#latecapitalism ups the ante

Just answered my landline phone. I know, I shouldn’t. But I was curious. Straight away it’s weird. I say hello, and there’s background scrambling as if his phone was lying on his desk because he didn’t actually believe anyone was going to be stupid enough to answer.

So anyway, I say hello, and then there was a delay, so I followed up with “how are you?” And then I get a response: “Hello sir how are you?” Good, I reply then again ask him how he is because he didn’t answer me the first time. He says good and thanks for your concern.

I’ll sum up the rest of the conversation. He says someone’s trying to take over my Internet connection. I say that’s not good and is there anything I can do about it. He says go to your router and tell me is there a light flashing or not. I look at it, groan a little at the slight exertion of bending down to get close to see the router. Then I hang up.

It sounds absurd. And I might be wrong. But I’m pretty sure this guy was calling me to tell me someone was trying to gain control of my Internet connection literally so he (or whomever he represents) could try to gain control over it. Why, I’m not really interested in. Where to from here is the question uppermost on my mind, in the wake of the conversation.

If the sharp edge of capitalism has gotten to the point in which it almost blatantly has to be a problem in order to solve the exact problem it is, where else is there to go?

I don’t know. But I suspect it will be very interesting.

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Christianity and Capitalism

In the beginning there was Christianity

(Not really, but you know what I mean.)

And for a time it was good

Then Christianity got sick of its own 

Bullshit

(We call this the Enlightenment.)

And invented capitalism

And for a time it was good

Capitalism even won a war against 

Communism 

(A system that also directs the most wealth to the least people but by less subtle means.)

And then things became not so good

For capitalism

(Much better for most sentient life.)

Because a central tenet of 

Capitalism

Is that competition breeds affluence 

And with no equally absurd

Evil system

To compete with

Capitalism collapsed under the weight of its own

Irony 

The end.

Perception 

Don’t let others’ define your truth

Normally I’m loathe to tell people what to

Do

But this is vital

You will never completely understand 

Yourself 

(So stop trying.)

But the idea that

Anyone else 

Can understand you better than yourself 

Is farcical 

But don’t be dismissive 

There is truth to what they say

From their perspective 

However 

Only ever at most

Blend it

With your perception 

Or at least listen

Think 

And sometimes reject 

It’s not that they don’t empathise with you

It’s just that

They don’t know

Neither do you

But you know better

I guarantee it

It’s up to you to

Consider it

Otherwise I would be trying to corrupt your truth with my

Perception 

Which I will uncompromisingly always 

Be loathe to do.

Laugh

Because you can

Because you should

Not because I said so

Go ahead

Tell yourself the

Truth

That reality is ridiculous

That you are free

And

Any suggestion to the

Contrary

Was and remains farcical

The other option is tears

Also fine

You’ll one day be dead

In the meantime 

Laugh

Cry

Live passionately 

But not because I

Told you to.

Where Did the Poetry Go

It was there once

In abundance 

Always with a question mark

(Everything such.)

Surrounded by enlightenment.

Sucking knowledge greedily.

Still, always

A thought process somewhat spent?

I don’t look for it

But I wonder 

Has it gone

Has it retreated

Does it lay dormant

Irony appreciated

Question mark maintained 

Love

Love does it

Thought of love 

Experience of love 

Poetry sometimes isn’t written

But lived

Better to be lived.

Final (hopefully) Unemployment Reflection

The title says it all (again, hopefully) – I don’t plan on being completely unemployed again. I’m technically under-employed at the moment. Or, I would be, if I wasn’t living with my mum and paying less rent than I otherwise would even for only a room. The three or four hundred dollars I’m earning a week would be barely enough to survive on if I was paying 150 to 250 dollars per week just for a roof over my head and four small walls within to contain my bed. There is a way to gain a low income classification by my federal government to allow me to gain subsidised housing. I would like to do that, but only when I gain full-time work – which if I do at my current workplace still won’t have me earning more than the limit for what’s called the National Rental Affordability Scheme. But I digress.

My immediately previous period of unemployment lasted only a couple of months, after a couple of month stint working at my extended family’s free-range chicken farm (until they got some egg packing machines that rendered me redundant (this was always planned)). I didn’t really expect to be working already. This was concerning, as though I had savings I’d planned a surf trip to Indonesia with a mate for April this year, and I was not convinced my money would last. So I don’t have that to worry about anymore, barring any unforeseen massive hits to my bank account. I have three days’ work per week, now. So the trip should comfortably go ahead as planned. And I should/might be able to gain more hours at my current workplace. Or I’ll just get myself another part-time job. Then I’ll move out of mum’s place again, and get on with life in the sense of being less dependent on a parent.

I’m quite confident I’ll never be long or medium-term unemployed again. This is because I think I’ve figured out the game. And it is just a game. It might not be a game I enjoy, but I have no choice but to play it (as alluded to in a previous blog post). Like I said, I didn’t expect to gain work so soon, as the last time I was unemployed it lasted a good year or two-ish. This time, I did two things different. 1) I took a friend’s advice to remove my education and white collar work experience from my resume. (I’d struggled with this only on the basis that I wanted to keep my original resume. I resolved this by using my first and surname on one, and first, middle and surname on the other.) 2) I started volunteering with a group, Orange Sky, which washes clothes for the homeless – usually in conjunction with a group which feeds them. I applied for a job in industrial laundry, told them on my resume and over the phone that I was volunteering with OS. After that, I was probably a shoo in. So I know in future in order to gain a job I have to manipulate my resume, and volunteer/intern in whatever job I want to get.

You’re probably wondering why I wanted a job in industrial laundry. I didn’t. I don’t want a job at all. As far as I’m concerned (and again this is touched on in the same former post) automation has proceeded to the point in which people should increasingly no longer have to work if they don’t want to. And it will only accelerate. Some people love work. It justifies their existence. Not me. I see work as a compulsory means to an end – survival. Universal basic income (UBI) is a concept in which everyone in a society is paid a basic income they can survive – even purchase various luxuries – on. After which they can earn more money by working, if they so wish. Again, I don’t. Or at least wouldn’t in a full-time sense if UBI existed. Which it doesn’t, yet. So I’m playing the game. And I don’t mean to win (you can’t win, because you’ll one day die; also earning more money generally increases your expenses, anyway). I mean to survive. That’s fine. I’m happy to survive until a better world worked more and more and eventually totally by machines emerges. In the meantime, I’d be happy to be homeless if I could do it without compromising my health and some creature comforts.

But if I want to have a place to call home, with a bed and a kitchen and bathroom and all that good stuff, currently, I have to work (unemployment “benefits” in Australia are at the quite simply criminal nadir of about $250 per week (haven’t been increased in decades, far’s I know)). Also fine. I will work. I’ve figured out how to. You’ve just got to manipulate and outsmart the people seeking employees. Lie, even. Considering the heinous evils that capitalism has committed against this planet’s sentient beings, including humans, I have zero qualms about white lying for survival within the dystopian system (where I can get away with it). I’m willing to play the game and pretend to, if not actually enjoy it. I enjoy living life. Knowing that a better future might be on the horizon, in which humans, again, might, emancipate themselves by finally letting technology take over. Even if I might be too old to enjoy it much by the time it happens. 2045, from what I know. I’ll be in my 60s. What a drag. Though if the technology is advanced enough I might be able to achieve immortality (for at least my mind). Not sure that’s something I even want, but I’ll cross that bridge if it appears across the river dividing humanity from eternity, in my lifetime.

For a blog post about unemployment I haven’t mentioned it much. It was ok, this hopefully last time. I drank less and all but stopped smoking. Of course I’m back into both, now, with zeal. Work! It’ll kill ya 😉

IMG_1598

My Brother Has a Daughter

 

Marley Kate Gilmore and dadBorn Marley Kate Gilmore, very early in the morning Monday, January 8, 2018.

Mitchell and partner Emily have been blessed.

Because she is beautiful.  She is healthy.  She is perfect.

I am overcome with happiness for her, her mother and father, and our entire family.  I have cried particular tears of joy I never have before, though I have been an uncle four times already for my half-brother and sister and their two beautiful children each.

It’s easy being an uncle.  Enjoyable, even.  I recall fondly playing hide and seek for several hours straight with my older brother’s son and daughter.  They sucked, but it was fun.  And my older sister’s two daughters are wonderful, even if I haven’t seen as much of them because they don’t live nearby.  Suffice to say I get at least some of the pleasure that my sister exudes from watching them play, grow, and live.

And now I’m a full-blood uncle to little Marley.  I look forward to watching her grow up and hopefully uncompromisingly enjoying life – perhaps with a brother or sister, one day.

I wonder what her life will be like.  Can we keep her safe.  Can we ensure she meets her potential.  There’s no question as to whether we love her.   We have all loved her since we first learned of her existence within her mother, some nine months ago, when which she was tentatively named “Peanut” (due to how she first looked under ultrasound).

I first met her with her great-grandmother.

Marley Kate Gilmore and great grandma

We drove up quite expectant.  Excited.  And were not disappointed.

Marley was sleeping most of our visit, until later on when her big, beautiful blue eyes made their first appearance to us.

If it seems I’m being gushy, trust me, I’m as restrained as I can be.

I feel personally blessed to have met her with the oldest living member of our family.  Afterward, I drove my grandmother home and we both went over the road to the park where only months ago we scattered my grandfather’s ashes.  I showed him pictures of Marley.  Grandma laughed with joy.

Sunrise, sunset.

A new day has dawned.  New life has spawned.

Marley gives me hope for the future.  Marley is the future.  I hope it treats her well.  And her, it.

Welcome to the world.

Marley Kate Gilmore and uncle (me)

Credit: aunt Kate

An Eternal Pillar

My grandfather died four months ago. It’s his birthday today. He was my second grandfather. As mentioned below, I never knew my first. As small in stature as he was larger than life, he enjoyed a cold (what he called) “light” XXXX Gold beer, a chuckle, and to seek and impart wisdom. Goodbye granddad. Thanks for the memories:

(My eulogy.)

Grandma lost her first husband, and Cheryl and mum lost their dad when they were very young. My brother, cousins and I never knew Colin Richmond. I’m sure he was a wonderful man. But we all had my grandad, Jack, for longer than many people have their husbands, fathers or grandfathers. Poetic justice is sometimes positive.

Those years and generations above us provide the foundations beneath us. Sometimes those foundations might be taken from us earlier than we’d like. Other times, they stand seemingly immortal to reassure and reinforce us for generous amounts of time. Inevitably, they wash away into the vast unknown of eternity and leave us increasingly to our own devices. And hopefully to become foundational influences in others’ lives.

This is a part of life. A part of growing up, and older. In which those who came before us leave us with lessons we can use to enrich our and others’ lives. Jack Snellback surely has done this. He taught us the value of a calm demeanour. A wickedly insightful and incisive sense of humour. And a sincere empathy for and interest in those around him. To mention but a few of his virtues.

Rest in peace grandad. I love you. For the man you were. And the example you set for us all.