Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
mweiss

"Poisoned" By Objectivism --can't Deal With Fascist Livi

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I’m approaching a sort of “nexus” in my personal life for a number of reasons.

I’m relatively happy with my family (I have a devoted wife and a cute, precocious 21 month old daughter) and I have my hobbies and she has her hobbies.

The problem is that our lifestyle does not fit in with modern taxation. Society demands a lot of cash from us that we simply don’t have.

The typical solution presented to us is to get a second and third job and pay the taxes, but that is not compatible with my goals in life.

I’m not that smart or particularly well-educated where I can bring in a six-figure income like my neighbors, by working one job. In fact, I’m self-employed doing a variety of multimedia things. But I’m the worst salesman that ever existed, or I’m in a line of work that no one has a need for an independent contractor to do.

I am growing increasingly depressed over the property tax problem. The threats of seizure of our home of forty years are wearing me down, making me feel hopeless.

We even looked into selling our home and moving someplace like Arkansas, where we can afford the taxes, but the real estate agents won’t list the house, because it’s in a condition to be condemned. It’s fine for us, but apparently not up to the standards of the town.

We came here forty years ago because it was the sticks. We’d just been forced out of our prior home of 8.5 years due to a ridiculous sewer assessment that would have required us to double our mortgage. That wouldn’t happen on $97/week income from a defence contractor. So on the eve of foreclosure, we sold and bought this land with the $1850 we had left. And we hauled barn lumber up here and got to work building. It took decades. We moved in 34 years ago with no plumbing, electric or heating system. No well or septic. We ‘roughed it’ for a few years until we could afford the essentials. And we prevailed.

But then the 80s came, along with wealthy vacationers making our town their new home away from the city, rising taxes, and unemployment from the 70s had caused the home construction to halt for lack of funds, as did hospitalization for serious illnesses.

In its unfinished state, the house took on water and major rot problems developed. To the point where today there are so many problems with the house, land and utilites that it is unsaleable. But the tax assessor has us pegged at the neighborhood average value, despite repeated appeals and letters to his office and also the mayor’s office.

Every time I tried to start a business and go about it the legal and proper way, I would get all these forms from the town tax assessor, demanding a description of all business assets. When I saw that I would owe more in taxes for my equipment than I earned, I would close the business and not fill out the forms.

The IRS has been a constant thorn in my side since I fell behind in the late 70s and started not filing returns when they showed money owed to the IRS.

I am starting to piece together, at a late stage in life, that perhaps some of my depression and anxiety and stifled creativity may be due to the fear of paying taxes. My income has been consistently below the poverty level since the 80s so I don’t pay much in federal taxes except self-employment tax. Problem is, I can’t afford the property taxes on my piece of shit house, because of where it’s located, which is in the greediest town in all of Connecticut, which recently spent $63 million on a new high school.

I do work, but mainly at stuff that I enjoy more than jobs that give me constant misery. I did decades of misery working dead end jobs for subsistence wages, faced the layoffs and firings and forced resignations as my depression on the job deepened to a point of hopelessness.

Then, at almost fifty, after totally losing hope of finding love in my own country, I left the country and met my wife to be in the Philippines. That was the high point in my life. I thought I could recapture some of the giddy romantic ‘electricity’ of young love by marrying a young filipina. That was true to an extent, but the fact is, I’m no spring chicken anymore and in the backdrop of very real problems with this house, the taxes and my lack of ability to find fulfilling AND highly-renumerating work, the joy was shortlived.

The tax situation is closing in, the roof is collapsing and leaking all over the place and we are facing almost daily emergencies with the house, the demands from the town and just staying afloat financially.

The whole thing is making me depressed. I often sleep 12-14 hours, as it’s the only time where I’m not facing these constant nightmares called reality of living in a Fascist nation.

It’s starting to occur to me that perhaps my inability to earn good money is a subconscious fear of having to pay taxes to the federal government. That success would be rewarded with theft of the spoils of my success.

I’ve grown so burned out on ordinary employment and low wages that I constantly look for schemes where I can make a lot of money without commuting 180 miles a day to work and back. I do some work for clients in a dying market, but am more interested in multimedia creative work. The problem there is that I’m not particularly gifted and this is a very competitive world—everyone wants to be in the multimedia business.

Meanwhile, my time is taken up increasingly with trying to fix what no contractor wants to touch, doing a massive renovation job that is fit for ten skilled carpenters, not one old man/jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, so my monetary income is dropping for that reason, not to mention that my clientelle are falling on hard times with new competition from satellite and iPods and aren’t willing to pay the kind of wages that I used to command 2-3 years ago.

I’ve got kind of an “Atlas Shrugged” complex going on internally—why should I keep struggling to earn a good living when the government takes most of it away in taxes?

I have a relative in Florida who thinks my philosophy is abominable. He worked three “shit jobs” (one of them was cleaning sludge out of swimming pools), Home Depot and some other job wheeling dead patients around a morgue, all of this, while he was undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer. I laud his stalwartness, but I don’t share his level of ambition to scratch in the dirt for subsistence survival. I want more out of life than working without sleep for years on end, risking an auto accident due to sleepiness, and having no time to recreate. I’ve been there, and it was insane. I once had a dream that I could save money by working 16 hours, 7 days a week. In the end, the IRS won big, and all I could save in two years was $900. I’m through with working the hard, stupid way.

So in essense, I think I’m suffering some sort of “burn out” or the realization that no matter how hard I work, I’ll never make a large income that would enable me to have the kind of home I want, and be safe from government predatory agencies.

The reality is that I come from an ancestry of parents who died fighting off the tax man. The current course I am on will lead me to their fate. I see it is the wrong course, but I am just not bright enough to come up with a good plan to get off this juggernaught headed to hell.

I think what I need to crack is the problem of self-imposed failure, brought on by the fear of paying income taxes. If I am subconsciously afraid to take risks in business because I am afraid that I will be liable for taxes if it all goes down horribly, then that may explain part of why my abilities remain (in the words of a business associate and friend) the “best-kept secret in Connecticut.”

The irony is that I have read most Objectivist books and have made the individualist ideas my baseline for morality. I am a “leave me alone, society!” type of person who works for no one but himself and when forced to share the wealth with others, stops working. My relative in Florida thinks Objectivism has poisoned me.

I think the morality is correct, but I can’t deal with living in a Fascist world. I get no sense of satisfaction from working in a gas station or a Burger King or in a paper mill (the only local jobs around here) or in retail. I need to control my own destiny, be my own boss, run the show and be in control of my time and location. When I was employed full time up through the 80s, I felt as if I were in jail. I was stuck in a room with a bunch of morons with whom the only thing I shared was a mutual hate for eachother. I was miserable and always getting into fights at work. It is known now that I am pretty much unemployable, in the conventional context of a 9-5 job.

But I need to find a psychological approach to living and thriving in this irrational, Fascist world, before poverty drives me into utter homelessness. I don’t know where that answer lies, but perhaps I’m not seeing the forest for the trees, and it is somewhere in all the essays and books that I’ve read. Or maybe the problem is that Ayn Rand has taught me all that’s WRONG with the world, but not how to live in a world like that which we can’t change. That’s probably why religion is so successful with numbing people’s minds to accept that which they cannot change. I refuse to change and adapt to Fascism. But that short-circuit condition cannot be sustained for long. And now that the proverbial excrement is hitting the rotating propeller this year, my failure as an entrepreneur and person seeking to live an ENJOYABLE existence is coming back to stare me in the face.

What would you do in a case like this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's hard to say. If you really think you need some help with these issues, the best first course would probably be to seek out some expert in such matters.

Just about any advice given from an internet board is going to be trite, but nevertheless, IMO don't mix your business with your pleasure. Treat your job as a means to your ends, instead of something to seek satisfaction from itself.

I am a “leave me alone, society!” type of person who works for no one but himself and when forced to share the wealth with others, stops working.
Now that could be a problem. More triteness on my part, but you have to remember why you're working in the first place IMO. You know what the result is is you stop working, and it's not condusive to your interests or your family's status. To a certain point, you have to stop worrying about what you can't change, and focus on what you can change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

You have to do what you have to do. You must find a way out of this; this is your life. There is always a way out, find it. Do whatever it is you feel you must do, not only for yourself, but most importantly for your daughter. Your daughter's future depends on your finding a solution to these problems.

I know exactly what you mean about work, but listen—if you have to work at McDonald's, then work at McDonalds. I don't think that you really have to do that though, there are many alternatives, that you have to look for. Do everything you can, ask help from anyone you can. But mostly, you have to stop thinking so much about it and lighten up. Wave your anxiety and depression aside, and get to work. The more work you can find the better, because you'll be kept busy, this will stop you from thinking so goddamn much, and therefore from worrying so much. I know.

I feel that I can say this to you, because I have said it to myself many times before. Mark, you have to be strong. Whatever it is you must do, do it, so long as it's within reason, of course. If you have to leave the state, or the country, or if you must sell most of your belongings, or borrow money, or whatever, you know that if you don't... well, I think you know better than I what will happen.

Though it's hard to do under such circumstances, take it easy Mark.

Attentively,

Sebastián

Edited by Sebastián

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that really gnaws at me is the fact that I can do so many things, but not well. My deceased uncle was a jack of all trades and master of none, and he died at age 44. His son, my cousin, just passed away a week ago, making me the oldest survivor in the family. I don't know how much time I have left, but it seems a shame to go backwards to 1980 and grovel to some potential employer for another job and prostrate myself, force myself to perform as if the job meant something to me.

There has to be a way for me to make more than 6 grand a year doing what I am best at doing, but if there is, I certainly can't find it.

As much as I love my daughter and my wife, the very thought of taking on another dead end job for low wages makes me sick to my stomach. And it won't even solve the problem. I need too be earning $4000/week, not $250/week.

We could go back to the Philippines, but the climate does not suite my nordic genetics--I'm comfortable in my underwear at 62ºF and I only run the heat for the sake of my wife and kid. That was always an issue at work, too. It was always like 80ºF in the places where I worked and that's how a lot of people liked it, but for me it was oppressive and unbearable.

I have never been happier than when I quit the employment 'rat race' 21 years ago. However, the lack of money to pay the tax demands of the town is really starting to become a problem this year. We've seen a ramp up of cost of everything like nobody's business this year. Revaluation came along and upped my taxes TWICE in four years. I was just finished pro-se litigating against the town to get my 2001 valuation lowered when --bang! They do a another reval in 2005! I can't win!

Prior to all these tax problems, I had a modest amount of work and it kept me pretty busy because I'm a slow worker. I could hustle if I suddenly had a lot of work with deadlines, but mostly, I'm relatively slow thinking and solving problems, and anything repetitive I do rather quite slowly. That was frequently a problem at work in the past. "Steady worker, but slow and often falls behind" was often written in salary reviews.

No matter how hard I try, I just can't force myself to do a task that I don't enjoy, especially if the money is not there. I've had some stiflingly boring 'emergency' jobs that I took just to keep the family going in the past, but I was forced into a state of mind that made my mind mentally lazy and sluggish after that. I never regained the speed and quick-thinking I had to some degree when I was younger.

At this point, I think I've lost hope, and that's what's making things even worse. Some people just keep going and don't have a concept of lost hope. But it's hard to push on, when in your mind, you're just delaying the inevitable.

My friend and I were having a conversation earlier. He said I have three options:

1. walk away from the house and hope that the legal repercussions aren't too severe, that as an indigent homeless person, the town, EPA and others won't suck blood out of a stone.

2. try and get a loan to make the needed repairs, but realize that I probably won't get one because of the 'catch 22' requirement that a house have a CO or be insurable before the loan is granted, or if I can get the loan, end up with such a debt that we are unable to keep our home.

3. slowly try to fix the house myself. This has been my mode of action all along. But the nature of the problems are too big for one person with no machinery to handle. I have done amazing repairs on the parts of the house I could access, but I have to knock down a huge shedlike structure on top of the roof so I can repair the roof underneath it. But I cannot do it quickly, if at all, and since the roof under it is not watertight, the whole house would be flooded in a minor drizzle. But it looks as though this is the only option. Option 2 brings with it the possibility of building inspector condemning the place, which is what the contractor who looked at the place for an estimate told me today. As it is, he's talking $70,000 to put a new roof on the existing structure, to say nothing of removing a building on top of it.

My friend outlined a four step plan:

channel my energy and try to make a lot of money (doing what?)

put a minimum of time & money into repairs

buy as much time as possible with the town by making some minimal payments on the tax debt

develop an escape plan to get out of here.

Sounds like something I've never achieved. And this home is my sanity. Without this place, without my sanctuary, I would go mad in short order. (I know, because I lived with some relatives in California in 2000 and after two weeks there, I was ready to lose my mind.) I needed to get back to the things I love--the things that I identify with. My hobbies (that I can't have in just any place), my possessions, the familiar things. This is not a bad place. It's actually quite nice. The only problem is that the roof leaks and the roof joists are rotted and the whole thing needs to be razed and rebuilt upstairs. But the place has been home for forty years! It is familiar, I know the house, all it's plumbing and electrical, etc. I can fix anything within the house. I've rebuilt the boiler in fall of 2004, the place is well insualated and I can heat it for a couple hundred a year, while my neighbors spend $500 just for one month's heat. The lot is pretty good, no nearby neighbors to complain about my music. Privacy is still pretty good. In short, it would be counterproductive to leave the place.

It has been suggested to me to try Extreme Home Makeover, the TV show and a couple friends wanted to sign me up/petition the TV show to do my house. However, I would then owe about a half a million dollars in taxes to the IRS afterwards, as well as the town tax probably hitting the $20,000 mark. We'd still be left with nothing and we'd have to move.

I even tried Habitat for Humanity. They didn't have any interest in this project.

I really have to tread lightly, because if the state found out the condition of the house, they'd probably try to take my child away. To us, it's not really that bad. The house inside is pretty comfortable, compared to my wife's house in Taguig, Metro Manila. We're not living like rich people, but it IS home, whether the State considers it a liveable home or not.

So back to my psychological problem, I think it might be the same thing that killed my parents before me: the total loss of hope. The sense that even my best effort won't get me 2/10ths of the way to my goal, and that the world's standards have just so far surpassed my abilities that.. what's the use?

My parents were idealists who loved Ayn Rand. My mother was particularly "strict". She would grill every friend that my father brought home for dinner with the family and literally scream at the person if he conveyed mixed premises or any irrational ideas.

When Miss Rand passed away, my mother lost all hope for the world. It triggered her downfall, and with four years she was dead. My father turned to his own brand of "faith" and started preaching Old Testiment thinking in his remaining years, despite being a viable debater on Objectivist issues. They were both strong idealists, and when the world wouldn't conform to their ideals, they got sick and died. She in a state mental facility, he from Leukemia.

I'm roughly at the stage where my mother was, ten years before she died. Realizing that we might not 'make it', reach our goals, achieve our dreams.

In this society, one needs a LOT of money to survive and be comfortable and have a life that is worth living. Less than that, and you're a criminal, a tax delinquent, a law-breaker.

As for my dilemma, I need to get a grasp of Hope. I have to find a tangible reason to struggle on. Past struggle has met with either failure or very marginal success. Some of these problems go back to childhood. Why I didn't do my work in school and got expelled. Why I rebelled against authority through adolescent years. Why I was never fulfilled and happy with any job I'd held since.

There must be a philosophical reason, and somewhere in this, there must be an answer. If something were to suddenly come into focus, so I could realize a clear path to work toward, it would be a direction to take. If I could have a "Vulcan mind meld" with Dr. Alan Blumenthal, perhaps he could see where I've gone wrong and suggest the steps to fix it. Forty years ago, he gave me a clean bill of health, when I was tossed out of school as "disturbed". But often lately I have doubts. My inability to exist as a slave and indentured servant to society has made me a "bad person". It's like in the movie "Falling Down", when in the end, Michael Douglas' character suddenly asks the question, "You mean I'm the bad guy?"

Life should not be hell. At least that is what I learned from Objectivism. Everyone else is telling me to accept my fate and go get a job at McDonald's until I die. Something inside me abhors that notion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was going to avoid commenting on this but one thing seems starkly obvious to me in your situation - you keep naming your hopeless house as a central issue.

Well, if the property values keep going up, that's either a problem for you, or a good thing - if you just sell the land and use the money to deal with other problems. Move into an apartment. Let somebody else knock down the piece of crap and build something nice on it, and then you can move on to deal with other issues. Let somebody else do the maintainance (apartment). Let somebody else deal with the taxes (accountant). Focus on the important stuff and stop wasting time on things you couldn't change in your lifetime if you were Bill Gates, much less in your situation. After a time it just becomes an excuse to feel like a victim and do nothing - it sounds to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was going to avoid commenting on this but one thing seems starkly obvious to me in your situation - you keep naming your hopeless house as a central issue.

Well, if the property values keep going up, that's either a problem for you, or a good thing - if you just sell the land and use the money to deal with other problems. Move into an apartment. Let somebody else knock down the piece of crap and build something nice on it, and then you can move on to deal with other issues. Let somebody else do the maintainance (apartment). Let somebody else deal with the taxes (accountant). Focus on the important stuff and stop wasting time on things you couldn't change in your lifetime if you were Bill Gates, much less in your situation. After a time it just becomes an excuse to feel like a victim and do nothing - it sounds to me.

The situation is not that simple. It's a problem both with the land and the house. The real estate agencies refuse to list it in its current condition, so we're stuck in an untennable situation.

The apartment option is very bad one. The essense of who and what I am is an activity that would not be permitted in an apartment or neighborhood with neighbors nearby. And an apartment is a money pit. We could not afford the rents charged today, and all that money would be down the drain--no equity. Without this house, we'd be sleeping in our car.

I think the problem with my lack of success is that if I set myself up in business fully legal, I may not make the income, and when the agencies that tax my business want a share of the assets, I won't have the money to pay them. That's what's held me back from registering a trade name and running advertising (beside the lack of funds for advertising).

I've been grappling with my lack of talent in business for more than twenty years. I've had three registered business failures. Now I'm doing radio work as a direct result of a station broker being impressed with my illegal broadcast activities in the 1990s. But I've hit the ceiling on that market and there are too far and few between, stations to work for. It paid the bills while it lasted, but the commutes started to get to me. Unless I drive for a living, getting from point A to point B in a country with inane traffic laws and ridiculous speed limits suited more to little old ladies going grocery shopping than to businessmen traveling cross-state, are starting to get to me. I mean the fatigue and stress. I get to the job site and I'm already half spent. Maybe I'm just getting too old and my body is failing.

Whatever is the case, I think I believe that the return on effort invested is becoming too low. People complain about my 'high' rate, but radio stations have deeper pockets than homeowners, and I charge less than half of what a plumber charges to unstop a drain. I was appalled to learn today that it will cost me upwards of $2500 to have an electrician replace my temporary electric hookup with a permanent one. I could do the equivalent job for less than $500 at my rate, assuming the job took over a day to complete. I am told by others in the radio biz that part of the reason I'm not getting much work is that I charge too much. Well, as taxes went up, I had to raise my rates a little to compensate. Now it seems the market is closing in on me from the client side. But in the good old days, I'd make in a day what my wife makes on her job in a whole week. Trouble is, I don't get that much work anymore. And I've grown tired of it for multiple reasons. Ironically, there's a big class B radio station transmitter just down the road from me, but they have never hired me; I find myself always commuting to out of state locations to find work. Spend 4-6 hours on the road everyday, and 4-8 hours actually working at sites. Come home exhausted. Sleep 15 hours after that. I need more energy!

As far as the house goes, if the roof were fixed, the other environmental issues don't bother me. They're just technically against the law. If I did abandon it, I was advised I should leave the country, because when the powers that be discover the many kinds of violations here, they'd come after me and fine me in the hundreds of thousands. But you know what? There's nothing wrong at all with the property. Everything's under control, and the agencies that turn every little spill into a scene out of "ET" are simply nuts and trying to justify their existance by making every situation look like the outbreak of the next big killer plague.

I have a fellow engineer/friend who made the mistake of admitting to the EPA that a radio transmitter in his back yard might have leaked a little PCB in the oil filled capacitors. In the end, a year later, it cost him $9000 to have one tiny spill cleaned up, and a nervous breakdown and treatment under Zoloft. Geeze...

Needless to say, his situation is small potatoes compared to mine, which will go unmentioned. But it's all an illusion, because there is no real danger. All the technicality of the law means is that I cannot sell the land unless it's cleaned up, for a meager $250,000 or more. The fact that the house is built of asbestos panels, notwithstanding. :)

Now, if I could find a way to earn a couple hundred thousand in the next couple of years, I could begin to envision a way out of this mess. Money is power and protection from government thugs. The problem is how to earn that kind of money, when the most I ever earned on a job was about $9/hour? There are some practical hurdles to overcome here. Part of my depressed mental state is definately external. The other part may be declining health, loss of energy, zest for life, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hm. I don't know if this is of any help, but I couldn't resist saying at least something here.

I am usually very pragmatic about that. I really don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings here. :)

My main theory here is that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. One thing that always gets me out of a negative mental state is to take a look at my goals. At what I want in life.

As far as I see it you want four things:

  • keep your house
  • fix the roof
  • support your family
  • make more money

You don't want to sell your house anyway, so don't think about this. Think about how you keep it.

Then I look at what it takes to get it:

  • what does it cost per month to keep your house?
  • what does it cost per month to support your family?
  • how much money do you want to make per month?

Get clear about this. Get three actual numbers. You now have specific goals to work towards.

The roof costs 70.000$, you said.

The next thing I usually do is to take a look at whatever opportunities I have:

You said that you have many skills, but none of them fully developed. Which skills are they and what can you do with them to make money. Could you get a job in one of these areas that paid you more than what you do now? What other skills do you have to develop? You said that you are not a good marketer. Can you hire someone to do marketing for you on a commission basis? Can you learn more about marketing yourself? Can you use your current skills for other clients than radio stations? Maybe then you don't have to drive so much.

Given that your current business doesn't pay very much right now and one of your main problems seems to be money, I'd say that you focus on that. Maybe you should do your business part-time (just so you don't lose your sanity) and start to look for a job you can stand that makes you more money and to keep looking for other jobs that pay more and "suck" less aswell as for ways to make more money with your business. Given that you said that you have bad marketing skills, I would suggest to work on that. Can't you get a job where you do pretty much the same things you with your business, but don't have to drive so much? Perhaps you could work more, get paid more per hour, and actually have more time.

It seems to me that you are exhausted by your really long working hours which -as far as I see it- is one of the reasons for your bad feelings. You really have good work ethics and the sad thing (which causes your hopelessness, I suppose) is the fact that it doesn't pay as well as it should.

There must be a way for you to make more money and have more time if you rearrange what you do for a living. And I recommend that you do that. Doing something you don't really like for some hours a day won't kill you, especially if this gives you more time and more money and thereby helps you to keep your house.

The main goal of this entire exercise is to get you out of the mental rut you seem to be in. It doesn't help you. Take a look at what you want and fight for it. You said life is not meant to be suffering. Then make it so. As far as I see it this will be a hell of a lot of work. But there's no way around this. The earlier you get going, the better. As once you are back on your feet financially, you can over time tackle other problems. :lol:

If I misinterpreted your situation or hurt your feelings, I honestly apologize, this was not my intention. I really want to help. My gung ho method is usually seen as quite a hit in the face by everyone I do this with, but it usually works to give people a sense of direction again. So I hope it helped a little.

Don't let the bastards grind you down. :lol:

Edited by Felix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

I agree with the others in that you MUST improve your state of mind before doing anything else. Going around depressed and feeling sorry for yourself certainly isn't helping the situation. You have to get back on your feet and do the things necessary to solve your problems.

You sound like a talented guy. There has to be some venture that you can pursue to make extra cash. I don't know what kind of equipment you have, but is there anything you can do with local musicians (production, etc...) or maybe video editing? It also sounds like you're good with your hands. What about teaching some vocational subject at a local community college or school? I wish I had more ideas, I just don't know enough about your talents.

The last time we had a conversation, I mentioned the possiblity of doing video work for attorneys. Was that something you were ever able to investigate further?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark,

I agree with the others in that you MUST improve your state of mind before doing anything else. Going around depressed and feeling sorry for yourself certainly isn't helping the situation. You have to get back on your feet and do the things necessary to solve your problems.

Yeah I agree with this totally. Sounds a lot like you are locked away and can't get out of this mental problem. No fun I'm sure. One thing I might also ask from past experiance is how well you are eating and how much exercise you get. In my experiance when I ate real poorly and didn't exercise I didn't have the energy to put out the effort for a whole lot. I was also self employed but to be honest I was very scared of trying to sell people on my company and my ability. However once I started eating better and exercising everyday I felt much better, able to take on more stuff and do it much faster.

If you are skeptical do what I did when I was told about that it might be my health. I went and got a couple of hampsters but you could use mice/rats or gingea pigs too. I fed one a similar diet to mine (no meat though) with a typical amount of sugar, bad starches and the like. The other one I fed just vegtables and that was it.

After a week the difference between the two hampsters was huge, the one with all that sugar was the laziest most sluggish thing I ever saw. He just sat around while the other one did normal hampter stuff with plenty of energy.

Okay okay so this isn't the most scientific study ever but it showed me that "hey maybe it's worth a shot". Once I got with it I saw the difference in my health, now things have completely turned around for me.

Either way whether it's mental or physical I hope you are able to feel more motivated.

:-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to offer the following perspective for your consideration. Based on this post and previous posts that you've authored, it is clear that you are angered by the fact that you are forced to pay so much money in property tax. I wholeheartedly agree that these taxes are immoral. I am forced to pay alot in taxes myself (property and otherwise) and I sometimes find some comfort in the fact that this money is spent on some things that represent value to me. Granted, it is not provided with my consent, nor as efficiently as it could be provided in the private market. I presume that you value things such as roads (which you use extensively), national defense, public schooling (should you decide to enroll your daughter in the future), police protection, etc. I'm sure I could make a longer list of those things that you do not value but which your tax money is spent on. I'm sure you could too. My point is that focusing on the positive may make a bitter pill easier to swallow. Please don't read this as an endorsement of taxation in any way - it's not.

Another point I'd like to address is the fact that you state that you are not good enough at any one skill or intelligent enough to find monetarily rewarding employment. I disagree. I disagree based exclusively on your written communication skills. These alone indicate to me that you are a capable man. I have interviewed several candidates on behalf of my company in the past and there is a startling lack of individuals with good communication skills and basic reasoning skills. I believe you have both, though I may disagree with your reasoning in specific instances. It sounds to me that what is preventing you from gainful employment is your ability to interact with others and perhaps the willingness to endure short-term pain for long term happiness. This is speculation on my part, based on your posts. I would conjecture that this issue may be overcome by sheer willpower.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but in all honesty, my reaction to essence of your posts is one of anger. This is because I never look at the world as anything but a place where man can succeed by the effort of his own mind and a love of life in spite of the obstacles that may present themselves. It sounds to me like you have given up living or nearly so and I find this attitude so incompatible with the tenants and spirit of Objectivism that my reaction is one of anger. I believe that a more positive attitude would enable you to harness the power of your mind more effectively in order to find numerous solutions to your current dilemma. There is no doubt that it is possible to overcome your financial problems, but first you must want to do so. You must first want to live. Focus on those items that are of value to you and do not let your hardships overcome your love of life.

Best wishes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Felix,

I'll try to address your response, paragraph by paragraph.

Yes, it is my goal to keep the house and fix it up. I personally believe that we live on practically sacred ground here. My neighbor's a civil engineer, and has done extensive geological studies of the area. We live at the apex of a large underground spring. He says our well has a protected aquifer and will never run dry because of being at the apex of this internal cavern, beneath 60' of solid ledge. We are fortunate to have some of the best-tasting drinking water in the world here.

We're also in a safe area. We don't get the storms, hurricanes, tornadoes that other areas get. Even thunderstorms have never caused lightning strikes here. Our neighbors get hit 2-3 times a year, but possibly because our electric feed runs underground, or because there are transformers on both sides of our line, or because of the fact that a 500' radio tower acts as a lightning rod down the road, we never got hit here. And I've got antenna masts going 55' into the air that have never been hit in over 15 years that they've been up.

My father used to claim that it was his spirit that kept the natural disasters away from this parcel of land, but I know better. It's got to do with us being in a crater in the top of a tall mountain. The houses on the ridge get hit all the time, while we're spared. And naturally, we don't have floods.

We built this house together, which is another reason. We made an effort to build it hurricane proof, having lost our prior house to a tornado that touched down in another town we used to live in. That house used to creek every time a breeze was blowing. I could run and ram my body right through the exterior wall and break through the sheetrock and end up standing in the livingroom. They didn't use plywood sheathing in those days.

The current house was overbuilt, with nails 2" apart, instead of 2' apart, heavier studs, plywood interior walls over which we put sheetrock later, solid bracing between studs and joists, etc. Only problem was a series of illnesses and hospitalizations wiped us out financially and we could not finish the upstairs properly, which means no overhangs, so water ran down the walls and rotted the walls, then the roof, (flat shed roof) over the next 40 years. By the 1990s, the bathroom ceiling was collapsing and sqirrels were living inside the spaces up there. It leaked and we always had buckets catching the rain. And eventually the ceiling got lower and lower. Until in 2003, I demolished it and rebuilt it from the floor up to the roof. Same thing with Amanda's room. Did that in 2004-2005.

Now it's the kitchen, and also removing a 945 sq ft "shack" that dad built on the roof shortly before he died of Leukemia. That shack is the curse of this house. It was sheltering the damaged original roof, but it's now rotting because it's own roof had temporary felt paper on it and the man died before he could finish the roof. Now it's a leaky, rotting, moldy structure that needs to be removed and at the same time, the roof under it rebuilt.

We're going to need a loan to cover the cost of removing that shack and the cost of rebuilding the roof below it. It's unlikely that we'll qualify for any, as we had to get cosigners to buy a used car recently when our old car kept failing emissions due to a badly worn engine. The financial aspect of this situation is going to be a mess. Plus the contractor that looked at the place last week said "you'll be opening a can of worms with the Town if you go ahead with this, because the building inspector will be out here to decide on the permit and he'll see the [listed three items] and he'll condemn the structure on the spot."

As for the areas of professional skills that I partially possess, no, there are no jobs locally. If I were the best at one of the fields I'm dabbling in, I'd have to live in LA to get the jobs in that field.

Here, there are only service jobs. Right now, I can earn in a day what I would earn all week at McD's, but the trouble is there's not enough work, and I've had to raise my rates over the past 6 years to cover cost of living and fuel increases. That cut down the number of clients. I made the same money, but worked less hours for a couple of years, but really fell behind in 2003 when I took the entire summer off to rebuild parts of the house.

I have put ads in the paper looking for marketing people, but soon realized that these people wanted big salaries and when they figured out that I was small fry, quickly moved on to better prospects. Nobody wants to market a graphic designer or videographer, where there is far too much undercutting competition.

As I was saying, unless I commute to an out of state city, the types of jobs which "suck less" are not reachable. Our state has managed to drive out a lot of high tech employers and our town has driven everything but retail out of the town. There are a couple of small fledgling marketing firms run by 2-3 people, and I once did some typography for them in the late 1980s, but the pay was poor, and I had to sue one of them to get paid at all. It's a pretty dismal economy for that kind of thing. Retail and home construction is booming, however, I have no interest in either.

As for my radio business, that depends on there being radio stations to service. As luck has it, my clients are all very far away, an as such, I would not want a daily commute to any one of them, even if they did call me for more than emergencies.

Yes, a big thing that's ruined my desire to expend effort now is that the reward just isn't there. And the taxes take so much that I'm afraid to succede PARTIALLY because I'd be on the radar of every revenue agency in the town, state and federal governments. Presently, living below the national poverty level, my federal tax burden is small. And I can live well on $1800/year-- it paid my utilities, food and heating oil. Anything else is gravy, because of my frugal lifestyle. Any windfall I make on ebay or through a lucrative studio construction project goes to my hobbies, which are the main thing that keeps me sane. Without my music, animation and electronics hobbies, I'd be an aimless vagabond. I save very strictly. By eating on the cheap, avoiding social outings, avoiding speeding tickets, etc., I've cut my cost of living so that I can enjoy nice things that I want on poverty income. Having several days a week devoted to my hobbies is very important to me. But these taxes are starting to take all my money now, unlike a few years ago. And that's the newest problem, for which I see no solution for an individual with a propensity to rub people the wrong way and make enemies on first-meeting. I'll admit that my disdain for religious Fascists is hard to conceal in daily exchanges. So I'm not going to be able to smooth-talk some employer into giving me a six-figure salary doing something I enjoy without a hefty list of degrees.

With the house in the collapsing (literally) state that it's in, I have to devote a large amount of time to rebuilding it myself. That precludes any permanent employment for the next several years, right there.

You have a reasonable perspective on my general situation, but of course I cannot convey the full gravity of the circumstances on a public forum (the risk is too great with federal laws being what they are).

I've talked to many experts and the lawyer types tend toward abandoning the property, while those with no vested financial interest in gaining at my expense seem to thing I can somehow fix this place up.

I have a lot of physical conditioning to do before I can tackle the remaining work that I plan to do myself this summer. It will be the largest task and without any help, it will be very dangerous and put the house and the contents at great risk if the weather turns bad while there's no roof. The last renovation I did took almost two years to finish. A month of building scaffolding to get up to the areas I needed to work on, a sort of 2-story scaffold with stairs that take one up to the next level, and lots of safety railings because of my lack of balance due to an inner ear problem. I worked on that roof and was a total nervous wreck because I don't trust my own body to sustain my balance and not cause me to fall off the roof.

I've got the most difficult stages of the renovation ahead of me, all with the problem of the town taxes taking this house away, which tends to dampen my enthusiasm to go ahead with a renovation that could be very dangerous for one man to attempt alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark,

I agree with the others in that you MUST improve your state of mind before doing anything else. Going around depressed and feeling sorry for yourself certainly isn't helping the situation. You have to get back on your feet and do the things necessary to solve your problems.

You sound like a talented guy. There has to be some venture that you can pursue to make extra cash. I don't know what kind of equipment you have, but is there anything you can do with local musicians (production, etc...) or maybe video editing? It also sounds like you're good with your hands. What about teaching some vocational subject at a local community college or school? I wish I had more ideas, I just don't know enough about your talents.

The last time we had a conversation, I mentioned the possiblity of doing video work for attorneys. Was that something you were ever able to investigate further?

I agree. State of mind is everything. And my problem is that I have always had high expectations of life, and when life didn't turn out that way, I was disappointed.

A former business associate of mine thinks I should be able to pull six figures with the knowledge and equipment I have, which includes three video cameras, a full editing suite, sound studio, DVD authoring tools of professional grade and music production tools of the highest quality. I bought much of my stuff used, or B-stock in some instances and had a lot of lucky breaks where I bought a piece of gear cheap that usually costs thousands more than I paid. So over the years, I've amassed a studio that even some wealthy CEOs could not imagine. My first love was sound. And in 1978-1984, "Bass Pig" the monstrous 10,000 watt sound system that resides in my basement studio, was born. I built much of the Pig from scratch, using my cabinet making skills and my ability to read books on acoustical design and implement the concepts.

In between it all, I was building broadcast transmitters, because it was my dream to build my own radio station. I succeeded at that, and in 1996, I met up with the owner of a chain of independant radio stations who determined that I was talented enough to be a chief engineer for real and make a living at it. So that became my 'day job' from 1997 to present. I like the freedom and flexible hours, though the commutes are a real pilgrimage and being stuck in traffic for sometimes as much as six hours is a real downside.

When 2000 came along, I revisited my 1986 attempt at a videography business. In 1986, my ancient tube cameras just weren't up to professional standards and I didn't have the $100,000 editing consoles needed to work with NTSC broadcast quality video, so I soon realized I wasn't getting the jobs for lack of quality. But in 2000, the digital video revolution brought down the cost, bumped up the quality and so I started out with my first 3-chip video camera, and then eventually added two more professional grade cameras. I got really into the editing side of it and got pretty good at learning the Adobe Premiere and AfterEffects to accomplish certain kinds of "looks".

Of course, one of my dreams for a long time was to create photorealistic animation, and the digital media made getting my animation onto DVD and distributable really a reality. However, it takes real creativity and a LOT of knowledge to do good animation work--not to mention a lot of people and computers. I've done some short demo works just to try out concepts. I have also been working on a project since 1980, inspired by a piece of music by Marcel Dupré, in which the viewer is in the perspective of a passenger in a spacecraft that is traveling over a strange planet. The music enabled me to have vivid imaginings of events of very specific nature, happening in the video, and I started out with clay and video cameras, trying to recreate, with no success, my vision. Then in 1995, my first real animation software came along and I tried, with modest success, to create "flyover" animations. More recently, I got into a really top-end animation software and a faster workstation, so I recreated one particular scene in my vision for this music, which consisted of scores of oil rigs, pumping away rhythmicly to the portion of the music that had a cadence that fit the motion of an oil well see-sawing along. I just don't have the time and the concentration to finish these projects. I hit roadblocks where I can't get something to work the way it should, and I waste a lot of time doing a particular thing the slow and stupid way, not realizing that I set up the scene incorrectly to allow other important functions to be done on it later on. My mind is just not genious enough to finish such mamoth tasks. I know enough to get started in many areas, but not enough to finish.

The area where I have finished quite a few projects is in shooting video and recording sound, something which I have been told I have a gift and a talent and ear for. I have to admit that I make some damned good recordings too, as I had one really lucky opportunity with a symphony orchestra to shoot a video and record 5.1 channel surround sound. The conductor, who hired me, was extremely pleased with the technical recording, but not with his own performance, which was a shame, as it was to be his portfolio promo piece. Now, I had been doing a lot of volunteer videos for my wife's Filipino cultural group, which involved traditional dance, so I'd been recording, editing and producing DVDs since Sept 2001, when I burned my first DVD (in fact, it was on the evening of the fall of the World Trade Center that I burned my first disc of video, having received the burner over that weekend prior), so when this orchestra job came down, I was really super prepared, thought everything out from every camera angle and how to control the unmanned cameras remotely. I would set up two cameres for B roll footage and then man the primary camera. And I was in "7th heaven" both shooting and later, editing that footage. It's what I really live to do. Record great music and work toward making the best fidelity recording possible. I worked hard on editing that program, with 14 tracks of audio to by synched to the three video tracks. I nailed down the editing and authored a wonderful DVD that is being distributed with certan members of the orchestra.

I think I can safely say I am at home in a recording career. Too bad I don't livin in Nashville or Hollywood. There's not much demand for what I do here in Wal-Mart land.

I actually had a conversation with my relative in the real estate business in Citrus County, FL and he was telling me that there was a market for real estate virtual tours. This would be either 360º navigatable panoramic views on a web page, or video walk throughs. However, when I was talking to real estate agents here in CT, I got a non-commital reception. I guess I don't know how to really ask for the work without sounding desparate.

No, I have not spoken with attornies about depositions. Sounds somewhat risky and I try to avoid contact with attornies at every turn of life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah I agree with this totally. Sounds a lot like you are locked away and can't get out of this mental problem. No fun I'm sure. One thing I might also ask from past experiance is how well you are eating and how much exercise you get. In my experiance when I ate real poorly and didn't exercise I didn't have the energy to put out the effort for a whole lot. I was also self employed but to be honest I was very scared of trying to sell people on my company and my ability. However once I started eating better and exercising everyday I felt much better, able to take on more stuff and do it much faster.

If you are skeptical do what I did when I was told about that it might be my health. I went and got a couple of hampsters but you could use mice/rats or gingea pigs too. I fed one a similar diet to mine (no meat though) with a typical amount of sugar, bad starches and the like. The other one I fed just vegtables and that was it.

After a week the difference between the two hampsters was huge, the one with all that sugar was the laziest most sluggish thing I ever saw. He just sat around while the other one did normal hampter stuff with plenty of energy.

Okay okay so this isn't the most scientific study ever but it showed me that "hey maybe it's worth a shot". Once I got with it I saw the difference in my health, now things have completely turned around for me.

Either way whether it's mental or physical I hope you are able to feel more motivated.

:-)

That's a very interesting story about the hampsters, and serves to back up clinical reports that I've ready more than two decades ago about longevity testing with feeding rats various amounts of food. The rats fed 1/3 as much lived almost twice as long as the rats that were allowed to eat all they want.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm familiar with proper dietary habits, but find it difficult to impliment them. I get too much pleasure from eating! I love to eat, in fact. And I am very good at cooking rich Italian dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo with clams and shrimp. In short, a 'heart attack on a plate' as one article on health described it. I am also addicted to doughnuts and cookies. Gotta have them with my midnight cup of coffee.

It's winter, here in the northeast, and as such, I don't get out much. All my activity is indoors, and this is the hardest season for me to be productive, as I am in the poorest health of the year. When spring arrives, I begin walking again (hard to do now with my little girl to look after--my wife won't let me get the mail down the road without taking her with me) and when the weather gets warm enough in April, I start biking again. Last summer, we bought a buggy that hitches up to the bike frame and holds up to two kids. It's quite heavy and I pulled that buggy around, up and down steep hills here in the mountains all summer. I was in almost acceptable health by August, though I'd like to do better still.

When I met my wife overseas back in the last century, I dusted off my barbells and started pumping iron. I walked 2 miles every evening and I got myself into much better condition in 6 months' time. So when I flew to the Philippines the following January, I was in good enough condition to make the trip.

I really need to get on a regimen again, but it's hard with responsibilities of child-rearing. When Amanda is older, she can walk with me, but right now she's too young and monkey-like in behavior patterns.

But yes, if I can feel better, I think that would at least help me feel more productive. But the big problem is the seemingly-insurmountable hurdles I face. A lot of times it's easier just to sleep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BetTheFarm,

I wish I could find some value in what my taxes pay for, but you see here, I have no city water, sewer or road service. I live on an unmaintained cow path of a 'road' that I have to clear myself in the winter. The only 'services' I got from the town were unwelcomed visits from building inspectors, accompanied by half the town's police dept on several occasions.

Aside from that, indoctrinating our young with Fascist ideals is not something I consider worth paying for. And with the wide open borders we have and illegals flooding our market and raising our crime, lowering the salaries and quality of life do to their unwillingness to assimilate into American lifestyles, and the wide open path for terrorists to enter the country, I have to say that national defense in a joke. My tax dollars at work. Yeah, they sure are.

I have been told that I have a gift for writing, however, beyond my editorials int he newspaper (about taxes) and a little bit of blogging, I did little writing. I've started three fiction stories since 1985, but never finished any of them, as the motivation diminished as other circumstances took center stage in my life.

I owe my clarity of writing to Objectivism, because at least when I was younger, still full of hope and not jaded, and while the books were fresh in my mind, I could think pretty well then. My chess game was very good up until about 1975, when I began to become more pragmatic in my thinking. My game started to go downhill, and I started losing games because I didn't think all the possibilities out before making my move.

Now, I doubt there's a commercial writing career in the wings for me. Only a few, very gifted writers ever make a living and have a best seller.

Yes, I am very angry that I was lied to by those that represent this nation and its educational institutions, convincing me that we were a 'free' nation and that our Constitution protects us, as well as how important the Bill of Rigths is. Then I get out into real life and learn that it's only partially true, if your taxes are paid in full. I became furious in the 1960s when the draft started, because the contradiction to freedom became so obvious, that I didn't understand why the retired army colonel who came to spy on an anti-draft meeting that I attended was so angry at us for not wanting to die in some immoral war, much less that you cannot profess to be a free nation when you enslave selectees in the draft.

I became angry when I found out that the airwaves were controlled by the Federal mafia, the FCC, and that the merit of technical genius was not the ticket to getting a licensed station, but that only big money and corporate connections were. And when the family home passed onto me, I became infuriated with the rapidly rising taxes that I faced every year. How could they be using THAT much money every year? It has to be going into some black project. Eminent domain was another evil concept that I grew angered about, and so was sewer assessments--where they condemn your septic and well and force you to tie into their flourinated/chemical-laiden water supply that bills you every month and tells you not to drink the water every year. Those last two are why we moved to the country. We love it here, but the government has GOT to go!

But in the context of all of this, I have to somehow figure out how Objectivism can help me to live happily in this irrational world. I'm coming up short in that area. That's the intent of my initial post, to find out how to apply Objectivism to make life bearable again in a Fascist enslavement camp called America.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate the injustice they are perpetrating and can understand how you feel in a lot of ways. I hope the following helps.

I think everyone here agrees to one extent or another, that the government has oppressive, collectivist elements. We can try to point out how to view them as less negative a factor in your life. And if you want to enjoy life on earth, you should try to do that for yourself with regard to governemnt and every other thing.

But that is a political discussion.

That is exactly what you don't need to discuss.

What you need to examine are your perspectives on metaphysics, on day-to-day happiness, and of course on figuring out all of your options and the best ones and how to pursue them.

Objectivist politics tells us that no man should be oppressed.

Metaphysics tells us that humans and human societies are fallible and that you and I, here and now live in a far from optimal society (and let us not forget, a far from completely unfree one). Reality based philosophy tells us that philosophizing or wishing aren't going to change that in time to help you with the practical issues your facing. Unless you think it is worth trying to challenge the tax laws or officials, you're just crying over spilt milk (I would be outraged too, in fact I am, but that's not really getting us anywhere in this context)

The fact that you are being oppressed and squeezed, like all facts of reality, simply is - unless you can change someone's mind, someone who can choose to make things politically different. Even if you choose to pursue that path, the only reasonable thing is to also pursue other courses of action that take the tax problem as an unchangeable given.

Back to non-politically philosophy: No matter how outrageous the situation is, if it can't be changed (in time to help your situation) then you might as well be fussing over the fact that you can't flap your wings and lift off the ground. You have to let that go. the rational thing is to constantly strive to find the best life you and your family can enjoy.

Accept the fact that the government is unjust. Accept the fact that you may have to temporarily do some unpleasant work to make money. You may have had expectations that you would never again have to do that in life. I know it hurts when our expectations aren't realized, but sometimes you have to recognize and accept that.

Spend your energy concentrating on developing a strategy to get the most happiness you and your family can over the next couple of decades. Accept the fact that you may not wind up with what you thought you would a few years ago. Accept the fact that things change. (unfortunately for you unjust tax evaluations are part of that picture. it sucks, but you know, a lot of unfortunate things prevent us from getting everything we'd hoped for. I'm not unsympathetic, I'm just trying to tell it to you objectively.)

The whole thing is a matter of perspective. the goal of life is happiness. Even if you lose the house you love, admit it, you can have happiness in life, especially with a wife and child to love you. Of course it's not ideal to pay rent. That doesn't mean it is rational to refuse to even consider it as an option, even temporarily. Plenty of people manage to live happy lives without owning real estate. I'm just saying, you can't knock something off the table just because it's not your first choice (or your second or third).

Your situation sounds very tough. Your choices are very tough, but in the end it's just a complex problem to be solved mentally. You look at the given facts (such as you can try to fight the taxes, but they don't look like they're going away, so plan accordingly), variable (e.g. you can do x, y or z to make money) and invariable (e.g. you need a minimum of $XX dollars buy April 15) and you figure out what will bring the great est happiness and the least pain. Leonard Piekoff chose not to fight the Library of Congress, even though he felt they perpetrated a great injustice - he decided the cost was too much, his life was better fulfilled with other pursuits)

Thinking about situations that are worse than mine helps me to balance my perspective, so I'm offering that to you. There are so many different things that people go through. As bad as your situation is, it's not the worst I've heard of or you have I'm sure. Again, I'm not being unsympathetic, just objective.

I think you should concentrate on salvaging the most you can, building a strategy for the future and trying to be innovative in that. Appreciate every single good thing, try to ignore, as much as you possibly can (and then some) all the bad. When I feel bad I try to think over good things and people I have. And I remember that the purpose of life is happiness. Going over and over how terrible the state of politics is in 2006 in CT (that's where you live, right?) is not going to get you there. Thinking, and then some hard work and struggle will be necessary.

Best of luck with all that your facing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any windfall I make on ebay or through a lucrative studio construction project goes to my hobbies, which are the main thing that keeps me sane. Without my music, animation and electronics hobbies, I'd be an aimless vagabond. I save very strictly. By eating on the cheap, avoiding social outings, avoiding speeding tickets, etc., I've cut my cost of living so that I can enjoy nice things that I want on poverty income. Having several days a week devoted to my hobbies is very important to me.

Have you considered trying elance? There you could get paid for doing music and animation work, even electronics work for other people and make money with your hobbies. I think it's worth a shot.

Maybe you can also find marketing help there.

There are, of course, other sites to look for stuff like that (maybe with lower listing fees).

I don't know what kind of animation work you do, but if you have the skills to do Flash animation (or can learn it easily, which I think you can), it will be very easy to make money by offering to do flash animations for websites. They are needed all over the place, now that the new economy is rising again.

Just a thought. :)

Edited by Felix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No matter how outrageous the situation is, if it can't be changed (in time to help your situation) then you might as well be fussing over the fact that you can't flap your wings and lift off the ground.
That was a great post, Elvin.

I think that contextually-unchangable man-made facts must be viewed as metaphysical facts. Not that they are metaphysical facts; however, when viewed across the limited span of one's life (which is all that matters) some man-made facts require an attitude that is no different from metaphysical facts..

Ayn Rand starts her 1973 essay "The Metaphysical versus the Man-made" by quoting a prayer that goes:

God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference...
This is certainly not a call to pragmatism; not a call to shrug and say: "Mine is not to question why, mine is but to do or die". However, after considering the facts, and considering the options over one's remaining lifetime, one must act.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When Howard Roark's business failed, he went and worked in a mine and I believe lived in a shack of some sort.

I'm not saying that you should do the same, but think about it a bit. Your own effort and your own struggle for survival is being taxed. Somebody set the terms of living such that you clearly cannot and don't want to accept. Then why should you try? Why go through such torment? Do what Howard did. Get a menial physical job just to keep you alive and make you feel alive and get away from the world you don't want to live in.

When in a position like yours, it is hardly possible to find satisfaction in what one does in life, so perhaps you shouldn't. Step aside and watch the juggernaught go to hell from a safe distance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that contextually-unchangable man-made facts must be viewed as metaphysical facts.

As the matter of fact, they mustn't. It is at least dishonest to do so. You should at all times be able to distinguish between that which is metaphysically given and that which is man-made. However, note that "metaphysically given" is different to "things I cannot change," so the beginning of Ayn Rand's essay is in order.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As the matter of fact, they mustn't. It is at least dishonest to do so. You should at all times be able to distinguish between that which is metaphysically given and that which is man-made. However, note that "metaphysically given" is different to "things I cannot change," so the beginning of Ayn Rand's essay is in order.
To clarify, I was not suggesting people fool themselves about the nature of specific things, but suggesting they adopt a certain attitude (i.e. psychological approach) toward those things. So, I was using the epistemological concepts as analogies for a psychological idea.

Thanks for pointing it out, "source", because I see now that I need to re-think the analogy.

Thinking "aloud", perhaps I should turn the analogy on it's head, and end up with something like: "the approach of avoiding taxes by taking a lower-paying job etc. etc. treats taxes as a metaphysical phenomenon; a man-made thing calls for a different approach, etc. ". Anyhow, I need to think about this a bit more. Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To clarify, I was not suggesting people fool themselves about the nature of specific things, but suggesting they adopt a certain attitude (i.e. psychological approach) toward those things. So, I was using the epistemological concepts as analogies for a psychological idea.

Context is important. I think you are basically correct in what you said.

There's a big confusion among people who differentiate "metaphysical" from "man-made" as though the actual existing products of the man-made are not "fully metaphysical". The Empire State building - or a particular existing government organization - are man made and *could have been otherwise* - but once existing they are "just as real" as the Rocky Mountains. Of course, they can also in the future be changed by men - but that is true of any existent.

It is a proper recognition of reality to treat some government organization as real and to act accordingly. To do otherwise *is* to fail to properly recognize and to properly act in your own self-interest. Whether it should exist or not, or should have a different nature, is a valid question that can be acted upon (without any guarantee that change will occur in any particular timeframe), but *that it does exist and has a certain nature that affects you* is most certainly real as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whether it should exist or not, or should have a different nature, is a valid question that can be acted upon [...]

This is exactly what makes the man-made different from the metaphysically given. Discussion of whether the metaphysically given should have a different nature is invalid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is exactly what makes the man-made different from the metaphysically given. Discussion of whether the metaphysically given should have a different nature is invalid.

Different *in what way*? Do you think that a man-made fact of existence can be wished away because you can imagine a superior alternative? It is different only because *it could have* been different. Once it exists, it's as real as anything else - and that is the point here. And if evil could be quashed by wishful thinking, Atlas Shrugged would have been a boring book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When Howard Roark's business failed, he went and worked in a mine and I believe lived in a shack of some sort.

I'm not saying that you should do the same, but think about it a bit. Your own effort and your own struggle for survival is being taxed. Somebody set the terms of living such that you clearly cannot and don't want to accept. Then why should you try? Why go through such torment? Do what Howard did. Get a menial physical job just to keep you alive and make you feel alive and get away from the world you don't want to live in.

When in a position like yours, it is hardly possible to find satisfaction in what one does in life, so perhaps you shouldn't. Step aside and watch the juggernaught go to hell from a safe distance.

I've lived a miserable life of working manual labor jobs and low-wage employment. I retired from all that in 1989, and I can never see myself going back to such a miserable existence.

My present existence is not bad at all. Other than the fact that my roof is collapsing and leaking when it rains, if you subtract the tax matter, life is good. Very good, in fact.

It looks like I grossed less than 11 grand last year, the 2nd sharp decline in a row of my income due to changes in the global economy putting downward pressure on wages and revenue for industries that employ me, as well as due to my spending spring, summer and fall doing 12 hour days of demolishing and rebuilding portions of my home. In 3 years, I've restored 20% of the roof and the supporting structure.

I've worked to hard to just walk away.

Like Islamo-Fascists, I am militantly commited to my way of life and freedom and will use as deadly a weapon as my mind can construct to crush the advancing army of thugs who come to remove me from my land and American Dream, my Way of Life.

I don't know how much time I have left. My younger cousin just passed away last month, leaving me just about the only living Weiss left. Tax liens and threats from town lawyers have already put my parents in the grave.

I go on trying to enjoy my life as best I can, but doggonnit, I don't have any more money to hand over to these bastards!

Five years ago, my property taxes were only 2.5 times my total living expenses (heating oil, electric, phones, internet, food, gasolene) for the year. Now they are much more than that and with no end in site. In 1966, I never imagined five figure property taxes would even be possible. Now I must expect that they will increase to six figures in 20 years. My daughter will have to live through that hell.

But in a way, I envy the Fascists, because they don't have to suffer this internal pain of being a 'crazy minority' and a 'selfish bastard.' They are happy to fork over 92% of their income to all levels of government because they believe in that system. I don't, and there is no place on earth for me to go where a rational system exists. I feel like Dr. Forester in "The Humanoids", being overrun by robots, the last man alive with control over his own mind, and facing the inevitable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...