Beliefs, religions, worldviews, politics, and cults

Think like sheep peopleIt feels good to believe things. It is nice to not have doubts. The world is so full of doubt. Belief systems take care of so many doubts. They make us feel secure. That said, I’m fairly certain that any type of true security is an illusion. Worldviews are quite close to beliefs in that they are like filters that we see our world through, but unlike beliefs they are theoretically changeable through rational discourse or scientific evidence.

I find it unfortunate that many people make their worldviews into beliefs. The best example is the worldview of an extreme political partisan such as a Democrat, Republican, socialist, or communist. Other examples of worldviews that often turn into beliefs include realism, idealism, conservatism, liberalism, and even atheism.

Even if people reject beliefs we still seem to have a pervasive need to attach some sort of spiritual significance to our lives. Perhaps this need exists in the human psyche because we still have more questions than answers and it makes us feel insecure. I am no exception, which is why I try to keep myself from being a believer by reserving 1% doubt about any idea. A lack of belief in ideas is what I think I need to keep from getting pulled into a cult. This is because I’m rather gullible at times, and I have been in two “cults” before. Specifically, I was a Lutheran and a Democrat. I know calling Lutherans cult members is an extremely unpopular thing to do in a Christian nation, but bear in mind that most Christian denominations consider any sufficiently different variation from their religious beliefs in another Christian group to be enough to make it a cult. For example, the church I was a part of until I was eighteen taught that the Mormon church is a cult. The idea that a political party is a cult is pushing the boundary of the word a bit, but partisanship in America has become so extreme in recent years that it is an accurate description of adherents.

I have also noticed that spirituality, beliefs, and religion have been subtlety inserted into our self-help groups and legal processes. All the chemical dependency and mental illness facilities/groups I have ever heard about encourage, if not require, people to find a religion, spiritual path, or at least a “higher power.” Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are largely voluntary and free examples of such groups. There are other programs and facilities that people are forced to pay for under the law, after getting a drunk driving ticket for example, that require such thinking too. As you might guess, it deeply disturbs me that the state in any way requires or endorses spirituality or religion.

I support everyone’s right to think whatever they want to; yet I encourage people to not believe each other, but rather believe in each other (a subtle difference). Let’s retain the wall of separation between church and state. Let’s erect a new wall between spirituality and the state. Let’s remember what the nature of a cult is. They pull people in with comforting dogma that answers unanswerable questions. They fill people’s heads with silly beliefs like the holy trinity, totally equal distribution of wealth, or trickle down economics. While believers may feel safer, get to drink some tasty Kool Aid, and wear some nice Nike shoes; in the end people usually die because of a lack of rational thought. Political believers are not an exception.

Russian dogs commute on the subway to eat in the city and go back home to the suburbs

Anyone who gets down on dogs’ intelligence should read this article. These dogs are smarter than some people I know.

You can see a subway dog in action in this video.

Also check out this you-tube video about how smart this dog is.

Best WoW Jokes EVAR – by Panser (NSFW)

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It has come to my attention that the blog has lacked nerdery of late. I am relying on Panser to help me out (Danielle from King of the Nerds).  I am biased because she is a WoW fanatic; but I do think she should have been crowned King!  I mean, come on, she beat a NASA scientist at a physics problem and gave props to the people who are really in the know.

I’d also like to give a shout out to my good friend Dr. K for showing me this wonderful woman’s work a while back.

Sentio, ergo sum

Years ago I met a woman in a novelty gift shop. It was a strange day. At the time I was very philosophical and I was preoccupied with the number 8. We got into a discussion as I was purchasing some merchandise and she was sitting in a chair near the till chatting with the owner of the business. Somehow during the conversation I managed to tell her “I’m an 8,” which was my “great insight” of the day, and I mean that quite sarcastically. She understood my meaning and replied that she was an 8 too because she was 80 (or perhaps she was 88 – I honestly can’t recall). We continued talking happily about this and that for a few minutes, enjoying each other’s company and discussing the nature of existence. At some point she passed on to me René Descartes‘ famous axiom, “cogito, ergo sum,” explained that it is in Latin, and that the English translation is “I think, therefore I am.” She further explained that the reverse is also true, “sum, ergo cogito,” and told me the English translation is, “I am, therefore I think.”

Frans Hals - Portret van René Descartes

Credit: Frans Hals – Portret van René Descartes

I have found others who have had this insight as well; but I do not know if she had it first or who to attribute it to. I tend to think that others have stumbled onto this related axiom as well, but in my heart she will always get the credit. Since then it has become a mantra of mine when thoroughly engaged in and confused by philosophical thought experiments with friends to say cogito, ergo sum and then sum, ergo cogito. It always makes me smile because if I can prove nothing else with philosophy I can prove that I exist.

Since then I have read a bit of Descartes and noticed in his justification of this statement that he says he feels he thinks. I have been thinking about how to use my right brain more actively and intuitively for many years. I have attempted to do so in various and varied ways. I will not bother you with recounting any of the methods I have tried or pondered as they are not the primary focus of this composition. Instead I will leave you with the insight that I reckon I have stumbled onto or perhaps into (though someone may have beaten me to it). I have attempted to translate this thought concisely into Latin to honor Descartes. I would welcome anyone who has a greater understanding of Latin to correct me on my translation if it is not accurate.

Sentio, ergo sum – I feel, therefore I am.

Of course, I posit that the reverse is true as well.

Sum, ergo cogito – I am, therefore I feel.

It is typical of Western thought and our modern world to disregard feeling and assert the primacy of thought. I am asserting that feeling precedes thought; and it appears to me that Descartes alludes to this in his work without even realizing it. I have decided to use this as my mantra from now on. I think and feel that it is more correct, or at least as correct as the original thought. It may be just a right-brained reflection of the original though. Perhaps it will allow me to get into the right hemisphere of my brain a bit more efficiently. Even if it doesn’t, I like it better.

Better yet, maybe I should be saying “I feel and think, therefore I am.” I think it feels more whole this way. Thoughts and feelings are certainly at least as important as each other; and to be clear I am speaking of emotional feelings, not tactile feelings etc. Do you feel me? Do you think me? Do you see what I mean?

I welcome your thoughts and feelings on the subject.

Thoughts on exceptional people

I have spent my life trying to find exceptional people. There are fewer than I would like, and many have not made it this far. Exceptional people have throughout history been persecuted by average people because they are ahead of their time, hence they often oppose the status quo, and by extension are mysterious. Mysterious people are unpredictable to the average person. Unpredictability leads to fear of the unknown, which leads to persecution.

For their ideas extraordinary people have often lost their lives, been isolated, demonized, discredited, and criminalized. I will point out some poignant examples of historical and popular figures I feel fit this description: Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura, Bradley Manning, Jullian Assange, the Dahli Llama, Ai Weiwei, Martin Luther King, Nicola Tesla, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Galileo of Galilee, Copernicus, Socrates (assuming he is not fictional), and Jesus of Nazareth (assuming he is not fictional).  This is but a tiny list that consists largely of “Westerners” and is severely lacking in women (this is why we need “women’s history”) that I have come up with basically off of the top of my head.

There are also entire cultures that have been persecuted. The Jewish (culture of) people have been persecuted throughout the Jewish Diaspora and continuing on into modern times. There is a disproportionate amount of exceptional Jews because of their societal values (not to mention their cliquish tendencies) and it has gotten them into a lot of trouble. The Gypsies have historically had the same problem, as have the people of Tibet, and the Native Americans (who were also persecuted for their land).  You may disagree with the specific people and/or cultures I have given as examples, but I trust you get my point nonetheless.

Fear is dangerous. We should do our best to not fear each other unnecessarily. Bear in mind that just because a person or a group of people seem mysterious or unpredictable that it doesn’t mean they are bad people. Remember that we are all here to do good, at least in our own minds, unless we are actual sociopaths (which is hard to prove). Remember that we should always err on the side of liberty. We would do well to base our reactions to others on the actions of others, not on their words or ideas. Remember that we should not try to cause each other pain as a result of our fear of the potential actions of others.

A wise man once told me that anger is an emotion that is secondary to pain. As Buddha said, “life is suffering” (the corollary is also true – life is joy). Therefore, we all suffer pain. When we suffer pain we are prone to lash out and cause others pain. This is where we have the opportunity to stop the cycle of pain we cause each other. This does not make us dangerous people. It makes us human. Don’t let society tell you that you are anything less.

Society will judge you based on what it thinks you may do if it deems you an unpredictable person. Mysteries and unpredictability are scary to societies too. The fears of society often lead to us giving up our liberties. Let’s remember the words of Benjamin Franklin (often attributed to Thomas Jefferson): “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We would do better to live in societies based on mutual love and respect for each other rather than societies based on fear of each other. We would do well to resist rigidity and give those with thoughts different from ours a chance. We will surely suffer for it if we don’t. Be courageous enough to suffer and not pass the pain on to anyone else; that is what an exceptional person does. Have the courage to be exceptional.

If you can, forgive the “preachy tone” of my post.

With love and respect,

“Impartial Juror”

Bernie Sanders takes corporate tax rates, “revenue neutral tax reform,” Republicans, Democrats, and President Obama on.

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Bernie stands up for the people.

Is the war on drugs coming to an end?

Could it be true?  Is the war on drugs finally coming to an end?  We’ve heard similar statements from our Dear Leader while on the campaign trail before his first term.  Only time will tell.

Focusing On Prevention And Neuroscience, President Ends Reagan’s War On Drugs

I don’t even care if you’re Christian..

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Marry me!  😉

Jesus not Obama

Jesus not Obama

This reminds me of when I was painting Jesus fishing up a Darwin fish in Painting 101.  Somebody looked at it and said: Jesus wasn’t Mexican.  My response was: well he sure as hell wasn’t white!

We can dance if we want to

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Adam Kokesh & 4 other “protestors” dance at the Jefferson Memorial and are brutally arrested for doing so.

The charges were later dismissed, but as far as I know the law remains in place stating that you cannot “flashmob” at a Memorial in Washington DC (as if 5 people constitute a flashmob) as it is a form of protest.  Freedom of expression – not here!

WELCOME TO THE POLICE STATE.

I know some of you liberals are probably disappointed in me

I recognize that many would think that if I was truly a bleeding heart liberal I would be more supportive of our President and Democratic congressmen (and women!).

Sadly, if you haven’t noticed, President Barack Obama and his herd are just the other side of the coin called the corporate party.  Of course, I had no love for President George W. Bush or his herd either.  Hell, I actually voted for Obama the first time, but as Dubya so eloquently put it “fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me.. can’t get fooled again.”

My problems with our liberal leadership are many and varied.  A true liberal doesn’t allow tanks to roll through the streets inside of their own country.  A true liberal doesn’t offer to cut Social Security as an opening move in budget negotiations (what would the equivalent be in chess – perhaps playing without any pawns).  A true liberal doesn’t allow torture.  A true liberal doesn’t circumvent due process and the rule of law to catch the bad guys.  A true liberal doesn’t give up the liberty of his people, no matter what the cost, ever.

If the citizens that considered themselves Democrats or Republicans had any spine they would stand up for what they supposedly believe in, protest, make their representatives act on their beliefs, and never vote for either party again.  Instead it is apparent that the majority of people who consider themselves either a Democrat or a Republican merely support “their man” without question (let’s take that literally too – we have never had a woman president – Pakistan has).

I wish members of both political parties could have the courage to admit that both of “their guys” screwed up our economy, infringed upon our civil liberties, violated the Geneva Conventions, and engaged in thinly veiled resource wars in the name of “democracy” and “terrorism.”  Of course, that would mean admitting that we were wrong when we supported one side or the other.  It would mean admitting that all those arguments we had with people of the other party were really just us being the unwitting patsies of the plutocracy.  It would mean that we would have to actually do something other than repeat the canned phrases that we hear on MSNBC and FOX news.  It would mean we would have to admit that the two-party system is fatally flawed.  I can see why most Americans can’t bear to do that.  It takes some real courage to admit when you have been wrong and it has hurt just about everyone you know.

I will admit it to you now.  I was wrong for at least 80% of my life.  I thought the Democrats had my back.  They didn’t.  Anybody else?

I may sound radical but let’s think about our current situation critically.  Tanks are rolling around in our streets and DEMOCRATS are JUST FINE with it.  If that doesn’t qualify the United States as a military state and an authoritarian regime I don’t know what does.  Can you imagine what Democrats would be saying if George W. Bush had allowed tanks to roll around in our streets?  This is what is called a cult of personality, you know, like the Dear Leader in North Korea has.  Patriotism is all well and good but this rally around the flag mentality has gotten completely out of hand.  Stop being motivated by fear.  Start standing up for your rights and the rights of others.  The men and women in uniform that have died for us over the last 237 years deserve that we honor them by at least not being utterly ignorant and craven cowards.

It is with these things in mind that I have decided to refer to our current President as “Dear Leader” in honor of his cult of personality and his authoritarian regime.  I will also pray to our Dear Leader, never take his name in vain, and when Passover comes I will put the blood of a member of the opposing party (whichever party that is at the time) above my door to make sure that “my guy” knows I’m with him so he doesn’t kill my firstborn son.  That said, to use our Dear Leader’s favorite cliché, “Make no mistake,” I am as disappointed in the American people as I am with our leadership.  Now, get back to the herd and go back to sheep.. er.. I mean sleep.

An explanation of CISPA and some links to petitions against it

Stop CISPA

Stop CISPA

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a bill going through the US Congress right now.  The goal of CISPA is to allow the US government to more effectively police the internet. Legislators have been trying to get a bill of this nature signed into law for many years, and in fact did try to pass a previous version of this same bill in 2011.  It has been reintroduced by Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan’s 8th district.  North Korean hackers, Wikileaks, and even the Boston bombing have already been used to justify the reintroduction of this draconian bill.

The problem with this bill is that it would allow the U.S. government to collect personal information about online users from companies without having to issue a warrant.  In other words, they don’t need to have any proof or a valid reason to investigate you to get information about your browsing habits, what websites you visit, how often, what you say, and who you interact with.  There is even a provision in the bill would allow US companies to require employees to give them the passwords for their social networking accounts (for websites like Facebook) according to the Huffington Post. That is my understanding of the proposed law.

President Obama has vowed to veto the bill unless better privacy rights are not incorporated into the bill. I wonder what President Obama considers acceptable protection of privacy and if his requirements would actually be adequate. This sounds to me like posturing to satisfy his political base. I would wager that if congress makes some largely superficial changes to the bill to make it sound better our dear leader will sign it into law.

In my experience, a good indicator that something is wrong with a bill is that the ACLU opposes it. They have extensive information about the bill.  Wired has also written a good article about the issue.

Anonymous has asked the internet community to blackout their websites.  Almost 400 websites have joined in their protests; but sadly none of the big movers and shakers like Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, or Facebook have taken part (clearly WordPress.com hasn’t).

If you would like to protest this bill here is a petition to the whitehouse and a petition from the ACLU to strike down the bill.

Internet blackout called for by Anonymous to protest CISPA

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Anonymous CISPA Blackout #blackout #CISPAblackout

Anonymous CISPA Blackout #blackout #CISPAblackout

Anonymous has called for an internet blackout to protest CISPA on Monday May 22.  I wholeheartedly support this protest.  #blackout #CISPAblackout

 

My fellow Americans: we live in an authoritarian regime and effectively have no rights any longer.

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This is what you call an unlawful search according to the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution which “applies to the states by way of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” (quote from the Wikipedia page).  To my fellow Americans and the citizens of the world.  Recognize this and do what you can.  I do not endorse acts of terrorism or killing.  I am a pacifist and I fear for the lives of my countrymen.  I love everyone.  I must be careful what I say and do or become a target of the state as well.  We all must.  Where can America’s drones not reach?  Does anybody really know?

Read the comments in the original youtube video for further information.  I hope to be here tomorrow to keep writing.  If I am not here tomorrow you will know why.  Should that occur I encourage people to figure out who I actually am as I have carefully hidden myself from only the most casual search for my actual identity.  Perhaps I am being paranoid.  I hope that is the case.

So American by Portugal. The Man

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Lyrics:

If vain was a color to paint in you
Your heart would be the color blue.
Be a gradient from there until your body met your hair
Which remained a silver.

You are the one they call Jesus Christ.
Who didn’t know no rock and roll.
Just a mission made of guns that they give boys in Vietnam.
In a heart that always told you

There’s a madness in us all.
There’s a madness in us all.

So
Who wrote the rules?
Who wrote the rules?
Who wrote the rules?

They said
Every one of you will never try to lend a hand
When the police men don’t understand.

Boys all you boys
Think you’re so American.
Girls all you girls

Yeah you’re so American.
He may not be born of this land
But he was born of this world.
He was born of all the mothers
And the colors of our brothers
And the love that was started.

You are the one they call Jesus Christ.
Who may not know no rock and roll
There may not be a heaven
Or a place in which to send ya
But you know in the end

There’s a madness in us all. (x4)

So
Who wrote the rules?
Who wrote the rules?
Who wrote the rules?

They say
Every one of you will never try to lend a hand
When the police men don’t understand.

Boys all you boys
Think it’s so American.
Girls all you girls
Yeah you’re so American.

There’s two eyes for every one of us
But somebody got there first and took them all. (x2)

Man oh man
You think it’s so American

Man oh man.

Yeah you’re so American (x2)

There’s two eyes for every one of us
But somebody got there first and took them all. (x2)

The emails between Guantanamo Bay prisoners and their defense lawyers have been “lost” and their meeting rooms have been wiretapped

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15 more of the 166 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have been held since 2002, mostly without any charge due to a lack of any substantive evidence, have joined the hunger strike that has been going on since February of this year.  It is not enough that these prisoners’ human rights have been violated by being tortured against the statutes of the Geneva Conventions.  It is not enough that the Obama Administration has not managed to close down Guantanamo Bay prison facility, as has been repeatedly promised, and as lefties maintain President Obama has every intention of doing.  We now have evidence of new violations of American law.

I dispute the idea that the Obama Administration ever really intended to close down the facility.  It was just another empty campaign promise.  My assertion is supported by the fact that it is well known that congress does not have the political will to close down the facility. This is further reinforced by the news of bugs found in the rooms where attorneys meet with their clients, emails and data that have been “lost” on government servers, and emails and data that have been removed from private servers, clearly by government hackers.  Really, who else has the resources to find out where all these private servers are and has the means and motive to do it?  This is all far to convenient to be an accident.  Cenk Unger of TYT explains the most recent injustices quite well.

Richard Diran on Painting

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“A finished canvas is to be cast off like a dry cocoon, a worn out sheath of skin, wriggled out of and shed, torn off the back of a snake whose coiled shadow is memory.  The body re-emerges intact, alive again and cognizant, transformed into a new creature.  The canvas, that skin of expressed memory in paint, remains forever.”

-Richard Diran

I find the truth everywhere, even occasionally on Fox News. In fact, opening your mind to all ‘sides’ is the only way to see the truth.

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What if the only way to see the truth is to watch the right, the left, the center, the “radicals” on all “sides,” disregard most of what they all say, and then figure out the truth on your own based on a broad view instead of a narrow one? What if Denis Kucinich is the left’s version of Ron Paul and was just as valuable?  What if that’s the reason both of them were ignored and deemed radicals who were unelectable   What if we can agree on this? Wouldn’t that be nice.

I do not agree with everything Napolitano says, but there is a whole lot of truth to what he says.  I do not agree all his stances such as his views on abortion (pro-life) or on gay marriage.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t see the big picture.  Don’t let the details deter you from seeing the broad strokes.

This Kid’s Story Has to Go Viral NOW! The American People Need to Know.

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This article, “FBI shows up at teenager’s home to ask about his Ron Paul school report” explains what happened in response to this video.  In brief, a teenager, Justin Hallman, made a video for his American government class and the FBI showed up as his house.  They accosted him about his ideas and tried to turn him into an asset against Anonymous.  I am pretty certain that it is not legal to try to turn a minor into an FBI asset.  This is not acceptable on any level.  It is unconstitutional.  Like all Americans, this young man has his right to freedom of speech.  Nobody should be accosted by the FBI for their school projects even if the government doesn’t like them.  He did not advocate overthrowing the government.  The FBI had no legitimate basis for their actions.

Also check out his follow-up video.

On a personal note, I do not support Ron Paul, but I see the wisdom in many of his stances on civil liberties and constitutionality.  It is a great loss that he is no longer a US congressman.

This is not about getting traffic for my blog.  I am not one of those people.  This is about the welfare of our country.  My opinion is that this information should be shared in whatever capacity you choose, but it should be shared quickly and effectively.

“The Network,” the Inevitable Destruction of Us, and Our World Unless We Change Our Ways

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As Jürgen Habermas explained, the ‘lifeworld’ of everyday social and moral action and interaction has now been long subdued by the ‘systems world’ of the free market and money.  It was true in the 1970’s when “the Network” was first written and it is more true each day that we allow money and power to dictate our actions instead of our mutual interest in each other, morality, and preservation of our world.  Am I getting through to anyone?  Trees are real.  Rocks are real.  Thoughts are real.  Emotions are real.  You are real.  Power isn’t real.  Money isn’t real.  Money and power are figments of your imagination, they exist only insofar as you think they do.

The fiat currency system and the focus on percentage-based economic growth foisted upon us by those devils we call companies, governments, economists, advertisers, and capitalists is destroying our world, our cultures, our societies, and it will eventually destroy us.  The cycle of endless consumption to continue economic growth cannot continue forever.  Planned obsolescence is a great example of this.

If you don’t think corporations are that evil then ask yourself how long your next computer will last.  Two to four years if you are lucky.  Ask yourself how long your next operating system will last.  Two to four years if you are lucky.  Ask yourself how long each part on your car will last.  Ask yourself how long your next cellphone will last.  Ask yourself how long your next video game console will last.  Ask yourself how long your next TV will last.  Ask yourself how long tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, and mini-discs lasted; and how long will Blu-Ray discs last.  Why is it cheaper to buy a new printer than to buy a new ink cartridge?  Why is it nearly impossible to refill an ink cartridge rather than replace it?  Why do we continue to use fossil fuels when solar power, wind power, and ocean currents could easily supply us with all the energy we need for the rest of eternity if properly researched and managed.

Profit and greed are the primary motivations of our individualistic, adolescent, greedy society.  Why do you think George W. Bush told us to not worry, suggesting we instead that we go out and shop after 9-11.  Well, he did want us to worry, (or it wouldn’t have happened) but he also wanted us to continue to consume.  The masses couldn’t figure it out in the 1970’s.  We can only hope that they will be able to figure it out before it is too late.  Perhaps the continued degradation of the chain of life is more easily recognizable now.  I will keep trying to point it out.

Stop worrying about yourselves and your money.  It is all an illusion.  There is only us, the one interconnected system of life called Gaia, and we are being killed by the systems world with our willing participation after being brainwashed by a group of short-sighted, greedy, capitalist elites who want to be served like kings for eternity by the rest of the population.

We live in an age where, because of our advanced technology, we could all live in comfort and easily only work 2-4 hours each day.  But our endless desire for more stuff, largely generated by advertisers, is necessary to prop up an unsustainable economic model and is requiring two people to work 40 hours each week to just barely scrape by in each household.  Unemployment isn’t the problem.  The idea that everyone should be employed and working 40 hours a week is the problem.  The fact that we allow the capitalist class to take 90% of the profit from the work we do is the problem.

We live in an age of technological progress and increased production that could allow us to use the vast majority of our time to sit and think, make art, enjoy the company of our loved ones, explore space, explore consciousness, and work on even better technology that would allow us to work even less while producing even more efficiently; yet we live in perpetual fear that a machine will take our job away instead of make it (and our lives) easier.  Wake up America.  If we don’t change our ways soon the dream will surely be dead.