Ephemeral Rift: Please open your hand.
Reader: [opens hand]
ER: [Places salt grain into hand, then gently closes reader’s hand].
Think of all the major awards that we hand out in today’s society. The people that get them don’t deserve them. (Psst: now would be a good time for you to start using that grain of salt).
Musicians don’t deserve a Grammy Award. YouTubers who reach 100,000 or a bazigamillion arbitrary number of subscribers don’t deserve YouTube’s “Play Button” award. Actors don’t deserve the Emmy or the Oscar, and long time actors definitely do not deserve the apparently coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. I could go on and on with every single one of these ridiculous awards handed out to people whose award is actually their fully realized success and wealth in not having to work a regular job like everyone else that pays to hear their music or watch their movies. You get the picture. Excluded from this article are children who get awards. Although, truth be told, I could probably write an analysis & essay about children getting awards too. But for this writing, we’re talking about adults here. Sorry, that should read “adults” with quotes. One must always put quotes around the words adult and community whenever using them.
That’s not to dismiss what musicians, YouTubers or Actors do in our society as irrelevant. But let’s be realists here and keep an even keel: we can’t dismiss them nor put them up on pedestals. It is not wise to have idols. They are everyday people who just happened to get lucky and are very fortunate to be able to do what they enjoy doing for a living without having to hold down a normal job that they hate doing, which is often the case for many people. Struggling artists, actors, even everyday people who just for whatever reason cannot get a better paying job. I know, I was once in that situation myself.
Food for thought: how come the audience never gets an award? Did you ever think of that? It takes two to tango. The YouTuber, Actor, Musician, etc., didn’t get to where they are alone. They got where they are with the help of the audience. So maybe we need to start handing out awards to the audience for being Best Viewer, Best Movie Goer, Best Music Listener, etc. After all, they are the ones watching the ads on the videos and paying for the music and to watch the movies. The audience basically helps pave the way for these YouTubers, Actors and Musicians.
Good people (and I’ll get to what I think makes someone “Good People” further down below) that can survive living a long, healthy life and overcoming or even recuperating from all the nonsense that people do on a daily basis, are the only people who deserve an award, and the only ones deserving of the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, in my opinion. (I don’t think I need to say “in my opinion” since this is my subjective view, my perspective, my truth. There’s no other way for me to see the world than through my eyes. I can’t step outside myself and see things truly objectively and universally. No one can. I can only try to be as empathetic as possible.)
But all sarcasm aside: seriously, why not?
If you can get through each and every day without taking your life or hurting yourself over the petty or horrendous acts that people pull on a consistent daily basis, especially if they’ve done them to you, and if you constantly strive to reflect and improve yourself to avoid making some of the same mistakes, then you are deserving of a Lifetime Achievement Award. Or the equally coveted Made It Through Another Day of Peoples’ Bullshit Award.
If we’re handing out awards to adults who are just big kids playing music or playing pretend and playing dress up (i.e. musicians and actors), then why can’t we hand out awards to old Miz Smith who is 80’s years old, living by herself in a nursing home, no family, husband died a couple years back, her memory failing, wasn’t lucky enough to ever “be” someone like the actors and musicians who she gave her money to when she was younger and permitted her heart strings to be played, who no one knows even exists or even cares about (except the caregivers paid to care for her who also sometimes take their frustrations out on her via neglect and abuse), who always worked minimum wage jobs with her last job being a waitress at a diner, who was constantly harassed by telemarketers, who was taken advantage of financially by someone running a fraudulent scheme, and who was often bullied (tailgated) on the highway for driving slow? Sounds like someone deserving of a Lifetime Achievement Award if you ask me. Hell, sounds like someone more deserving of living in a mansion more than any Hollywood actor. Even if she had her share of causing grief to others over the course of her lifetime, but at some point was able to stop her “bad” behavior.
If you can survive today’s society full of “adults” that are habitually greedy (hording millions and not doing anything to help those struggling in society), hypocritical, two-faced, gossiping, backbiting, bullying, nepotistic, cruel, reckless, controlling, manipulative, corrupt, scamming, robbing, raping, murdering, abusive, neglectful, and do I really need to go on with every single horrible attribute associated with so many people in today’s society, then you, my dear reader, truly deserve an award. Even if you were once one of those people but no longer are because you’ve repented from the errors of your ways. And when I say repent, I say that as a godless animal who was once a Roman Catholic but is now an agnostic-atheist.
I say “adults” because they should know better. They should be able to perform some kind of self-reflection and not repeat the same habitual negative behavior day after day. I know there are young people from kids and teens to people in their early 20’s who do the same thing, but I’m giving them some slack because they are young. That’s not an excuse. But without getting too sidetracked here into a whole other essay and analysis, there usually is a valid reason as to why a 10 or 50 year old acts like they do, and sometimes it takes a long time and a lot of personal effort, fortitude, maturity and responsibility for someone to realize what they are doing is wrong and to change their ways. If they can even change their ways that is, since some people have serious mental health issues like true schizophrenics that lack the mental capacity and wherewithal.
Now, when it comes to us adults, let’s be honest: every single one of us has done something to put us into that group of people in today’s society that I listed above. It doesn’t matter how trivial or egregious it is. Each and every single one of us are imperfect, flawed, and keyword: fallible animals. But again, let’s be realistic and keep an even keel here: a little white lie you told your parents, kids, partner or boss is nothing in comparison to strapping a bomb to yourself and blowing up a bus full of adults and kids.
Think of it like this: we are all guilty of having done something. We’re all doing time in jail. It’s just that some of us are in the holding tank overnight and will never be back (meaning some of us have made a minor mistake but see the errors of our ways and will try our best to avoid making it again) and some of us are on death row (meaning some of us are habitual offenders that know the difference between right and wrong yet for whatever reason do not care to improve ourselves).
I don’t want to get into a whole essay and analysis of why we do what we do. You could think you have never done any harm to anyone, and maybe that’s right, though I highly doubt it, because there are no saints among us. Just look up Mother Theresa’s controversy if you need proof. But let me play devil’s advocate here: have you ever thought about the political and economic systems that you participate in and support, while going about your business thinking that you do not do any harm to anyone? I will write an essay and analysis on this, but for now let me just make you aware that we are all complicit. It’s not really our fault or something we do intentionally. We have no choice. We’re handcuffed. We’ve all been compromised. You have to pay taxes and support a government that does a lot of corrupt and unscrupulous things as a body of government itself, and even down to the individual local politician. You have to participate in the global economy not knowing where your money goes or who its coming from even when the banks do a lot of unscrupulous and corrupt actions as well, and when your money is exchanged with terrorists. No, really. When you use money in today’s global economy, that money goes into everyone’s hands. What, you think terrorists live completely cutoff from society? If you do, you need to think real hard about how society works. When you really take the inner fortitude and effort to sit down and think about the society we participate in and support, we’re basically all guilty of association. Like I said, we’re all complicit. My point is, even if you are a saint, which there isn’t (again, see: Mother Theresa), you are still complicit in supporting the unscrupulous behavior of others because of how today’s society and global economy is setup and has us all in its snares. This is not conspiracy or paranoid talk. I don’t take meds (nothing wrong with that!). I’m not a terrorist plotting to overthrow the government, even though I strongly dislike government. I’m just a guy who does a lot of critical thinking and is here trying to help people, shed light on the darkness, and help open some eyes and maybe help someone avoid becoming a victim.
So what is Good People? Good People, in my book, are not religious people or morally upstanding citizens, which there really isn’t. Good People are not simply people that put up a front trying to portray themselves as “good” or perfect, because after all, no one is perfect! Good People are people that have made mistakes (which is every single person in this world) or hurt others now matter how trivial or egregious (except horrible things done to the elderly, women, children and acts of terrorism, which I could analyze and write an essay about). They are people who at some point have taken on the personal responsibility to own up to their mistakes and try hard each and every day to avoid making those same mistakes in order to be a better person than they were the previous day. Good People reflect and work on self-improvement. Good People stop running schemes. Good People will quit their jobs and risk losing everything because the company they work for is unscrupulous. Good People often compromise their own set of morals or personal philosophy by taking a job they otherwise wouldn’t in order to make money so they can eat, pay rent, bills and feed their family (once again, money and the things we are forced to do in society is yet another essay I need to write). Good People are not morally perfect because there is no such thing. Actually, anytime you use the world moral or morals make sure to put quotes around them. “Moral”, “Morals”. There, that’s better.
Now, there’s one last lens to look through regarding all of this “Good People” and unscrupulous behavior talk, and that is: there are no morals. We’re simply mammals part of the animal kingdom. We just happen to have highly evolved, yet imperfect, brains. Who is to say how people should or shouldn’t act? There is no god’s dogma to follow, not from my perspective. The universe doesn’t care either. There are no universal rules governing us. There is no devil. We are simply capable of these behaviors. Sometimes it’s choice, other times it might be coercion, peer pressure or mental illness. Whose really to say how we should or should not act? Society? Well society is hypocritical. They say one thing but do another all the time. “Do as I say, not as I do”. So if not society, then who? The answer is a harsh and realistic: no one. But, logically and rationally, I think it’s safe to say that we all want to get through the day and our lives without being financial taken advantage of or physically and mentally hurt. So therefore we have created “morals”, “society” and “social norms” so that, for the most part, many people can get through the day unscathed by conforming to certain acceptable behaviors. We’re basically trying to domesticate our species.
Finally, if you are someone that is coping with having done something to someone else and you are living with regret, shame, embarrassment, etc. learn to forgive yourself. You’re human. Everyone has been in your situation, it’s just that most people in the public eye keep all of that hidden in order to keep up appearances and to keep their job. But you’ve seen the news reports of all the actors, reporters, musicians, politicians, parents, teachers, nuns, priests, teens, adults, women and men, all of these “upstanding citizens” and “adults” and members of the “community” that have done horrible things. Stop beating yourself up and come to the realization that we’re all human and we all make the same mistakes. Just learn to improve, move on, water under the bridge, let the past be the past, let it go, and just try to avoid doing it again. Forgive yourself. Don’t worry what society says or thinks about you.
To close: at the end of the day, when all is said and done, we’re human. More than that though: we’re animals. We’re imperfect, flawed and fallible, each and every single one of us to a person. One day you might be close to personal perfection, the next you might be engaged in some behavior you will regret the next day or for the rest of your life. We’re trying to do the best we can. Well, some of us. We’re a million or so odd years in the making, yet we still have a long way to go in terms of out-evolving and overcoming our animal nature and shortcomings, which are pretty much what causes us to do what we do: our emotions, our anger, being judgmental, our impatience, our selfish nature, etc. Not to mention the interactions we have with others who are doing the same things we do and may or may not be trying to improve as well. And just sometimes it can take someone decades before they, if they ever do, realize the errors of their ways and work to improve themselves so they can avoid contributing to society’s problems.
P.S. You can keep that grain of salt. You’re going to need that. It’ll come in handy every single day throughout the rest of your life.