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The Big Lie


All of your life, you've been lied to.

You've been told what life is supposed to be about. Grow up, do well in school, make
friends, get a girlfriend or boyfriend, get a good job, get married, get a nice house and
have kids. Watch tv, go to church, vote, find some hobbies to entertain you. Donate
money to charity. Go on vacation. Get old, retire, spend time with the grandkids. Look
back on your life with nostalgia, look forward to the afterlife of your choosing.

This is what you're supposed to do, this is what normal people do. This is what everyone
else is doing. Oh sure, there are a few aberrations here and there, sometimes some
people slip off this track, but you can get back on at any time.

Of course, when you actually look at the world around you, you may see something
entirely different.

See that young married couple living next door, with the wife gardening in the front yard
while the kids play out back? She's snowed under with Xanax all the time, without which
she'd be in a continuous state of anxiety. And her 6 year old son, he's following in mom's
footsteps already, taking his daily dose of Ritalin to keep him tranquil enough to sit still all
day at school.

She stopped sleeping with her husband several years ago, but that's ok, cause he
sneaks off a couple times a week and has sex with street prostitutes in the back seat of
his car, or a nearby motel. He feels a bit bad for them, and tips them extra.

His favorite prostitute is always glad to see him, because he's pleasant enough and an
easy $75. Too bad they can't all be like him. She gets beaten up and raped by johns
multiple times a year, but that's ok, she can handle it, cause even at its worst this job is
still better than what she went through as a child. Besides, there's no other way she could
support her crack cocaine habit.

And the cop who tries to arrest her, last night he arrested the neighborhood marijuana
dealer, then went home and got nice and legally drunk on jack daniels.

And the cop's daughter, the pretty high school cheerleader, sneaks off and vomits after
every meal so she won't get fat.

But these are all small scale problems. Don't forget that, several times a century, often
enough to happen at least once during the average human lifetime, all the most powerful
nations of the world divide up into sides and begin slaughtering anyone they can find on
the opposing side by the millions. This is agreed by all to be unfortunate but necessary.

And the city you live in, if you're in a western country and living in a city, has already been
targetted by some country's nuclear weaponry. A few pushes of the right buttons, and
you'll be vaporized, or survive and live in some radioactive wasteland. But that's ok,
because it probably won't happen in the immediate future, so you might as well go out
and buy the week's groceries.

Beneath the thin veneer of civilization lies a howling madness, and the average normal
human being has the ability to commit genocide during the day, then come home and
tuck the kids in at night, or to ignore the pain of a billion people in misery while mowing
the lawn or doing christmas shopping.

The Big Lie is that all of the problems of human life are separate. If you
compartmentalize them all, you can convince yourself that once you lose that 40 pounds,
or get more money, or get your husband to stop beating you, or finally kick that addiction,
you'll be a normal happy person like everyone else. And once you get the right politician
elected, or win the war, or convert the infidels to your religion, the world will be a happy
place.

The problems of life are all symptoms of the same cause. The locks on your doors
which you need to keep out burglars, the schoolyard bully, the serial killer, the drug
addict, the drug dealer, the billionaire who thinks he's being exploited by the poor, the
millions of soldiers fighting for peace, the enslavement or slaughter of entire races of
people, and your own unhappiness, all are interconnected. They are all part of one
problem.

I wish I could define the problem for you, or offer a solution. Human beings seem to
have a basic design flaw. We're a fucked up species, striving to be healthy and happy
while simultaneously destroying ourselves and each other in a million different ways.

The only positive note I can end this on is that it's better to understand all this than to be
ignorant of it, I think.