“Were you here?”
1987 was not only the year I was born, but it was year a lot of events took place. As with any year, things take place that are burned into our minds that we never forget. You think to yourself, we as humans have evolved and inhabited this planet for hundreds and thousands of years. How come we can never have 365 days where nothing major happens? Like for instance, the beginning of the year we witnessed the Chadian-Libyan conflict battle in which a brigade was destroyed. That next week 16 people were killed in a train collision bound for Boston from Washington D.C. The rest of the month was no better, witnessing the suicide of Pennsylvania Treasurer and the defunct of a long standing department store putting many out of jobs.
The month of February could have been promising, but the Unabomber placed a bomb causing injuries to the store owner. Then March was a jump from the previous month when an ocean liner capsizes killing 180 people. The very next day a reported massacre took place in China when nearly 20 Vietnamese were executed on Donggang Beach. Little happened April until mid-May when a United States military ship was hit with an air missile killing 47 sailors. But only 5 days later, the Hashimpura Massacre took place in India where nearly 40 people were rounded up and executed. June proved to be calm, and the majority of July; but then the last day of the month tragedy struck. 400 pilgrims were killed during conflict in Mecca in Saudi Arabia with security forces.
August was a month of even more tragedy than the past two months when the Hoddle Street Masacre took place by a 19 year and claimed the lives of 7 people. 7 days later, Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashes on takeoff killing 156 people and one child surviving. 3 days later, yet another massacre in England, when a gunman opens fire, killing 16 people including himself. Over the next couple of months issues increased. From a hurricane that killed 23 people and a train collision claiming 102 lives in October; to 11 killed in a bombing in Ireland, 31 killed in London fire, a Typhoon killing over 1,000 people, 159 passengers killed in airline crash, and another airline flight killing 115. Coming into the month of December was another plane crash killing 43.
Now, as with all the bad, there is the good things that took place in a year; and this year is no exception. At the beginning of the year the Dow Jones rises 2,000 points for the first time, as well as scientist eyeing the first supernova in space. At the beginning of the spring, treatments were developed to fight the HIV/AIDS virus in the month of March. Over the next few months our economy was positively effected once again when the Dow Jones closed at 2500 points in the month of July. As the summer wound down, an artificial intelligence conference was held in September in New Mexico. The next month a rallying together of the first National Coming Out Day for Gays and Lesbians are held. Through all the good as well as the bad that took place in the year 1987, for the most part life remained normal. We all know too well the really bad things that happen in life and not the good. Maybe because these are the things that burn in the minds of people the most. But today is the year 2015, slowly approaching 2016; I wonder what the future will hold for mankind.
“What bracket are you in? What bracket do you think?”
Most of the general population feel that a person that lies in the 1% is someone who makes an income greater than anyone else, yet controls 90 plus percent of the wealth. This is true when looking at how much income someone has or their overall wealth. You’re considered a member of the 1% if you fall in the $300,000 plus bracket. This amount of income vary depending on what city you may live. If you live in a small Midwest town, then you’re doing very well, but in New York City, you’re still in the middle. One may think it’s crazy to consider anyone making this kind of money is middle class. People say if I had that kind of money, the things I could do. How do I feel sorry for an individual making this much money? I only make between 40k and 50k.
Well, in order to make that level of income there are certain skill sets you have to attain. For starters, there’s the environment where you come from or grow up. If you are from an impoverished community chances are you will have a harder time being a member of the 1%. On the other hand, individuals coming from a community where everyone is on average upper middle to upper class will have a higher chance of continuing this path. Why is this; why is it so hard to rise in economic status. One reason is that coming from a much higher income environment, you have opportunities not made available to someone from the lower class. Another reason there is such a vast difference is not only opportunities, but the thought process of the people around them. The mind frame of people in the 1% income is always about going forward, but the lower class can only se what’s in front of them.
So since we know the growing up aspect, what about the educational side of things. Some may believe all you have to do is go to college, get out, and get a high paying job with your degree. The problem with this is two things: 1) college degrees don’t equate to work experience and 2) a degree with no work experience from a job pertaining to your degree is meaningless. Basically what I am saying is that if you go to business school, but only work fast food or retail jobs in undergraduate school, this doesn’t equate to business experience. 99% thinking is what I just described, but 1% thinking is college degree, internships, resume, and references. It’s like applying to college all over again. The only people whose degree outright works for them are doctors and some attorneys. So when people say go to school get your degree, you only listen to them to get the piece of paper, but get involved in other activities as well. Remember that school is only a matriculation into a system of economy; ,meaning fall in line and get a job.
The next level is the job market, which is where one tends to rise in the rankings. Here is the place where people generate their connections and further build their networks. The workforce is also a place where someone can rise in their job if they know the right people. But how do you know the right people if you’re coming from the lower class. This is why it’s important to start building your network in college if you are from the lower class. This will help you land a great job after college by being linked to the right people. Now the right people are those who can help you get your foot in the door when landing that job out of college. Be prepared to kiss a lot of behind and schmoozing as well. Just working hard doesn’t work because the hardest working Americans usually are the poorest. Meaning going to work eight hours per day coming home and doing the same the next day for five days a week is not enough to persevere. You must do more, go to company events, socialize with upper management, get in where you fit in so to speak. Like I said before, prepare to do some serious schmoozing.
A lot of people want to excel and brings themselves up to another level. The only thing is that they don’t understand the many obstacles and games one must play to reach that next level. But with any level we reach, we aspire to move up to yet another place. With every level comes new hurdles and new barriers entry. So, let me ask you; you still think being 1% is about or how one thinks? Managing your money not letting your money manage you. All these things I named are what can either make you a one percenter or not. If you’re comfortable where you’re at fine, a lot of people are in this country. But if you’re not happy or not comfortable, get ready for the long road ahead of you.
You ever wonder what the thought process of creatures living in the natural world might consist of on a daily basis? Better yet, do they think or operate on a much higher level than we do as humans? As people, we feel that we are the better species because of the infrastructure we manage to build or the many languages we are able to speak. Yet there is still the lingering question, “Are we really the most intelligent species on the planet?” Let’s take a look at the human species, at what we build and how we build things. If you look at a house for instance; over time, homes have taken on so many forms. In the beginning of time we aimed to make shelter out of the caves we dwelled in, but today homes are highly innovative. A home can consist of everything from a sewage system to expel waste, fully functional basements that are for entertaining, and back patio areas for preparing meals. If you are in the upper echelon of society one can even build a home theater in their home, a bowling alley, or a ball room for entertaining guest.
Crafting a home makes us highly skilled, but does that equate into intellect. I believe that humans in whatever time period are only as smart as the top few percent in the past before that period. Meaning, the ingenuity of the average person today, is an accomplishment equal to that of the smartest people in the past. Only a few chosen percent of people on earth are what I describes as possessing intellectual capital. The majority of people on earth are end users. So, with that said, I don’t feel we are the most intellectual, but when it comes to survival of the fittest, we can’t be overcame through battle by any other plant or animal. I don’t think we are the most fit to survive as humans, but higher on the food chain in case of times of conflict. But still, none of these things are intellect driven actions.
Well, intellect is defined as the ability to learn and reason. Wait a minute, humans are not the only ones that can learn and reason. To learn is to acquire knowledge and to reason is to make sense of something. This means viruses, plants, and animals are intellectual . Viruses are intellectual such as AIDS which can learn, it adapts, it mutates. It may not seem like an intellectual being, but it is one of the most deadly viruses known to man with no cure. I wonder what do they think about the world around them. Meaning if our planet is what we live in, then our bodies are a world of its own to viruses. AIDS attacks the body with a vengeance until we die, and then there is nothing to host off of anymore. I would compare this relationship to locust, except locust move on to the next crop field, while the viruses die. In addition, viruses make rational decisions and are quite calculated. They are rational decision makers because they attack the cells of the body for themselves to thrive off of to live. This is quite rational, now on the other hand, calculated decision making is what viruses do as well. AIDS attacks red blood cells, sending a signal to bring white blood cells, then the AIDS virus obliterates both cells; weakening the immune system.
The virus example makes them very intellectual in their pursuit to survive. But plants and animals are intellectual as well. Plants think and learn in ways that enable them to thrive in their ecosystem. For example, trees catch fire; while we call it a tragedy, trees need to do this, which is natural. Sometimes they need to clear the area for new life to come about. Animals learn and think by way of experiences and natural occurrences as well. Animals gathering food and hibernating makes them more intellectual than us as humans. When we see them gathering food, it’s cute and amusing, but by gathering these eatables they are ahead of us. We don’t start preparing until winter is almost here.
I guess these are lessons to be learned. When we observe nature, to us they are the lesser, but in reality they are fast at work. Only in times when we are not productive do we take a moment to acknowledge these creatures at work. Or maybe it’s just me noticing these things in our natural world. Maybe I’m the only one studying, wondering, hoping these plants and animals think and learn the same as we do.
What seems far-fetched is actually closer than you think.
Most of us spend our entire lives wondering what’s out there for us. We live our lives with the what ifs in life. What if I followed my passion? What if I asked that person out on a date? What if I would have applied to that school of my choice? We look from a far, not realizing how attainable the things we want most really are in life. The reason being that taking chances are scary because we fear failure. Failure makes us feel uncomfortable because no one wants to fall flat on their face. No one wants to look embarrassed in front of their family or peers. But like the best selling author Marianne Williamson once said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” “It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” This quote is quite interesting because we think that most people fear failure as I explained previously, but Marianne opened my mind to the idea of success being terrifying.
Success is something we never consider when not attempting to act on our wants in life. Success is scary because the more you achieve the more people want from you. If you fail, people tend to fall way down; which is why we purposely sabotage ourselves sometimes. We don’t want to set ourselves up to fall too hard, so we ignore and put aside our possible achievements so as to not look too bad in front of others. The other reason to fear success is because we don’t want others around us to feel less than because their talents may not be up to par with ours. This is what Marianne Williamson meant by, “There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so others won’t feel insecure around you.”
Great quote, have you ever felt uncomfortable in an environment where people stare at you while someone praises your work or success? It can make the person being praised feel awkward because the people in their presence might not be at the same level of the praised. This feeling couldn’t be anymore wrong, actually most people are inspired by the praise the praised are getting. The confidence of as well of a successful person will give others the feeling that they can go out and achieve the same things as their counterparts. I myself have dealt with the idea of not wanting to achieve out of fear; fear of not continuously living up to everyone’s expectations, fear of running out of steam, and fear of people wanting something from me I am unable to provide for them.
We all have reasons for why we don’t pursue dreams, and sit on a window seal and watch others pursue from afar. Looking from far away seems a lot easier; there isn’t as many let downs in life. That’s right, play things safe, go to work, get your check every two weeks, and let that be it. But in the back of our minds we think what if. What if I pursue my dreams? Well the choice is yours, to pursue or not to pursue. But remember, no one is stopping you from pursuing your dreams. The only one that’s stopping you from doing anything is you.
You ever really wonders what happens after we die?
When we die the held belief is that the soul leaves the body and ascends to the heavens. As we reach the gates of heaven, we will be judged over the span of our lives. Judged on our good deeds as well as our bad. And hopefully we have more good things in life that God approves of than bad. We all dream of those gates opening, and walking right on through as we meet and greet those who died before us. We will see our friends and families who have waited our arrival. We will embrace and reminisce about the times we spent together. Only this time we are able to spend an eternity together. Imagine that, eternal life together and not a care nor worry. A place in which we all feast and not one person goes to sleep hungry. Enough water to quench the thirst of a multitude of people and in this kingdom everyone will have a mansion. Well all of these beliefs are what we come to know as religious and/or spiritual happenings. No matter what religion you belong to, they all have to some degree an ideology about what happens as we leave this world and pass on into another. But have you ever asked yourself, what if? What if there isn’t another place and this is it? What if the bible is merely a way to live your life here on earth? What if heaven is the here and now? How would this effect people on earth?
For the longest we as humans seek to understand the afterlife, but let’s say this is it. Let’s assume heaven is this inner peace one must have to live here. Well, that means whatever a human experiences here on earth is what their ultimate existence will be. Why is that so difficult for people to come to terms with in regards to death? Why can’t we accept this as it? Why must we feel special about ourselves? One of the reasons being that people treat each other with such disrespect, with such disdain. We live on earth day-to-day with so many struggles that make living on this planet difficult. Man has set up society by putting into place various forms of living such as democracies, caste systems, as well as other forms of governmental and social order of structuring society. This is very unfair, why should I have to be born into an unfair world? Why is life unfair?
Well, life is fair people aren’t. Life gives everyone water to drink and air to breathe. Humans have found a way to regulate the water and air we breathe which makes life unfair. There is enough water on earth for all of humanity, but we waste it, we regulate, we consume it at levels of more than we need. Reasons such as these aim to understand why people can’t believe that this is all we have in this world. Once a person feels this is it, there is a complete lack of motivation. Logically, it would make sense to not move anywhere in life if you know this is it. That’s why religion is important, religion tends to be viewed as the reason to do anything. If you are from poverty and there is no belief in an afterlife what is the real reason to do anything. The only individuals who will get upset are those that fall in the category of the haves; have nots aren’t interested in progressing. So even the most atheist of people realize the need for religion. Man is an archaic species who needs to look outside of ones’ self because we have not yet learned to depend on each other. The closer we come to each other, the less man feels we need religion because we feel we don’t need anything greater than what’s on earth.
Overall, in my opinion the belief in God will never go away. The more advanced we get the further we’re actually getting from each other. Technology has made us more distant than ever. No one makes eye contact with the other person, we all stare down at our phones. With such impersonal behavior, need for something outside of self is relevant more than ever. So either people will be closer to God, or weather away into nothingness. So now, until whenever, people will remain close to a higher power until they are proved wrong or something happens that changes their outlook.
$39 per hour is the amount! $39 per hour is the minimum one must make to live comfortably on average in New York City. That is the amount per hour when observing over all five boroughs. Now when breaking down each individual borough it could be an even higher wage, especially if you live in Manhattan. And finding an apartment can be the worst, with landlords refusing to lease space to an occupant who isn’t making at least 30 – 40 times the rent amount. That’s right 30 -40 times, some places are as high as 50-60. This sounds ridiculous considering the average rent in New York City is approximately $3,000. So, you mean that if my rent is $3,000 per month. I must make in the range of $90,000 to $180,000 to pay for a basic apartment. Now, to add insult to injury, this doesn’t include the utilities, transportation, food, personal items, and God forbid you have children. In some neighborhoods upwards of $1 million income is still considered middle class. Whose making an income which allows themselves the ability to afford such a high priced city? I remember when I first went out into the city looking for apartments. There was one landlord who told me I must make at least 40 times the rent amount each month. Really, 40 times, ok, I’m not staying in that place. So what did I do, with my $9 per hour job and assistance from back home; I decided to rent a sublet.
And for those of you who don’t know what a sublet is, move to this city. In your city, a sublet may sound crazy, but not in New York City, especially living in Manhattan. Uh huh, I placed the key into the door of my sublet, turned the knob and for $900 per month I got myself a nice 150 – 200 square foot apartment. (Loud coughing noises) Oooo, pardon me, but when I was informed of this amount, coming from the Midwest I thought the broker was out of her mind. I pay how much for this here? They just say it like that, and with a straight face. I thought to myself $9 per hour for about 25 hours on the job and I got $900 before taxes each month. Then I asked my neighbor, how much she was paying for her spot because I’d rather have that one. She agreed to swap because she needed the extra space, so I now pay $750 for 90 square feet.
How nice, and to think there are more expensive, less spacious apartments in New York. There’s no wonder why the homeless population has risen so high over the recent years. Wages are remaining at an equilibrium while real estate is increasing. The question I need to ask is, who in the hell is purchasing in this city? I mean supply and demand drives a marketplace. If the prices are rising, is that the sign of more buyers coming into the market, right? I know what it is, those damn foreigners; that’s who. When looking at a country like China for instance, they have a middle class population the size of our country’s population; maybe that’s whose moving into the city driving the prices up. And let’s not forget all those Europeans flocking to New York City. You’ll see them if you come to New York City; with their Canon cameras and long lenses. They call themselves admiring the architecture and basking in the culture, but I know what they’re really up to in this city; they’re scouting. They are gazing at all the opportunities this city has to offer before piling in and moving us all out.
Whatever the case may be, New York City is not only expensive, it’s too damn expensive. Hell, at this rate I may have to resort to taking on a side job as a phone sex operator or gigolo; I hear they make descent money. Some people would say not to complain; living in New York City is a privilege not a right. No one is making you live here, and they would be right. This land we call America is vast and wide. Hell, I could throw a dart and land on any place I’d like to live. But you know what, I don’t want to live just anywhere. I love the masses of people, the culture, the variety of ethnic cuisines and diverse groups of people. I love seeing the models dressed in all Black with their portfolios in hand, running to their next shoot. Or how about the bright lights that make up Times Square. Oh, and what about long walks through Central Park, lounging in Herald Square, and people watching in Union Square. When thinking of the positives that come with the city they outweigh the negatives. Well, as expensive as the city may be, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I miss my city back in the Midwest, but would still keep my part-time job here and crappy apartment, for millions of dollars and a mansion back home. Wait, wait, wait, let me correct myself.; but would still keep my employment position here and studio apartment, for a little more income and living space back home.
No one prepares you for the life you’re going to encounter once you are no longer in school. When I say school, I’m referring to your entire undergraduate career. As a child you’re taught that going off to college and getting your degree is a way toward a life of stability. But what you quickly learn is that major adjustments will take place as well as letdowns once school is over. Some obvious adjustments are not waking up when you want to and going to sleep whenever. I’m still thinking about undergraduate school where I would sleep until noon are go to bed at 2:00 a.m. Who cares, doesn’t really matter because what’s that saying again when you’re in college, “C’s get degrees.” Grades are another really important discussing point. Grades in school won’t matter once you leave college. No one cares that you spent the bulk of your collegiate career on the Dean’s List or toiled late nights in the library studying. I have never been on an interview where I was asked how many hours per night did I study. Not once did the employer ask for my GPA in school or if I even paid attention in class. The fact of the matter is that no one really cares because you’ll be lumped into one big working space with everyone else.
We all would like to believe that the late night party goers and the late night book worms differ in success after school. The reality is that most likely an A+ student will be working along side the same guy who was vomiting in the bushes on a Friday night. The loose girl who was known for hooking up with random athletes on campus will be the coworker of a female whose waiting until marriage to have sex. How come no one tells you this when you’re going off to college? How come no one explains to you how little your college education will be brought up in a casual conversation? Don’t get me wrong, if you went to one of America’s top tier schools: Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, etc., employers will be creaming in their pants. But the facts are that the greater percentage of students won’t get into these institutions. So what’s left out there for the rest of us that didn’t get into one of America’s top institutions?
Is this the real America? A nation where we are cultivating students and prepping only a chosen few to run things, while the rest just twiddle their fingers or slave for a living. Looing at the outside in, college is this place where you walk through the doors and receive this aw-inspiring knowledge that you can conquer the world. Only you’re taught how to shut-up and follow orders. So all that challenging the theories of your professor won’t work on a job. All the times you were asked to contribute your input is no longer needed after college. If you’re lucky you might be asked to sit in and listen to the more important people talk. These are some major letdowns when you think about all the high expectations in life. Not to say you shouldn’t have high expectations, but you’re about to embark on not only a journey, but a life game called, “Playing Ball.”
Playing ball is not something you can easily teach or be taught, it comes with life experience. Playing ball has never been one of my strong points in life. To me, something doesn’t make sense I tend to questions, which makes me a bad ball player. In this world a lot of times you have to play along to get along. For example, I had an employer ask me about a method on a job that I was “comfortable” using. It caught me off-guard because I wasn’t using a method of comfort yet one of the rules I’ve always used. After she walked away, I was so frustrated because she framed the question in a manner that would render a response she wanted. These are the types of mind games no one explains to you. So what do you do, just shut-up and play ball, they’re right and you’re wrong. If I admit I’m wrong I have a job, if not, out the door you go. But admitting incompetence means affecting your next job opportunities. So you have to admit enough to give the employer what they want, but not to the point of losing out on open doors later.
So as you can see all the principles you’re brought up with as a child go out the window when you step into society. No one gives a damn about your outlook on life. It’s all about going to work, do enough not to get fired, come home, eat, sleep, and do it all over again. Rest on Saturday, then prepare for Monday work week on Sunday, and that’s the life parents insist upon their kids following. Not this high hopes future of being a rock star, playing professional sports, receiving an Academy Award for a box office movie, being the next great best selling novelists, or running for president of the United States. The majority of day-to-day life involves 8 to 10 hours of shutting the hell up and do as you’re told + a lot phoniness + plenty of ass kissing – the sacrificing of happiness equaling out to what your parents wanted you to become. Well not me, I am following my dreams, no better yet my passion. I can, no I will be the next great Steven Tyler, Michael Jordan, Ernest Hemingway, Steven Spielberg, or Barack Obama. Just as soon as I quite my 8 to 10 and find myself a good 4 to 6.