Sunday, January 17, 2016
Sanity is the Scarcest Commodity
"When someone is about to drive their car off a cliff, make sure you are not in the back seat!"
One of the most interesting things I have noticed when I started writing this blog, was how many people become unhappy due to the actions of friends, parents, siblings, and co-workers. And if you suggest to them that maybe they should move on with their lives and stop trying to "fix" other people, they give you a blank stare.
"That's not Christian!" they say, "You're supposed to love your neighbor!" Perhaps. But loving your neighbor doesn't extend into fixing them up or preventing their ultimate self-destruction - particularly at the expense of your own life, happiness, and well-being.
And literally, playing Mr. Intervention or Mrs. Helpless Victim could cost you your life. Women in particular are routinely victimized by men - often lethally - because they feel they "cannot leave" an abusive spouse and move on with life.
But in addition to such extremes are people who just annoy the shit out of you with their victim behavior, or who play helpless all the time, and expect you to pick up the slack. If they are co-workers, this can be particularly annoying, as they place your company, or your department, in peril by failing to do their work on time. So, once again, you find yourself doing an overnight shift or doing someone else's job because they chose not to do it themselves.
When promotion time comes around, they get a big raise because of all the great work "they did" and you get nothing, because no one noticed you were doing the other fellow's job in addition to your own.
So, how long do you want to be a doormat?
A friend of mine ran into this sort of problem, compounded by the sexual addiction/cell phone issue I discussed before. Not only was his co-worker slacking off and failing to do his job (often because he was leaving work for sexual encounters) but he was walking around the place of business (where the public was present) with pictures of naked men on his cell phone. My friend was appalled. He could clearly see these pictures from 5-10 feet away, and it was only a matter of time before some parent complained that their child was being exposed to pornography.
And yes, it is illegal. Openly displaying pornographic images to the public can land you in jail, as more than one person has discovered after playing porn movies on the DVD player in their car. You can't just walk around with pictures of naked people displayed on your smart phone - or porn videos playing while you are in a restaurant. At the very least, you will be asked to leave. At the worst, arrested. Think about this for a second. You are a parent with small children, and the man at the next table is playing porn videos on his iPhone. Do you have to put up with this? Of course not.
My friend was shocked by this behavior, which started shortly after his co-worker bought a smart phone. And the decline in his work abilities coincided with the smart phone purchase. Suddenly everything was unimportant, other that what was going on, on the stupid smart phone. And this went beyond work, too. Try to hold a conversation with him, and he keeps glancing at that stupid phone. "Um-hum, I'm listening," he says, as he furiously texts on the device, "I'm multi-tasking!" Not only is the smart phone not a detriment to work and life in general, he thinks it is an asset.
So, what do you do? Do you complain to management? Do you have a heart-to-heart talk with your co-worker? Do you call the Police?
Well, again, if you see someone driving their car off a cliff, you might want to tell them there is a cliff ahead. But don't be surprised when they tell you they know exactly what they are doing and that going off a cliff is just a smart shortcut to the bottom of the mountain.
The key is to not be in the back seat of the car when it goes off the cliff.
And in this situation, it means
maybe my friend finding a new job. He tried the "heart to heart" talk several times - it didn't work. The co-worker only got belligerent and said it was "his business" what he did on his smart phone. But of course, it quickly becomes everyone else's business when the co-worker makes everyone else work twice as hard, because he is not doing his job. And it becomes everyone else's business when everyone can see naked pix from 20 feet away.
Yes, there are mental health issues involved. And mentally ill people, as I have noted before, are the most selfish people on the planet. And maybe that is all mental illness is - the ultimate form of selfishness. Whatever I want is fine, the rest of the world can go fuck themselves. And not surprisingly, the co-worker is a very, very selfish person.
So, what options do you have? Well, one is to just walk away and move on. You can't fix mentally ill people. First of all, they can't be fixed. Second of all, they don't want to be fixed (selfishness being what it is - why change?). Third of all, you are not equipped to deal with the mentally ill. Actually few people are. Even mental health "professionals" have a poor track record of cures. Have you ever heard of anyone being "cured" of a mental illness? Yea, me neither.
Now, I know what some folks will say. "Well, you can't just quit your job and move on with life, that's letting the other guy win!" But expecting "justice" in the world is just another form of externalization. And if you think through the process, you can understand why that is a poor option.
Say you go to the boss and complain about this co-worker. You're the boss, what would you think? Oh, right, the sad sack who didn't get a big raise is complaining about the "go-getter" who did. He must have an axe to grind. Better fire him. And that is often the case (perhaps always the case?) with whistle-blowers and tattle-tales. They may be doing what is "right" but they often end up in the wrong.
And then they quickly turn into "victims" themselves, complaining about how unfair the whole system is, and what a rotten deal they got out of life - more externalizing of course.
So, that leaves you two choices. Grin and bear it, or move on and find something else, preferably with fewer crazy people in it - or people with less crazy.
You see, it turns out that mental health - sanity - is the scarcest commodity out there. The world is full of dumb people. The world is full of crazy people. If you doubt this, attend a Trump rally. There are a lot of people out there dumb enough to think Donald Trump is smart. There are a lot of people out there insane enough to think he has the credentials and experience to be President of the United States. Bernie Sanders folks are about the same. We can just make everything that 20-somethings want in life free, and there are no consequences. That's rational thinking, right?
Act rationally in an irrational world, as I keep saying. How you become successful and how successful you are depends entirely on how close your perception of reality is to actual reality (which actually exists, so don't go there with metaphysics, please). If you think leasing a new Acura is going to "free up your cash flow" and "impress the neighbors" then your perception of reality is skewed. The good news is, you are only being dinged about $10,000 or so in excess money spent on a Honda. But you add up a lifetime of bad decisions like that, and, well, they add up to a ton of money wasted.
Think about things rationally, and seek out rational people. And when folks try to sell you irrational ideas, politely tell them the honest truth - but don't expect them to buy it. When all else fails, gently walk away - you can't fix stupid (or insane).
And there is a direct correlation between poverty and the failure to perceive reality. As I have noted in other postings, poor people are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories and the like. And the more you believe in unhinged nonsense, the more likely you are to fall off the economic ladder.
For example, I know a friend who is slowly working their way down the economic ladder from upper middle-class to impoverished senior - with the aid of a "Psychic Medium" who is helping them unload all that cursed money they inherited. If you want to believe that other human beings have secret powers that for some reason you don't, then you are likely to be victimized.
Of course, to me, it is pretty easy to see the reality of the matter. There are two possible outcomes. Madam X has psychic powers or she does not. If she did, it would seem to me she would be a Billionaire by now, having won every lottery in every State, or having predicted stock prices or other events. But, for some unexplained reason, she operates out of a run-down house by the side of Route 1 and makes a meager income telling people what they want to hear. Hmmmmm..... I think I'll put this one down as "no psychic powers" please.
If you find people who are somewhat intelligent and somewhat rooted in reality (the best most of us can do) then hang on to them at all costs. The rest.... you can let go.