Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Online Grind

I love the social media, I  embraced it with all my heart and I'm very active in almost all the mainstream networks. Through them I find avenues of expression that would otherwise be impossible or seem too abrasive if expressed in real life.

Before i go into it too deeply I have to qualify what I'm about to say by stating that I have made a lot of friends online...a considerable number of my close friends... Though after we meet, our interaction via whatever network we met off of reduces considerably. Also, some parts will seem misogynistic, but my friends can swear on their lives that I love and respect women. This post is kinda a follow-up to The year that was: twitter. When I speak of 'anonymity' I don't exactly mean a faceless entity...

I remember when I published this entry How To be a Kenyan onTwitter my timeline was a chilled out place with a lot of jest and friendliness. Malice was a foreign concept. Nowadays my timeline is filled with malice, and people who have this misplaced sense of entitlement by virtue of the number of followers they have. So statements like "...talking about me yet they have 100 followers only" are common. Yeah you are allowed to say what's on your mind but it seems I missed a memo about the number of followers being a source of wealth or authority. Marketers don't pay that much or constantly for tweets...

What I find most curious is we're creating a sub-generation of demigods whose only achievement is online presence. I get it, you have a lot of followers, go you! But what I don't like or understand is the whole celebrity angle. Most celebrities get on twitter after they're famous, or become famous after an exceptional talent they have is discovered via any of the networks. Still with me? So I don't understand how some people walk around with this smug attitude simply because they're "big" on twitter yet can't hold up a normal conversation in front of people or actually show why they are famous. Your only contribution to humanity is in a hard disk somewhere...un-quantifiable... Anyone with time in their hands can pull it off easily. If I follow you and you died, and I didn't know you, and got told you died, I would go to your profile to check the last tweet you made and based on it judge if you're currently playing a harp or screaming for water; then I'd unfollow since I don't expect any further activity from that least not in this realm.

I know twitter is a place where you escape the real world, to hide in and say anything or everything you can't actually say in real life; but I find it sad when the twitter world is your everything and gets to define you. You are seated with your 'friends' but you barely notice they're there because you're in your own world, online, maintaining your virtual reputation. There is something sad and pathetic about people whose social skills are so regressed they don't know how to interact with others in a normal atmosphere in person, unless everybody else is drunk...

[WAIT WAIT WAIT! Before you go on i have something to ask - Ed]  Ok. Shoot.

[If they annoy you so much, Ben, why don't you unfollow them?] Good question, Ed. I do unfollow people who annoy me but they have this even more annoying habit of making their way back into my timeline through RTs and mentions. It's as if their sole purpose in life is to annoy me!

[You also used to be an asshole sometime back...Pot!] Yes, I was an ass and I embrace the fact that I hurt a lot of people both intentionally and unintentionally, but I also took the steps and either apologized to anyone i offended, or told them to go fuck themselves because they deserved it in the first place. But I don't meet (new) people and expect them to revel in my awesomeness merely by the number of followers I have. I have to earn respect in person by assuming/acting like none of the social networks exist.

[What's your view about socialites?]  Suum cuique

[Bigwigs then?] Meh. Define the term...

gerund or present participle: overcompensating

take excessive measures in attempting to correct or make amends for an error, weakness, or problem.

The definition above isn't a blanket generalization. Applies to many people though.

Anyway, somebody once told me there are stages you have to go through as a man. There is that point your mom stopped being the center of your universe, when you learned to suck up the pain if you scraped your knee or worse. There's the athletic stage when you pick up a sport like football and learn team-play. The awkward teen encounters as you learn to associate with women and accept you'll never understand them. There's the stage you associate sports and/or intelligence with women choosing to sleep with you and not just friend you...further enforcing the fact you'll never understand them.

Anyway in Why Men Cheat, so long ago, I mentioned that by the mid-20's most men have identified their ideal woman. What I never mentioned is that men also need to fuck around to realize that most pussy is the same, pardon my french. So that to such men when faced with the choice between a really attractive woman and a less attractive one, more often than not they go for the less attractive one.  The Why is a topic for another time. Vanity is an ugly shade to beauty though.

My point is that after being with several women the objectifying angle disappears, and the number of women you've slept with ceases to be a topic of pride when you're with your male friends. The methodology in picking who you date becomes subject to the same factors you use to pick your friends... Befriending then dating becomes commonplace. Comparisons regarding women are drawn in discussion, yes, but attractiveness is secondary, still key, but secondary.

When social media came of age, adults who were previously awkward and forgotten kids found themselves in the limelight. You know those kids that got left out when you were picking teams for football; the ones who got to cheer from the sidelines with the girls. In the anonymity of the internet they rediscovered themselves. They realized they could project what they always wanted to be, and that is to be noticed and hopefully celebrated. Even the age range of the girls they target is telling of the compensation happening...naive, impressionable and fresh out of high school. Pretty sure they'd go younger if the law on statutory rape wasn't there.  I'm not saying that is a bad thing(sleeping with young women, NOT sleeping underage girls), not at all, what's annoying is the whole sense of entitlement angle that always crops up.

If you're catching up, go fuck around, do your thing, just tone down the smug especially considering: 1.) you're doing something people younger than you[i.e your competition] do without the assistance of social media, because...--lean closer-- they aren't late bloomers like you. 2.) You're doing something people your age did and got over, again, because they aren't late bloomers.  Being a late bloomer isn't something to be proud of. And especially don't expect a reward or believe you deserve recognition.

In a way, social media did to dating and sex what money did to human evolution. The fallen fruits, for the first time, got the chance to be eaten first, leave alone getting eaten at all.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Holy horseshit, batman, I'm lost

Yeah, Ben jinxed himself... Should have shut my mouth and continued to ride the wave of ecstasy that had become my "new" life.

Yeah, life sucks sometimes, large donkey balls. Sometimes I look at old people and wonder, is this what you went through? Over and over in never ending cycles, the ups and downs. How do they mange that? I'm not even 30 and I'm getting pretty tired of it. And no, it's not the depression talking.

Throughout the years I was suffering from clinical depression something kept me going, hope. I had the hope that one day my thoughts would stop being a source of endless torture and pain, for me and the people I love it affected. I had the hopes that I would regain a connection with reality and my memories would stop feeling like they were the experiences of somebody else. I wanted to stop going through the motions and live again like I used to. And finally i got what I least most of it..

I'm happy, and not a day goes by that I'm not thankful that I'm able to associate with my memories again, that I can look at my family and not feel like they're strangers to me who know and love the person whose body I was thrust into. I'm happy I no longer look at my body as a husk that links me with life. I'm glad that when I say "I love you" I mean it and it doesn't come from the world in which I mused or imagined what feelings are like. From the cogito ergo sum perspective, I am complete again. The moods I can handle better this time around...I hope. The friends I'd left those many years ago are still there, still my friends, just waiting for me to reach out.

That said, reality on everything else is somewhat different and my outlook is kinda jaded. Career. Am I happy with my job? Off the cuff, yes! I do love code and the endless possibilities it provides! But I am restless, very restless. The end, intended, which was healing mentally, was achieved and a little voice is urging me to move on. I never thought being appreciated when it comes to work mattered to me. For a long time I didn't care, but now I do. To add to that, I miss the feeling of the sun on my skin...and water over my skin...swimming. I also feel like I'm doing the earth an injustice by involving myself in a job where I don't influence any life but my own. Bear with me as I explain.

Growing up, I always wanted to make an impact on people's lives. I wanted to be the Mahatma Gandhi of my generation(minus the paedophilia skeletons). As a child the idea was achievable by being a doctor or a surgeon, but as I grew I realized the sight of blood makes me sick...and seeing human suffering at such a close angle would in fact make me zone out of my feelings which would beat the purpose of impacting people's lives positively since all I would be doing would be going through the motions. Negativity burns brighter for me than the positive...i.e it takes longer to fix myself than to make myself. Presently I feel like I'm not helping anybody with my work, true that beautiful websites are a work of art and the look of delight on my clients when I hand over a site does give me a push to continue developing, but nowadays it doesn't feel like it's enough...for me i.e. Is that what I wanna do for the rest of my life?

I'll go back to something I mentioned earlier, observing people at different stages of life. Why is everybody lost? I'm lost because I feel poor financially, but I don't understand why people who've achieved success(financially) are also lost... I really don't get it because my idea of not being lost is achieving financial security. Are we as human beings eternally locked in this cycle where our only goal in life is to get married and have money, then when you achieve it you still feel lost...

Business taught me, you can never have enough money, religious studies taught me money is bad...rather the greed for it is bad, society taught me money is everything, the media taught society that fame and money is everything, and environmentalism told me there are more than enough resources on earth for everybody if only human beings embraced their individuality and realized we don't need the same things...and stop wasting and destroying our home. I lean towards the latter most because that is the logic that makes most sense to me. Look at it this way, most of the time many people work to give their offspring a better life, the whole leaving a legacy thing I was talking about in this article. But what are we really leaving for our children if our idea of success and giving them a carefree life destroys their ability to enjoy it in the long run? A polluted inhospitable environment is not exactly what I envision for my kids. (I feel like this area I've moved into should be a separate article more focused on that topic... It will be)

I feel lost because I'm trying to embrace what society has conditioned into me. I'm not a rebel, I don't want to cause a revolution and change society's views, I just want to achieve inner peace and explore being me and being with those I love. I already accepted my mortality a long time ago; whether I die tomorrow or 100 years from now it's ok with me. If God is waiting for me on the other side, I'm cool with that... If it all ends when I die and nothing after that, it would be such a waste of all the experiences I've accumulated in the 'few' years I lived, but still ok with me. It feels like a waste because I want to remember and be with the people I love forever...

I love my job... I think I love my job. Maybe that should have been the title of this post...or maybe "I think I love life but I'm lost". Money is necessary for survival in our current society, and I wouldn't mind the chance of having lots of it, but I think I'd use it differently, not gorging myself. I'd travel, enjoy cultures that haven't been stained by our materialism and hope I don't leave my "stank" on them. That said, obviously my idea of life isn't discarding everything society has taught me, this same society gave me family, love and health, and my loyalty lies most to ensuring we continue to survive as human beings indefinitely. But I can't change the world without changing myself. To change myself I have to sate my conscience and remove this sensation of being lost. And since I know i can't change my world I'll try to get those immediately around me to see the world as I see is our only connection with our universe.

 I don't hate my job, I love what I do, really, but... I need to feel the sun on my skin more frequently, I want to escape to the untouched environment more times. I need to feel like I'm living and doing something for the world and myself...I need that warm fuzzy feeling inside because without it I'll always feel lost and if I get lost for too long I'm afraid the fire inside me will die again...this time maybe permanently....