Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What the heck is going on??? In which I get serious. You have been warned.

I spend a lot of time biting my lip when I hear parents talk about their kids and what the heck went wrong. They blame themselves. My only response to this is: "no it's not you. . . there are other factors at play." Then because I know the scary truth I bite my lip because really it sounds crazy. Well no more. You'll just have to take my crazy witchy ass for what it is.

Ever hear of enclosure? Ever hear of zero sum game? Well I grew up with the constant lecture from my father about these things I know it by heart. It always starts with: we need a frontier because it is the only way anything will get better.

Let's start with enclosure. Enclosure happens when there is a limited amount of resources and territory. There comes a time when there is simply not enough, nowhere to go, and no way to get any more. It's like being in a sealed aquarium. Sooner or later the laws of nature say this system will collapse potentially taking the entire biome with it into extinction. We've seen this before in labs with bacterium specimens. It's an everyday experience there.

Zero sum game: hrm this is simple. You simply have to rob Peter to pay Mary.

How does this apply to our kids? It has EVERYTHING to do with the attitudes of our kids. Why on earth would they put in any sort of effort in to anything if they know that they are either going to be robbed of their ideas so someone else can profit or they have to stomp on their best friend to make it? Why would they go out and make any effort or take any pride in their work if they know that all they are going to get are the scraps from the king's table? Our kids see no hope, no opportunity and no escape. They are surrounded by school officials 8 hours a day who tell them to do one thing and then do quite the opposite themselves. Some of the biggest bullies are the school officials themselves!

Our kids are not ignorant of the signs around us. They see what direction we are headed even if they can not articulate what the pit in their stomachs are saying. They know something is truly messed up. They don't know how to get around it and they are acting out. It doesn't matter how good a parent you are, we can not shield them from the gravity of what this truth is: You can work as hard as you want, but if you aren't lucky or ruthless, you will get nowhere.

Personally, I find this truth to be as abhorrent and bitter as you probably do right now. Getting a good job should not be about luck and strings. It should be about skill and ability. . . talent even. Ask yourself this: how many American engineers are working at McDonald's or Walmart right now because it was cheaper to lay them off and hire foreign workers? Granted I admit I have simplified the the whole of the phenomenon, but I think you get the idea of how our kids are feeling and why they are behaving the way that they are in spite of good parenting.

Frontier Theory: Suite 101: Laurence Winn - excellent articles on why the heck we need a frontier and theories of enclosure.

Another good read would be Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Yes it's a difficult read. Yes the Author's real life was a nightmare of a train wreck, but don't mistake the message for the messenger. Yes, you will  probably want to throw that book as hard and as far as you can. The things you should pay attention to is not the arrogance of the characters, but the similarity to the things going on in the book. You could take those things and replace them with the headlines of our news stories today! Replace train with plane and man it's SPOOKY! If Atlas Shrugged is too much for you, try Anthem or We the Living. You'll see the message as long as you don't get caught up in the details of the characters and pay attention to the world they are forced to live in.

Our kids are the most precious hope of the future. The only way we can give them hope is to help them understand what is happening around them. Understanding it is important to the whole sanity thing. The bonds of enclosure must be broken. We cannot look to our government officials to do this. They are self serving and self interested aristocrats who remember what happened the last time the bonds of enclosure were broken. They are so NOT interested in anything other than their hold on power, price be damned! That's just the ugly truth. Our kids. . . they must be willing to  not only work. . . but innovate. I think the entire planet depends on them being willing and able. They have many obstacles including a propaganda machine that wants to rule them.

For the love of all that is sacred and holy, talk to your kids about the necessity of a frontier. Teach them about the tools of demagoguery and how to recognize them so they are not manipulated away from the truth. Help them understand that the road before them is not hopeless, difficult yes, but not hopeless. Introduce them to authors like Michio Kaku as well as JK Rowling knowledge and passion feed each other.

For the love of all that is sacred and holy, stop blaming yourself! DO something!

This moment of insanity was brought to you by THEM, who ever THEY are.


  1. Your post is probably directed at my post about my kids and me blaming myself or wondering where i went wrong. It's so frustrating!!! My kids are smart, talented and genuinely nice people but even getting a glimmer of hope towards finding a path for themselves has been like trudging thru 3 feet of muck in a swamp. I've talked to them about some of the very things you posted about and I get from them a feeling of hopelessness and pointlessness. They live a double-edged swords and a Catch 22 existance. They are stuck in applying for deadend minimum wage jobs that don't even pay enough money working fulltime to cover living expenses. They are turned down for college financial aid cuz they are told "your parents make too much money"! Ha!! Thats a laugh...if that was the case then why don't we have a huge bank account, drive mercedes and live the high life. On the contrary...not even close. The kids run into brick wall after brick wall...most kids turn to drugs and alcohol to cope these days. Too many kids I've known personally have committed suicide because of hopelessness. The government has f**ked everything up for the future of these kids and at this point all we can do as parents, is try parenting from a different angle. You are absolutely right!! Between the employment issues, the schools and the government our kids need to be taught how to live with it, how to work with it and a different way of finding their path. Your dad was a very smart and innovative man. Thank you for this truly have opened my eyes some more. :)

  2. What stuck out to me the most about this post was your mention of Atlas Shrugged. It is a scary thought that something like that could actually happen in AMERICA but it does!

    Also it is sad but true that most jobs these days people get because they "know someone." But even that doesn't guarantee you a spot because bureaucracy sucks and I have witnessed it first hand as I have been job hunting (mostly within the government) for over 4 months now since Graduation.

  3. @MIdnightSage: I know it's so frustrating that between the government and corporate America they have managed to capture a slave worker population in which most work for meager wages that sort of kind of pay the bills. It's like begging for scraps and then you have to fight with your neighbor to keep them. what we really need to happen will not happen at the hands of those who have captured wage slaves. It will need to come from private sectors.

    the thing about frontiers is that you need all sorts. Yeah sure you need some who can build you and maintain a rocket, but you also are going to need those who can grow crops, make fabric, use herbal medicines correctly, blow glass, catch asteroids, fly space craft. . . you will need people from every aspect of human existence to be represented. ( a good cook would be nice too)

    This is what we get when wealth gets concentrated into the hands of the few.

    I think what we need to do is teach our kids that yeah working for a living has to be done. . . but find something you love and do it. . . don't live to work. . . work to live.

  4. You are so very right and you truly opened my eyes to a few things. I've given what you said alot of thought and it all makes perfect sense to me. I've talked to my kids and they are feeling some hopelessness and "what's the point" feelings. We talked about what the government, schools and society has created for their generation. I just never looked at it from this angle. We were raising them like our parents raised us and it just doesn't work like that in this world we live in today. My second son has come home again...these poor kids are trying so hard to make it in this world and they keep stumbling. He is depressed and full of shame, now how sad is that?? Thanks sweetie and I really enjoy sharing with you. :)