Being human is hard enough

Screenshot anime GJ-bu

I am human too, you know. Just with more books. ^_^;

I have written a number of attempts to describe the reality of spiritual gestation, how the spiritual life begins as a small embryo, stuff like that. But it remains above my pray grade, it seems; I cannot express it in a way that I feel sure will do more good than harm. So let us talk about being human instead.

A lot of humans live in poverty. I am not one of them. Even in my childhood, I did not go to bed hungry. I wore patched clothes when I was at home and played with used batteries and tin cans, stuff like that; but I was never worried that I would not get enough food or that we would be evicted or anything like that. So I can’t bear personal testimony about that kind of thing.

In Norway, there is something like a security net that catches people when they fall on hard times, although they can get through it if they are crazy enough. There is also some resistance for those who try to become rich. Both of these borders are much weaker in the USA, from what I hear. I just read on Quora a highly educated and intelligent man describing his rapid descent into poverty because of medical expenses for himself and a loved one. Once he was poor, medication was hard to come by and his health got steadily worse. He was too poor to go to job interviews even when his health allowed it, because he could not afford to travel to the place where the interview was. Eventually his luck turned and he got a job where he could use his old high-income skills. If he had not had them, things would have been grim indeed. As it was, he was able to gradually improve his health and replace essential things for living in America, like a super cheap car.

This kind of problem would not have happened in Norway, but it is a matter of degree. It is expensive to be poor here too, just not that bad. Higher education is free, but you still have to live somewhere (it is pretty could outside most of the year here) and you still need to eat. You won’t get paid life support by the State if you are taking an education, but you do if you are just refusing to work. I am not sure about the logic of this. I suppose you could stealth educate yourself using the local library (in towns where there still is one) or a cheap laptop and the Khan Academy. But you are unlikely to get a job without an actual college degree these days, so sooner or later you have to go there, or be parked on the side line of society.

If being poor is hard, being stupid is no walk in the park either. Or rather, that may be what you end up doing for the rest of your life. This may actually be worse here in the zeroth world, because we need only productive workers with the ability to quickly adapt to ever new challenges and keep their skills from rusting. OK, perhaps not worse than in the USA, since we at least have health insurance for the unemployable. So they are likely to live to a ripe old age unless they drink a lot, take dubious drugs, fail to take prescription drugs, or eat immense quantities of unhealthy food. All of these things happen with alarming regularity, but it takes quite a bit to kill a stupid person, so they still tend to live quite a while. What they do beside writing comments on Net News sites is a bit of a mystery. But from what I see, ignorance is not bliss.

But even if you are employable, life is not a dance on lilies. People who earn more than me, and have nice homes and nice cars, still suffer. The most common reason is problems with relationships. They have unhappy marriages or almost-marriages, or are living alone with a screaming kid, or living alone and paying child support, or have troubles with their friends, troubles with their parents or children, troubles with their boss or their coworkers, trouble with their siblings or trouble with their neighbors. And almost all of them thinks there is nothing they can do about it. Either it is always someone else’s fault, or (in the rare case where people actually realize they are not anywhere near perfect) they are just born that way and they can’t help it.

There are also numerous health challenges, and even more so for our mental health. There is hardly a person who does not have a phobia or two, or a recurring depression, or an addiction or compulsion, or thoughts and worries that assail them and don’t take no for an answer. And if you are lucky enough to not have any severe disturbances yourself, it is a good bet that someone close to you is suffering, and eagerly sharing their suffering.

With all that, it is a bit of a miracle that there are happy people in the world. But there are. For most people this is the result of being in the right place at the right time, I think. But some people have a tendency to wait out at the right place, while others are rarely there to be found, so there is also partly a matter of character. It is not an either / or, it is about increasing one’s chances, not a guarantee for success. That is life in this world. This world is called Earth, not Heaven. It is not a world of absolutes, there is a random element in it, but it is not completely random, not by a long shot.

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