Friday, September 26, 2008

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #245: Humans

This is another personal interjection.

I have seen people react to the lack of money in terrible ways.

I have seen people who have ravaged themselves with drink and drugs on their knees, hat in hand, silently begging for coins on busy Wall Street-area sidewalks.

I have seen a grown man drop to his knees and scream out loud, "I have nothing! NOTHING!!"

I have seen a woman scream out loud, "I can't take being poor!"

People have killed themselves from lack of money.

People have robbed friends and families due to lack of money.

We live in a society in which our ability to buy is the foundation of our sense of well-being.

People who have never encountered financial frustration in their lives are unlikely to have the emotional tools to deal with the lack of money. These people will be the most dangerous to be around. They will be the first to panic. They will be the ones unlikely to survive a prolonged financial crisis. They will mentally crack up. And ultimately they will kill themselves -- and possibly others.

The absolute worst people to be surrounded by are those -- of any economic background -- who have a sense of entitlement. I've done battles with many New York City landlords in my life. I've had to use Legal Aid for these court fights. If you've never had to use Legal Aid, it entails sitting patiently and waiting your turn. This wait can go literally from 8AM to 4PM. I've seen people enter Legal Aid offices and confront the receptionist with the demand to be seen Now. Being told they had to wait did no good. They'd break out in epithets and basically insult all of us who have been waiting with their sense of self-importance (which, of course, if they were so damned important, why would they need free legal services?). These people should be avoided. And if they can't be avoided, they must be smacked down brutally. They need to have their sense of self put into the proper perspective. A sense of entitlement is one of the factors that got us into this mess.

Another type of person to avoid is The Leader. This is someone who needs followers. Someone whose sense of self is derived from the implied applause and approval of having other people do their bidding. In the kind of crisis we are most likely facing, these people will be absolute poison. They do not believe in the sovereignty of other human beings. They brook no disagreement. Obedience to them is all that matters. Disobedience is seen not as a contribution, as something required to reach a consensus opinion, but as troublemaking. Walk away from these people. They will murder you. They will murder you and feel as if they have "done the world a favor."

Then there is the person who is gleeful that everything has turned to shit. They don't understand the dimension of human suffering a collapse into shit will entail. They are focused on the web of cant that has festered in their heads. They don't see reality, only ideology. They will pull you down with them into their death spiral of unrealism. They will drive you mad with their pompous speeches about principles and how the world needs to be reshaped. If only the world would heed them! When they pull out their pot to mellow out, flee. These people have never -- and will never -- be in touch with moment-by-moment reality. These people are like those who have never learned to swim and will grab onto you and pull you under too.

There is no room for entitlement, self-importance, ego, or ideology in what is coming up.

Reality is going to be ruthless in its challenges. Being able to face it squarely without an impaired vision and without becoming overwhelmed by panic and the crap others have inside their heads is what will help you to survive.

And luck. Never forget luck.

No comments: