“Your life can NEVER get any better”…REALLY???

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by Kenneth Justice

~ Here in the United States we suffer from a disease called Ongoing Political Election Syndrome. It can literally be 20 minutes following the election of a new President, and our press will already start asking the question “which candidates will run next time around?”

Set in the fabric of our political culture gone mad, is the constant rhetoric spewed to us by all the different political parties, with each politician promising us that if elected, they will make our lives better. Of course, we know that there is nothing new under the sun and that a best case scenario when it comes to electing politicians is the faint glimmer of hope that they simply won’t make things worse.

Many people believe there is no hope and that our lives can’t get any better. Many people believe we are doomed to the situation we are born into and the various external factors of our immediate surroundings. My blogger friend Chandler Klebbs is a self-described “Anti-Choice Determinist” which is a fancy way of saying that he believes you have NO free will. That everything you believe is based on the way you were raised, the experiences you have had, and that you don’t have the ability to freely choose or make up your own mind about life.

A lot of psychological research would appear to support Chandler’s worldview as various studies have demonstrated that when certain antecedents are identified, researchers can predict with a lot of accuracy what behavior will occur. Take for instance Pavlov’s dogs; with the simple “DING” of a bell, Pavlov could predict his dogs would salivate for food as they had been pre-wired to do so.

In the face of politicians who offer us empty promises and empty hope and lost in the psychology of pre-conditioned behavioral responses, can we really believe that our lives will ever get better? Can we really have hope that things will turn around?

For many people, life really sucks,

—) Millions of single mothers are overworked and overstressed, struggling to provide for their children and pay the bills, coping with absent fathers and a work culture that seems to favor men over women

—) Millions of young adults have massive student loans and can barely find a low wage job

—) Million of elderly people find themselves on fixed incomes, struggling with loneliness and a lack of social connectivity

The problems in Western Society are endless. In an era when we’ve discovered how to produce enough food in the United States to feed the entire world, we somehow end up wasting massive amounts of it that end up in the garbage, and don’t even seem to try to export the food to starving children on the other side of the world.

We live in an era where contraceptives cost less than $9 per month, that’s less than two Carmel Macchiato Latte’s at Starbucks, yet the United States alone is still home to approximately 1.2 million abortion per year. No Virginia, the vast majority of those 1.2 million babies were NOT the result of a young woman being raped. They were the result of women AND men, who were irresponsible in their sexual behavior.

When we start to pull back the veil of Western Culture we begin to see a plethora of problems, there are so many of them a simple article like mine can’t even begin to address them all. And with each new problem we face, the question continues to stare us straight in the face; is there any hope? Can our lives get any better?

I believe the answer is yes. I don’t buy into the hysteria that our lives are predetermined and that we are powerless to choose otherwise. My faith in God embodies the philosophical perspective that there is something (or someone) out there, rather than no one.

I believe that in the face of your upbringing, your personal biases, your personal frustrations, and your personal experiences, that you still have the ability to seek the truth. Whether it is the truth in art, beauty, your vocation, science, religion, or philosophy, the truth is out there.

It is when we stop seeking the truth that hopelessness overwhelms us. It is when we stop asking questions and no longer talking with each other in positive dialogue that we become enveloped in blinded hopelessness.

The truth is out there, and I’m going to bloody die searching for it, because the truth is all that matters.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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9 replies

  1. Well said, Kenneth. I too think there is always hope – and I think we can choose between “positive hope” and “negative hope” (http://heroesnotzombies.com/2015/03/01/positive-hope-negative-hope/)
    I don’t buy the no free will point of view. I do understand that we have habits, patterns and elaborate reaction programs in us (not just in our brains!), but I think the act of choosing is one of the things which makes us human. I believe I am responsible for the choices I make and those embodied influences are just that – influences. I’m not an automaton…….most of the time! 🙂
    (By the way, did you ever come across William Glasser’s Choice Theory? http://heroesnotzombies.com/2008/03/18/choice-theory-a-new-psychology-of-personal-freedom/)

    Enjoy your coffee. I enjoyed reading your post while sipping mine! Thank you.

    Bob

  2. Another great post Kenneth. They always make me think. I do believe we are influenced by all those things you mentioned, but I still believe we have free will. I have this argument all the time with my friend who always likes to say “if you grew up with cannibals, you would be eating people”. I think there is a way to tell what’s right and good for a person (in general) and I don’t think it’s really all that hard to figure out. I read Ayn Rand and I think she had some really great ways of explaining it and giving examples of what she meant in her novels. I think most of the issues you mention come from the fact that no one wants to live a ‘good’ life anymore. I mean the way the old philosophers meant. Most people are WAY too distracted to think about much at all. Most people (including myself) like to take the easy way out. We’re raised up in this culture and we wind up following it’s norms. Most never question.
    Is there hope? I don’t know. Most of the time I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall. I believe in the libertarian principle of non-aggression. Yes, I still believe that is the best way to run this country and any society. Everyone should be able to do anything they want, as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. Everyone can live their lives to the best of their ability. To choose what makes them happy. To live their dreams. I HOPE someday that society will come to be. I do my best to make it happen soonest.

  3. Excellent! Those are the thoughts that have been mulling around in my head for a few weeks now and you put them into words perfectly. We DO have a choice. We can choose to overcome our “training” and change and be better. We are not dogs and relying on other people or a government to tell us what to do only makes us slaves. I HOPE too.

  4. Even I feel there is hope too in the midst of my difficult times to survive.

  5. great piece and surely i too would rather live a life with the presumption of hope only to die and discover that it is not than to live a life without the presumption of hope only to die and discover that it is so.

  6. “It is when we stop seeking the truth that hopelessness overwhelms us. It is when we stop asking questions and no longer talking with each other in positive dialogue that we become enveloped in blinded hopelessness.

    The truth is out there, and I’m going to bloody die searching for it, because the truth is all that matters. ”

    Kenneth, in this way we agree. We must seek the truth because in the end it really is what matters. This of course is possible for us because we both believe that there IS a truth. Someone who is relativist would believe that we each “choose” what is true. As the Anti-Choice Determinist, I agree with you more than I do with a relativist.

  7. “Many people believe there is no hope and that our lives can’t get any better. Many people believe we are doomed to the situation we are born into and the various external factors of our immediate surroundings. My blogger friend Chandler Klebs is a self-described “Anti-Choice Determinist” which is a fancy way of saying that he believes you have NO free will. That everything you believe is based on the way you were raised, the experiences you have had, and that you don’t have the ability to freely choose or make up your own mind about life.”

    This is true but it does not follow that your life will not get better. It usually does when someone analyzes their past and stops blaming themselves for the bad things that happened to them. In this sense there is more hope to be found in the no free will understanding.

  8. The game of life in the US is rigged and has been for a very long time . . . play the game and frustration, fear and anger will eat you up. We have been very carefully conditioned to strive for the most . . . of everything our greedy little hands can get.

    Tim said it best . . . tune in..turn on…drop out. . . . Drop off of the media market rat wheel . . . . Be all you can be on your own terms and you will be surprised how happy you can be. In this country all our needs are pretty much met . . . it’s the wants that drive us nuts . . .

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