage etc. Their identities and world views are tied to these outside things so tightly that for someone to come along and be different to that, makes them feel more insecure and challenges their identity.

Philip Seymour Hoffman has just died from a drug overdose, along with many other celebrities and people no one knows. Anyone can become addicted to drugs, you just have to have them available and have an addictive personality, or have lots of pain and suffering. How can we judge someone who is suffering or someone’s personality which they can’t control?

For the oppressors – you might be able to judge us and hate us, but control is an illusion, you can’t change what is inevitable and what is natural. Would love to hear anyone’s thoughts!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

Leaving you with two great songs around these subjects!
The world needs love:
And people need compassion and empathy, anyone could become homeless if they’re unlucky enough:

If Beer Ads Were Forced to Be Honest

“It will make you feel different than you usually do, in a good way but the next day it will feel like you were poisoned, which you were.”

 

The fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal and socially accepted as the way to enjoy yourself when they are among the most harmful and dangerous drugs, killing thousands of people every year is illogical and ridiculous to me.

 

There’s a chart here for the harm caused by drugs:http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2010/11/drugs_cause_most_harm Ecstasy, LSD and Mushrooms near the bottom of the list, causing the least harm to self and others but yet are still regarded as class A drugs!

 

Alcohol and tobacco are in the top 6 drugs that cause the most harm to self and others, but it’s not made illegal because the public would go berserk and our government makes a lot of money from taxing alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol especially, keeps you dumb, numb and unaware of what’s going on around you, so I can’t help but wonder if there is something more to the laws in place for these drugs because they’re sure not looking at the actual facts…

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I hope this had some value to you. Follow my blog by email on the top right hand side, and get weekly inspiration, videos, quotes and resources on thinking, questioning, growing and learning about yourself, others, life and the world.

I’d love to hear comments – whether it’s good or bad. All opinions are valid 🙂

What if non-violent offenders got therapy instead of going to prison?

Getting therapy for non-violent offenders would probably be much less costly than keeping them alive in prison and it would be much better for their rehabilitation, mental health and for society when they’re done.

Piper Kerman has learnt some strong life lessons while doing time in prison, taking responsibility for her mistakes. She wants people to tell their stories from behind prison walls, and believes that when people know the real stories of real people, they will realise that America’s incarceration mania is a real problem. America locks up more of it’s people than any other nation in the world, laws grow and tighten. Kerman expresses that American governments put people in prison who are “inconvenient, mentally ill, people who are addicts. People who are shut out of the new economy, and this needs to change.”

I believe the worst criminals like Murderers, psychos, rapists and child molesters, have a brain that’s wired up differently to normal people. They lack empathy and get satisfaction from hurting others, and I believe people like that will never ever learn from justice and punishment, they lack the capabilities to change their brains in such a way. And it’s not helpful to expect them to learn from their actions. They were born like that, and might also have had a traumatic and horrific upbringing or event that changed/developed the connections in their brains that lead them down such a path of destruction and pain. So I think people like that need to be taken away and locked up so they don’t do harm to other people. And at the same time, research how people like that become so fucked up in the first place and start to do something about the actual root cause instead of just the symptom.

Sentences are given to:

  • punish offenders
  • protect the public
  • change an offender’s behaviour
  • ensure offenders do something to make up for their crime
  • reduce crime in the future

This has been the way of things for decades probably hundreds of years but yet crime rates rise and prisons fill up. So maybe it’s not actually as good of a deterrent as the governments might hope it to be for small offenders.

Daniel D’Amico from LearnLiberty.org ask the questions – “are drug users likely to be cured from addiction by being locked up? Has locking up dealers and users lessened the demand for drugs? We spend billions of dollars each year on the drug war and continue to lock up hundreds of thousands of people. Surely there is a less costly approach to addressing drug use in America.”

“Many studies have shown that drug prohibition causes violent crime by leading to the formation of gangs and cartels.” Daniel D’Amico

We are all human with our own stories and I believe that some people who get put in prison don’t really deserve that fate. But no one seems to care enough about those people, in my opinion. No one cares enough to get to the root cause of why they committed the petty crime in the first place.

Drug addicts’s brains are uncontrollably addicted to a substance and they spend everything they earn on it, then they lose their job. But they don’t lose the addiction too, so they have to find some way of still getting the substance, and that leads to petty crimes. So what if, simply put, we had loads of places to help them get free from their addictions, (support groups, therapy, recovery centres) and this worked – crime surely would go down?

Sources: http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/why-is-the-us-prison-population-so-large/