appletree

Economy of insanity and apples

Imagine for a moment a world where the currency of choice is apples. It is something that grows freely without a lot of effort from humans. Plant a tree, wait 10-20 years, then harvest. Depending on your level of ambition you can harvest just enough or a lot. But the thing about apples is that they rot. Maybe in a temperature controlled cellar they can last a few years, but hoarding apples eventually becomes an exercise in futility because who would want your old shriveled apples when they can just pick fresh ones from outside? So, in this economy, you are left with three choices: eat the apples, trade the apples, and give away your extras because soon they will become worthless to everyone, including yourself.

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Are you with me so far? What do you think would be the guiding principle in such a world? Sharing, of course. Since your apples are no good to you hidden away in a basement left to rot, the most efficient use of them would be to give them away in exchange for status and goodwill in your community. But let’s for a second entertain the idea of a psychopath in this economy. Someone who is only out for himself and derives great pleasure from hoarding and withholding apples from other people. How do you think he would fare in such a society? He would probably be considered more than a little crazy, and he probably wouldn’t have a lot of friends. The very word ‘economy’ actually translates into ‘most efficient and frugal way to accomplish something’. I think it goes without saying that our modern concept of economy is perversely distorted. Continue reading

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Why ‘voting with your dollar’ doesn’t work

The fall down the rabbit hole is a long one – and often very painful. Once you start to deconstruct reality around you, you tend to alienate a lot of people. They are perfectly adjusted and don’t need your philosophical musings, thank you very much.

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Vote with your dollars is something you will hear well-meaning sustainability-leaning people say a lot. I used to. I still do, to an extent, but it took a long time to realize just how difficult that is.

The idea behind voting with your dollars is to put your money where your values lie. If you are against animal testing on cosmetics, you make sure to only buy cosmetics that are not tested on animals. Easy, right? Not so fast. Did you know that The Body Shop (the most famous worldwide company for natural and ethically produced beauty products) is owned by L’oreal? I didn’t, and that’s when I tumbled into this particular rabbit hole. Continue reading

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Stupid pink bra (Being human in 2014)

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all this knowledge about how fucked up our consumer culture is so I just resort back to what I know and I go out and I buy more stuff. Recently I impulse-bought a neon pink bra from Victoria’s Secret. It really shocked me that I did that, because mostly I’ve curbed my impulse spending and I remember standing in line thinking ‘oh shit, I’m totally just going to buy this pink bra for $25 without thinking about whether I really need it or not, what else I can use it with, or anything like that’. I almost got a rush – I was feeling so rebellious.

So it’s not like I don’t get it. Buying stuff feels good. But then a few days laterΒ  while putting this pink bra on, I looked at the tag and it said ‘made in Sri Lanka’ and I just can’t help thinking about the person in Sri Lanka who made it. Day in and day out this person is making bras for pennies in the hope that one day capitalism will catch up with Sri Lanka and they will be able to get a nice job that will allow them to afford a nice house with nice things. Take all my days and all my time in exchange for a flat screen TV and a smart phone.

And if this is the ultimate meaning of life, I have to ask, what is the fucking point? Stupid pink bra. Of course, we now know that capitalism will never catch up with Sri Lanka, it’s barely able to keep the people it has already lifted out of poverty afloat and unless things change drastically, capitalism might soon set the whole world on fire.

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Cause that’s the thing, isn’t it? You look back on history and all these battles that once seemed so hopeless were against all odds, somehow, won. Slavery, feudalism, religious oppression, civil rights in America and then the world, women’s liberation. Although we have to keep fighting for them, they were accomplished to some degree. But global capitalism is just gaining speed every year. There is absolutely no end in sight. In fact, if you speak out against capitalism you are considered ‘strange’, ‘stupid’, or even ‘dangerous’. And for the first time in world history there exists a system that has proven itself capable of destroying the entire planet. It’s not just humans inflicting suffering on humans anymore, or empires trashing their region of the planet. Global capitalism is so toxic and ever-expanding. There is not one place left untouched. Mass extinction of species. Climate change. Dead zones in overfished, acidic oceans. Desertification. City-wide slums. Pollution and plastic found in the most remote locations in the world. And no end in sight.

We are trained to buy things and now buying things feels good. More people buying more things keep the system from collapsing but now the system is threatening our existence. Yet all the voices we are trained to listen to are saying ‘buy more stuff! You don’t want the system to collapse, do you?’

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So what do you do? How to you keep going, when it’s only to uncover more and more tragedy that you are powerless to stop.

I guess the same reason people always keep going. Because that’s all anyone can do. Keep reading, keep learning, keep connecting and keep discovering other amazing people out there. I think right now, in the Western world, in our material abundance, victory is the ability to say ‘fuck you, pink bra’, sit down quietly and make some art. Or food, or home improvement. Just make something. Write a story, even if no one is reading.

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By leaving a mark on the world, you empower yourself. It is your way of saying ‘I was here’ and I’m able to make something out of nothing – which, after all, is the oldest trick in the universe.

Stupid pink bra. It’s actually a really well made bra. It looks and fits well so I’m not angry at the bra itself. I’m angry today because I realized I’ve been tricked into believing my whole life that I was born into an enlightened era where the true potential of the human body and soul is realized. That is a lie. We’re still some distance away from the time where this ultimate mystery of the universe – this thing we call God or love or spirit – will guide our every decision. A time where we will be truly free to choose beauty, life and health for all things around us. These are still mostly dark times. Some days I really struggle to see the light. Some days I feel ridiculous for even being so consumed with these ideas when all I really need to do to feel better is step outside into the sunshine and re-join the hordes of consumer zombies who genuinely believes that happiness lies in the next Gucci bag that they will be able to buy. But life is about choices and I choose to live in reality. But man, it sucks. Some days it really sucks.

So I’m not exaggerating when I say this. Dear reader, thank you for reading. Thank you for allowing me to be heard. For being part of my journey through the universe at this time, when we both just happen to be human. It means the world to me and I hope you are able to find beauty in the little things, too. Thank you.

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Lorde: A welcome voice for a rising generation

You should probably listen to the song above first so that we’re on the same page in this post. I’m sure you’ve heard songs from Lorde by now. I’m very late to this party. I purposely put off listening to her album becauseΒ  knew I would love it and I’m still so wrapped up in my Lana Del Rey love affair. But damn, this teenager has depth and talent. Her music and lyrics are so evoking that my filmmaker mind is working overtime trying to think of ways to bring these emotions to life. It’s exactly what really, really good music is supposed to do. To me, anyway.

I think each generation has something new to say and finds ways to express it. It’s a little mind-boggling that I’m no longer part of the ‘newest’ generation. So like all old farts I naturally think the younger generation is frivolous and tuned into all the wrong things. Like cellphones and bottom of the barrel celebrities. Gah. Because I was so worldly and confident at sixteen, right? Anyhow, Lorde is a seventeen year old girl from New Zealand who hit it big this summer with her song ‘Royals‘. Which is a catchy song about not being able to live the life style of celebrities but not really wanting it anyway.

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‘Buzzcut Season’ is my personal highlight from her album Pure Heroine. It’s hauntingly catchy and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. And the lyrics, man. It’s been a long time since someone was able to sum up an entire generation, the good and the bad, the trauma, the challenges and the escape in four simple lines.

explosions on TV
and all the girls with heads inside a dream
so now we live beside the pool
where everything is good

Continue reading

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Get some real news on YouTube

Here’s a little secret. I, devout film and TV show follower, haven’t owned or really watched TV since 2004. As much as I love movies and stories, I really really can’t stand what TV has become. Reality shows are stupid, the news are Orwellian brainwashing tools (“War will bring peace, etc, etc”) and commercials are the biggest waste of human potential. They’re not even trying to sell us stuff anymore; they just assume we are already so stupid that we will jump up and buy whatever junk they put in front of us because they make it shiny and it’s on TV. Not that anyone has money to buy anything outside necessities these days anyway, so I guess now commercials are mainly there for tradition’s sake.

Luckily, none of this matters because YouTube has made it possible to evolve beyond TV. First off, if you haven’t done so already, install AdBlock. It will allow you watch YouTube uninterrupted and also block most ads and popups all over the internet. Sites will load faster, look cleaner and frankly I don’t know how anyone survives without it. It’s the first thing I install whenever someone lets me near their computer.

Corporate owned media, which is most TV channels, newspapers and radio, are not in the business of providing you with news. They are in the business of shaping your worldview in such a way so that they can continue to make profits off you. Keep the population calm and sedated while they pull strings behind the curtains, and when tempers do flare, it’s their job to direct that anger towards causes that won’t disrupt or interfere with the status quo, but rather serve to keep the population bickering among themselves. Mixing morality with religion and politics is always a sure crowd-pleaser (birth control! abortion! poor people are lazy?), scumbag politicians that are paid to distract making despicable comments can fill hours of debate every week, and if all else fails, nothing evokes more public passion than a racially loaded criminal trial like OJ Simpson and Trayvon Martin.

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My very favorite thing about the mainstream media is their innocence. Every day brand new things happen! They are always shocked by this so I can only conclude that they wake up every day with amnesia. No headline is ever connected with a previous headline and putting things into historical context is a burden they simply cannot be held responsible for.

Thus, we are constantly bombarded with ‘news’ that only serves to clutter our brains, rather than inform and educate. Because, if you hadn’t realized by now, an educated populace is the enemy of the corpocracy.

The only way to combat this is to turn the TV off. YouTube is all you need for news. Here is my personal playlist for some hard hitting truth about the state of the world. Continue reading

Anonymous-Wallpaper I Am Free

Brainstorming for Sustainability: Social media is mass hysteria?

I came across this interesting little brain nugget that asked ‘Is Social Media a new form of mass hysteria?’ and now I can’t shake that idea. Being a child of the internet the evolution of social media never seemed like a big deal to me. From 90′s message boards, to LiveJournal, to MySpace, to YouTube, to Facebook, to Instagram and everything that came and went in between, I just seized it, used it, and disregarded whatever didn’t suit me. But when you really sit down to think about it, social media has, and constantly is, changing our lives drastically. It is how we keep in touch with friends and non-friends, how we get our news, stay involved with our particular interests, share pictures and opinions, and in essence, shape our image. But we also shape ourselves. Continue reading

Stories we tell ourselves

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