The Decline

The papers are getting increasingly depressing. Next to the usual political jibber-jabbers, petty thefts and articles featured to fill up the remaining spaces in the papers, a large section of them is now replaced by articles that feature the domino-like (dominoes are probably a tad too severe. Probably a diffusion model where the concentrations between the separate regions are similar) collapse of the world’s financial insitutions. I don’t know what to feel about them. As far as I know, the damage doesn’t seem to be coming close to home yet. It probably wouldn’t be so much. At least I know the banks where our money is in wouldn’t be collapsing.

But the papers— nevertheless leaves behind a nasty aftertaste in my mouth— the same kind you feel after watching Atonement. I don’t know what I should react to it. It seems far away, but I know its coming and there’s already some signs telling of a global recession. And yet people in the Blogosphere, Youtube, Flickr, etc don’t seem particularly concerned.

The Vlogbrothers (Nerdfighters), a channel that I somewhat frequent, are still happily raving about ‘awesome’ and are still dedicated to reducing worldsuck by nerdfighting as usual. ‘Asathecomic’ is still talking about ‘real’ issues, about how Miley should behave herself. People on Vlogtv are still entrenched in a world of their own. Users are still desperately asking for ‘sub-for-subs’. People are still mad about their bands and singers. They aren’t somber yet. The bands are telling you to get their latest cds.

On Flickr, people are still taking photos. The comments sound as cheerful as usual, people are still asking ‘what lens is that’, ‘what film is that’ and ‘where can I get them’. And meanwhile, on a seemingly far away place which is significantly nearer geographically, people are dashing for their assets while a comment is made on how pretty the girl in the picture is and ‘who is she’.

How incongrous the world gets. I feel sandwiched between these all, voluntarily stuck in the alleyways, wondering why the different groups of people in the rooms don’t seem to be affected by each other, which is pretty obvious.

The virtualworld seems segregated— with various communities, personalities which seemed to occupy different rooms with locked doors but permeable walls that they don’t realize at all.

I feel that I’m bearing too much of a frivolous attitude to this all. What am I doing? Why do I seem so cheerful? Why am I still spending? Why aren’t I saving? Why do I still want this new bag and that new shirt which I don’t need? Why am I eating stuff which I don’t need to? Why am I indulging in all these luxuries blindly? What will become of me when I look back in retrospect?

And yet, I look around. No one seems to be caring. They’re either oblivious to this mess or there’s no mess at all. So which do I choose to belief? Its almost like asking if there’s a pink elephant in the room. And I tell myself again that nothing’s happening. As long as you don’t spend outside of your allowance, its totally fine.

And inside, another part of me dies.

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  1. Wahhh! Wait — was that last sentence related to all the rest, or did it originate from a different source?

    Every time I get an update about another crises happening in the financial markets I say to myself (really): “That’s exactly what those bastards deserve, good riddance to them!”

    Now, I know that isn’t the most mature position, but wasn’t excessive worry what led to the great depression anyway? If people had just kept their cool, the problem wouldn’t have escalated so badly.

    Reading http://www.robertreich.blogspot.com keeps me levelheaded about the issues. He is a professor at UC Berkeley and was formerly the U.S. Secretary of Labor under Clinton. He is also very funny in his spoken lectures. There are problems out there, but nothing that people really need to worry about — nothing apocalyptic.

    So I get a cursory understanding of the issues and revise my former position by saying: “Well, those bastards care too much about money to let things break down completely.”

    And besides, don’t persons such as you and I have higher values to think about? People care so much about money in the first place and that is why they get into these messes. Let ’em wallow in the bogs they’ve built. You and I shall climb to pristine peaks instead.

    October 8, 2008 07:21
  2. Now, you’ll have to excuse me for the ensuing long quotation, but your talk of ‘the papers’ reminded me of this droll passage from Walden by Henry David Thoreau and which I thought you might also smile to read:

    Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow. As for work, we haven’t any of any consequence. We have the Saint Vitus’ dance, and cannot possibly keep our heads still. If I should only give a few pulls at the parish bell-rope, as for a fire, that is, without setting the bell, there is hardly a man on his farm in the outskirts of Concord, notwithstanding that press of engagements which was his excuse so many times this morning, nor a boy, nor a woman, I might almost say, but would forsake all and follow that sound, not mainly to save property from the flames, but, if we will confess the truth, much more to see it burn, since burn it must, and we, be it known, did not set it on fire—or to see it put out, and have a hand in it, if that is done as handsomely; yes, even if it were the parish church itself. Hardly a man takes a half-hour’s nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, “What’s the news?” as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels. Some give directions to be waked every half-hour, doubtless for no other purpose; and then, to pay for it, they tell what they have dreamed. After a night’s sleep the news is as indispensable as the breakfast. “Pray tell me anything new that has happened to a man anywhere on this globe”—and he reads it over his coffee and rolls, that a man has had his eyes gouged out this morning on the Wachito River; never dreaming the while that he lives in the dark unfathomed mammoth cave of this world, and has but the rudiment of an eye himself.

    For my part, I could easily do without the post-office. I think that there are very few important communications made through it. To speak critically, I never received more than one or two letters in my life—I wrote this some years ago—that were worth the postage. The penny-post is, commonly, an institution through which you seriously offer a man that penny for his thoughts which is so often safely offered in jest. And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter—we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea. Yet not a few are greedy after this gossip. There was such a rush, as I hear, the other day at one of the offices to learn the foreign news by the last arrival, that several large squares of plate glass belonging to the establishment were broken by the pressure—news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelve-month, or twelve years, beforehand with sufficient accuracy. As for Spain, for instance, if you know how to throw in Don Carlos and the Infanta, and Don Pedro and Seville and Granada, from time to time in the right proportions—they may have changed the names a little since I saw the papers—and serve up a bull-fight when other entertainments fail, it will be true to the letter, and give us as good an idea of the exact state or ruin of things in Spain as the most succinct and lucid reports under this head in the newspapers: and as for England, almost the last significant scrap of news from that quarter was the revolution of 1649; and if you have learned the history of her crops for an average year, you never need attend to that thing again, unless your speculations are of a merely pecuniary character. If one may judge who rarely looks into the newspapers, nothing new does ever happen in foreign parts, a French revolution not excepted.

    What news! how much more important to know what that is which was never old! “Kieou-he-yu (great dignitary of the state of Wei) sent a man to Khoung-tseu to know his news. Khoung-tseu caused the messenger to be seated near him, and questioned him in these terms: What is your master doing? The messenger answered with respect: My master desires to diminish the number of his faults, but he cannot come to the end of them. The messenger being gone, the philosopher remarked: What a worthy messenger! What a worthy messenger!” The preacher, instead of vexing the ears of drowsy farmers on their day of rest at the end of the week—for Sunday is the fit conclusion of an ill-spent week, and not the fresh and brave beginning of a new one—with this one other draggle-tail of a sermon, should shout with thundering voice, “Pause! Avast! Why so seeming fast, but deadly slow?”

    October 8, 2008 07:44
  3. Wow, I’ll have to reply and really read through your comments some other time!

    Thanks for your comments, always. They’re often longer than my post itself! And always worth looking forward to 😀

    I’ll have to run for now, see you!

    October 8, 2008 10:36
  4. Wow, the passage, thanks for sharing it here. “If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter—we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.” I especially liked this. True, I think and it definitely made me smile. I shall check out Thoreau the next time I go to the book stores.

    I find myself getting irritable fairly easily at strange things. What happened to the financial markets is one of them. Feeling sick at most things in general. Essentially, the post consists of me yelling “What’s exactly going on in here?!” without expecting a reply because I know what’s going on.

    I think it sounded a little (understatement) ridiculous to almost anyone except for me and my future clones. But hmm, reading again, I think what I’m annoyed (at that moment) was not about the financial thing in particular but its just an instance serving to to illustrate yada yada. More about the frustration on how people are reacting to it. (Which I think isn’t justified for me to feel this way, but well, I’m more or less crazy.) If the financial crises were replaced with something else, I would be reacting in the same way.

    Like the food scares, the food from China, the toxic Nalgene bottles, etc. I felt the same way about them as I did to this. Funny enough, it was not really about my health. It was how I can;t stand them doing things that way. I often yell to myself “Why the hell do they want to do this?!” while reading the news those days. (Actually, I do know why. I think I’m frustrated at humanity in general)

    And I agree with you, “That’s exactly what those bastards deserve, good riddance to them!” xD Well, but people get dragged down along with them.

    Hah! Yeah, we have much better things to do.

    (Forgive me for any wierd typos or sentence structures or incoherent strings of words that make no sense.)

    October 9, 2008 15:19

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The Decline

The papers are getting increasingly depressing. Next to the usual political jibber-jabbers, petty thefts and articles featured to fill up the remaining spaces in the papers, a large section of them is now replaced by articles that feature the domino-like (dominoes are probably a tad too severe. Probably a diffusion model where the concentrations between the separate regions are similar) collapse of the world’s financial insitutions. I don’t know what to feel about them. As far as I know, the damage doesn’t seem to be coming close to home yet. It probably wouldn’t be so much. At least I know the banks where our money is in wouldn’t be collapsing.

But the papers— nevertheless leaves behind a nasty aftertaste in my mouth— the same kind you feel after watching Atonement. I don’t know what I should react to it. It seems far away, but I know its coming and there’s already some signs telling of a global recession. And yet people in the Blogosphere, Youtube, Flickr, etc don’t seem particularly concerned.

The Vlogbrothers (Nerdfighters), a channel that I somewhat frequent, are still happily raving about ‘awesome’ and are still dedicated to reducing worldsuck by nerdfighting as usual. ‘Asathecomic’ is still talking about ‘real’ issues, about how Miley should behave herself. People on Vlogtv are still entrenched in a world of their own. Users are still desperately asking for ‘sub-for-subs’. People are still mad about their bands and singers. They aren’t somber yet. The bands are telling you to get their latest cds.

On Flickr, people are still taking photos. The comments sound as cheerful as usual, people are still asking ‘what lens is that’, ‘what film is that’ and ‘where can I get them’. And meanwhile, on a seemingly far away place which is significantly nearer geographically, people are dashing for their assets while a comment is made on how pretty the girl in the picture is and ‘who is she’.

How incongrous the world gets. I feel sandwiched between these all, voluntarily stuck in the alleyways, wondering why the different groups of people in the rooms don’t seem to be affected by each other, which is pretty obvious.

The virtualworld seems segregated— with various communities, personalities which seemed to occupy different rooms with locked doors but permeable walls that they don’t realize at all.

I feel that I’m bearing too much of a frivolous attitude to this all. What am I doing? Why do I seem so cheerful? Why am I still spending? Why aren’t I saving? Why do I still want this new bag and that new shirt which I don’t need? Why am I eating stuff which I don’t need to? Why am I indulging in all these luxuries blindly? What will become of me when I look back in retrospect?

And yet, I look around. No one seems to be caring. They’re either oblivious to this mess or there’s no mess at all. So which do I choose to belief? Its almost like asking if there’s a pink elephant in the room. And I tell myself again that nothing’s happening. As long as you don’t spend outside of your allowance, its totally fine.

And inside, another part of me dies.

4 comments

Do you want to comment?

Comments RSS and TrackBack URI

  1. Wahhh! Wait — was that last sentence related to all the rest, or did it originate from a different source?

    Every time I get an update about another crises happening in the financial markets I say to myself (really): “That’s exactly what those bastards deserve, good riddance to them!”

    Now, I know that isn’t the most mature position, but wasn’t excessive worry what led to the great depression anyway? If people had just kept their cool, the problem wouldn’t have escalated so badly.

    Reading http://www.robertreich.blogspot.com keeps me levelheaded about the issues. He is a professor at UC Berkeley and was formerly the U.S. Secretary of Labor under Clinton. He is also very funny in his spoken lectures. There are problems out there, but nothing that people really need to worry about — nothing apocalyptic.

    So I get a cursory understanding of the issues and revise my former position by saying: “Well, those bastards care too much about money to let things break down completely.”

    And besides, don’t persons such as you and I have higher values to think about? People care so much about money in the first place and that is why they get into these messes. Let ’em wallow in the bogs they’ve built. You and I shall climb to pristine peaks instead.

    October 8, 2008 07:21
  2. Now, you’ll have to excuse me for the ensuing long quotation, but your talk of ‘the papers’ reminded me of this droll passage from Walden by Henry David Thoreau and which I thought you might also smile to read:

    Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow. As for work, we haven’t any of any consequence. We have the Saint Vitus’ dance, and cannot possibly keep our heads still. If I should only give a few pulls at the parish bell-rope, as for a fire, that is, without setting the bell, there is hardly a man on his farm in the outskirts of Concord, notwithstanding that press of engagements which was his excuse so many times this morning, nor a boy, nor a woman, I might almost say, but would forsake all and follow that sound, not mainly to save property from the flames, but, if we will confess the truth, much more to see it burn, since burn it must, and we, be it known, did not set it on fire—or to see it put out, and have a hand in it, if that is done as handsomely; yes, even if it were the parish church itself. Hardly a man takes a half-hour’s nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, “What’s the news?” as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels. Some give directions to be waked every half-hour, doubtless for no other purpose; and then, to pay for it, they tell what they have dreamed. After a night’s sleep the news is as indispensable as the breakfast. “Pray tell me anything new that has happened to a man anywhere on this globe”—and he reads it over his coffee and rolls, that a man has had his eyes gouged out this morning on the Wachito River; never dreaming the while that he lives in the dark unfathomed mammoth cave of this world, and has but the rudiment of an eye himself.

    For my part, I could easily do without the post-office. I think that there are very few important communications made through it. To speak critically, I never received more than one or two letters in my life—I wrote this some years ago—that were worth the postage. The penny-post is, commonly, an institution through which you seriously offer a man that penny for his thoughts which is so often safely offered in jest. And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter—we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea. Yet not a few are greedy after this gossip. There was such a rush, as I hear, the other day at one of the offices to learn the foreign news by the last arrival, that several large squares of plate glass belonging to the establishment were broken by the pressure—news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelve-month, or twelve years, beforehand with sufficient accuracy. As for Spain, for instance, if you know how to throw in Don Carlos and the Infanta, and Don Pedro and Seville and Granada, from time to time in the right proportions—they may have changed the names a little since I saw the papers—and serve up a bull-fight when other entertainments fail, it will be true to the letter, and give us as good an idea of the exact state or ruin of things in Spain as the most succinct and lucid reports under this head in the newspapers: and as for England, almost the last significant scrap of news from that quarter was the revolution of 1649; and if you have learned the history of her crops for an average year, you never need attend to that thing again, unless your speculations are of a merely pecuniary character. If one may judge who rarely looks into the newspapers, nothing new does ever happen in foreign parts, a French revolution not excepted.

    What news! how much more important to know what that is which was never old! “Kieou-he-yu (great dignitary of the state of Wei) sent a man to Khoung-tseu to know his news. Khoung-tseu caused the messenger to be seated near him, and questioned him in these terms: What is your master doing? The messenger answered with respect: My master desires to diminish the number of his faults, but he cannot come to the end of them. The messenger being gone, the philosopher remarked: What a worthy messenger! What a worthy messenger!” The preacher, instead of vexing the ears of drowsy farmers on their day of rest at the end of the week—for Sunday is the fit conclusion of an ill-spent week, and not the fresh and brave beginning of a new one—with this one other draggle-tail of a sermon, should shout with thundering voice, “Pause! Avast! Why so seeming fast, but deadly slow?”

    October 8, 2008 07:44
  3. Wow, I’ll have to reply and really read through your comments some other time!

    Thanks for your comments, always. They’re often longer than my post itself! And always worth looking forward to 😀

    I’ll have to run for now, see you!

    October 8, 2008 10:36
  4. Wow, the passage, thanks for sharing it here. “If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter—we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.” I especially liked this. True, I think and it definitely made me smile. I shall check out Thoreau the next time I go to the book stores.

    I find myself getting irritable fairly easily at strange things. What happened to the financial markets is one of them. Feeling sick at most things in general. Essentially, the post consists of me yelling “What’s exactly going on in here?!” without expecting a reply because I know what’s going on.

    I think it sounded a little (understatement) ridiculous to almost anyone except for me and my future clones. But hmm, reading again, I think what I’m annoyed (at that moment) was not about the financial thing in particular but its just an instance serving to to illustrate yada yada. More about the frustration on how people are reacting to it. (Which I think isn’t justified for me to feel this way, but well, I’m more or less crazy.) If the financial crises were replaced with something else, I would be reacting in the same way.

    Like the food scares, the food from China, the toxic Nalgene bottles, etc. I felt the same way about them as I did to this. Funny enough, it was not really about my health. It was how I can;t stand them doing things that way. I often yell to myself “Why the hell do they want to do this?!” while reading the news those days. (Actually, I do know why. I think I’m frustrated at humanity in general)

    And I agree with you, “That’s exactly what those bastards deserve, good riddance to them!” xD Well, but people get dragged down along with them.

    Hah! Yeah, we have much better things to do.

    (Forgive me for any wierd typos or sentence structures or incoherent strings of words that make no sense.)

    October 9, 2008 15:19

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