*Happy independence day! In this vlog I suggest that grappling with being an American starts with grappling with notions of capitalism which led us where we are today as well as contemplating what kind of capitalism moving forward would be of the ethical sort. Or can there be no ethical form of capitalism? *
*Why does America mean to me what it means to me?
*Ideology & nationhood/countryhood?
*Is America in theory cosmopolitan as opposed to nationalistic/ethnocentric like certain Russian, Israeli, Palestinian tendencies?
*Thinking about America I think requires thinking about capitalism– I think it’s the most inherent part of being an American
-different TYPES of capitalism?
-slavery & genocide in the name of American Capitalism
-what does it mean to claim your own land? Who gets to claim land & why?
*Foundation of America versus other countries: example, UK, Candada….
*Is the theft of Native American land a manifestation of actual capitalist ideology or is it just in the name of capitalism?
*There is no appropriate contemplation about being an American without grappling with atrocities perpetrated against the Native Americans
*I think capitalism as such is fair but I wonder if I am at all influenced by confirmation bias
*Capitalism is like democracy- both imperfect but the best options
*Some freedom & opportunity versus none versus ways to maximize
*Relationship between private property, creativity, self, privacy, individuality, soul, freedom
*I’m more than an American, I’m a human!
***PLEASE LIKE, COMMENT & SHARE 🙂
* *Living in South Beach I conceptualized my sense of self as that of a “starving artist” but to understand how I reached that point requires understanding how I developed a sense of self as an artist, from my admiration for John Travolta and The Bee Gees to my fascination with Charles Bukowski & Allen Ginsberg*
*Early morning gaffes
*Move to South Beach was especially unique…it was an act of pure rebellion…something I was “not supposed to do”; my act of rejecting academia
*The people who inspired me philosophically during my pre-philosophy phase
*The importance of understanding the artistic side of myself as I came to conceptualize myself as “starving artist”
*Around 1996: Discovering acting & John Travolta/Grease/Saturday Night Fever
-Travolta seemed to have charisma, coolness, the characters he played seemed to “get the girls”… made me want to become a “movie star”: my first major “dream” in life which I fantasized about all day, every day, while at school
(do young people still say “whatevs?”)
*Sometime between 1997-1999: Discovering The Bee Gees–> deeply romantic, benevolent song lyrics which I studied and which got me into writing song lyrics
*Around 2002: J.D. Salinger (he seemed real & unpretentious) & Alanis Morrissette whose songs didn’t rhyme which inspired me to think “outside the box”
*& then on prom night I discovered Charles Bukowski: he seemed so free, open, easy to understand, reflective, real (& I wanted to be like him)
*& then there was Allen Ginsberg: the 1st poet I read who was an atheist like me, and who moved me (inadvertently) towards irrationalism, “trippy” stuff, “madness” as a sort of philosophical principle
*I thought Ginsberg, Kerouac, & the Beats were the geniuses of their time….Kerouac’s On the Road made me want to drop out of college and hitch hike America
*Places can be like music, the way make one feel
*Some memories hurt to recall but still must be recalled anyway
*Nightmares of ex-girlfriend’s mother’s hatred for me
*Life & what we take from it as life continues…as we try to make ourselves better… & the memories that bask in us…
*Working at the liquor store I’d hear the song “Demons” by Imagine Dragons, which haunted me with bad memories of South Beach
*I started a lot of fights….how do I tell you about it without violating her privacy or mine? I was addicted to attention and compliments, I didn’t think I could help my negativity (and I didn’t try)so I was self negligent and maybe masochistic?
*I wanted my ex-gf to rebel against her parents the way I rebelled against mine….I hated almost anytime her parents/family was around and caused a bit of a scene once at how her parents could afford to eat at a nice restaurant
*That our relationship was going to end seemed hauntingly inevitable to me
*”Over My Head” by The Fray : another song that reminds me of South Beach and how I felt when I lived there
*I was closed to virtually all constructive criticism/useful suggestions people offered me
*I lacked the maturity to realize I should not have been in a romantic relationship at that time
*I thought myself a starving artist and wanted to be like Rimbaud & Baudelaire…two very depressing, pessimistic poets
“I managed to make every trace of human hope vanish from my mind…bad luck was my God”
-Arthur Rimbaud; “A Season in Hell”
*Some of the philosophical questions related to choosing where to live (proximity to those we love, aesthetics, spiritual refreshment, et cetera…)
*This move to Basking Ridge feels like a chance for a “clean slate…” ; a bombardment of newness (new town, new roads, new condo, new desk, new neighbors, new geography, new economy, new internet provider, et cetera…)
*A gaffe….contradicting myself about why three moves to FL in a row amounted in disaster for me…
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
*Montaigne’s sexism & cynicism…
*Another reason why I love Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground
*My love for romantic love goes back to when I was about three and a half years old…by about 10/11 years old I grew obsessed with Grease and West Side Story— both of which impacted how I idealized “romantic love,” “love at first sight,” wanted to fall in love on the beach, processed contradictory examples of theoretical romantic love (how to explain my seemingly apolitical, otherwise Democrat by default father and my former, very Republican stepmother!?!)
*My superficial, mystical, irrational notion of romantic love
*Prior to the girlfriend I had at Florida Gulf Coast University/South Beach I never really had a “serious” relationship
*I didn’t tend to appreciate girls for who they were, mostly just how they made me -FEEL-… even the first girl I ever spent almost all my time with (though we did manage to connect in certain respects…example: both artistic…)
***!!!!****!!!! Anxiety. Depression. Self loathing. This is an exceptionally dark period in my life and one which is upsetting to talk to you about, though it is important to talk about it nonetheless. Untreated mental illness and irrational metaphysical views are awful things to go through and can lead to behaviors which are destructive both to relationships and to one’s self. I know this, because during the months I lived in South Beach, thinking I was living my dream as some starving artist, what I was really doing was destroying my life and hurting others. If someone you know is suffering from a feeling that life is all bleakness, I hope you will care to brighten up their day some how, if you can, or try to challenge their assumptions somehow. ****!!!!****!!!!
*The horribleness of my time spent in South Beach must be understood in the context of my nihilism which must be understood in the context of certain psychological challenges and prior philosophical assumptions
*My nihilism: aimlessness and purposelessness (I wonder, is this a cause for suicide for some?)
*Suggested supplementary literature: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground.
*This was a uniquely complex time in my life mentally which I believe all starts with the intensity of anxiety I felt & which had been exasperated by a year of smoking a lot of pot
*Where did my anxiety come from? I hypothesize that it’s chemical– too little serotonin, since increasing it via Effexor has made my life significantly better: more calmness & self-esteem
*As a kid I was convinced that virtually everyone hated me; it was like a fundamental philosophical assumption which caused me to fear most people and experience further social anxiety
*Depression runs in my family. My grandmother (on my father’s side) for example, received multiple shock therapy treatments and was hospitalized for her depression.
*My esophoria (eye condition) also induces panic attacks, vertigo, sweating, shaking, etc, and I believe may explain why I couldn’t/didn’t color in the lines when I was in pre-school, as well as why I walked awkwardly, struggled with depth perception, posture, and consequentially viewed myself as incompetent.
*School in general made me anxious due to my view of myself as incompetent which led to more anxiety and depression as well. The twin psychological struggles became fundamental philosophical principles for me and smoking marijuana made it worse.
*Panic attacks– by the time I was living in South Beach– were interfering with the romantic relationship I was in. Though I had previously been prescribed Zoloft I felt too afraid of taking it and thus lingered on, untreated.
*One major symptom of the depression I experienced was a lot of sobbing.
*My fear that I would die young like Rimbaud or Jim Morrison also worsened my anxiety, depression, sense of doom and gloom.
*On the other hand (and maybe ironic, some of you might think?) my atheism, which was my ultimate gateway into poetry and philosophy, gave me relief from anxiety and depression. IT have me a sense of intellectualism and self esteem, but because I viewed most of society as brainwashed by Christianity I disliked and distrusted most people, and fancied myself uniquely free-thinking.
*On top of all of this, I had no real education in ethics (by that I mean I never learned about ethics as an official, academic, philosophical subject with a wide variety of essays about it) and so one of the only things I managed to value was my own notion of romantic love and that certain couples are just “meant to be” even if they lack chemistry and don’t get along.
*2 nights of political debates: very intellectually stimulating & culturally special (brings us all together)
*Most important election since 1960? Of the 21st century? For more on the nature of these revolutionary times, check out my essay about it. I think Andrew Yang seems to get it, though he did not get fair coverage from MSNBC at the debate. The Hill says he only got 2 minutes and 50 seconds of speaking time compared to former VP Joe Biden’s 12 minutes and 53 seconds. Did MSNBC not learn from the mistakes of 2016 and how unfair VT Senator Bernie Sanders was treated?
*These debates have led me to further develop and hone my political thinking and so I have a few new political thoughts:
-why should 1 person get better healthcare/insurance than someone else? If private is ultimately better than maybe nobody should get it as that would technically be unfair, would it not?
Humans are more important than moneyAndrew Yang