Sunday, September 21, 2014

Politicians and Happiness

                Yesterday I had to drive to Mid Rivers mall and while driving along I-70, traffic momentarily slowed by about 20 mph before an overpass. A lone man was sitting under an umbrella and had hung a large sign stating “IMPEACH OBAMA”. The motorcyclist in front of me, dressed in leather with a red bandana, raised an arm in the air and made a fist. What compels people to think that removing a single president from office will make things better?
                If Obama is impeached, we will still live in a world where most of the money is concentrated in a small group of people and most people will work their lives away and get little in return. We will still live in a world where paying for college results in credentials that can suffice to impress employers enough to impart some of their money. We will still live in a world with artificial political borders that require one to have a passport and be treated worse than a rapist, murderer, arsonist, robber and sodomite when attempting to cross those borders. We will still live in a world where people believe in religion, astrology, ghosts, conspiracy theories and deny that humans evolved from simpler organisms, and that human made industrial processes and technology can cause global warming.
                I was born into an already established world. Things weren’t right when I was born, before I was born, and since I was born. During my existence and 200 years prior, we have had presidents and along with them, problems. Even before presidents there were problems. I don’t know what people are thinking when they think eliminating a person will solve problems with people. The only way that a person can live without problems is to live in a society without any other people, which will turn sour once other people are desired and not found.
                Politicians are people that crave power. They want your vote so they can stay in power, since the worst that can happen to a politician is losing power (it’s like someone else losing a job). I suspect that most people don’t understand the truth about politicians, which is that they do not hold office to make YOU happy, but to make THEM happy. Politicians seek to satisfy themselves, which makes them pretty much like everyone else. For example, you don’t get a job to make your employer happy. Think of yourself as the employer and the politician as your employee; I find this particular example elucidating. If I carry this example further, imagine firing an employee that does not produce desirable results, which would be equivalent to removing a politician from office. When the employee is gone are all problems solved? No. New problems replace the old ones. The new problems are typically in the form of new people.
                The problem with people is that they try to domesticate each other. We’re all basically solipsistic hedonists that avoid genuinely disturbing situations and events. We have invented terms like “altruism”, “empathy” and “social”, which are, to wit: the self-satisfying pleasure of helping others, the self-satisfying pleasure of attempting to understand another mind, and the self-satisfying pleasure of interacting with another mind. With each person striving to achieve a state of unending pleasure and with pleasure not being the same for everyone, how can anyone ever be happy?
                While I have been writing this essay, a quote from Robert Heinlein came to mind. I consider it to be the most truthful thing ever stated by any human being:
                                When a place gets crowded enough to require ID’s, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
                Unfortunately, we don’t have space travel yet, not in the sense that will liberate people from the madness of religion and political borders. My ultimate idea of happiness is having my own FTL-drive spaceship and returning to Earth perhaps once or twice, just to see how the madness is moving along. The spaceship would serve as a home in any environment, so I could live anywhere. It’d be fun to meet other people that left the Earth and talk about the things we’d seen. We’d never form large enough groups to require identification and once someone showed signs of wanting power, we’d jump in our spaceships and go elsewhere. Politicians would go insane without people to control, so they’d all have to stay on the Earth. Once everyone left the Earth, the politicians would be the sole survivors and finally kill each other, rather than using other people for that task.