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Welcome to western civilization!

Have you ever wondered why there's so much mental illness and suicide all around us? So many people who seem damaged, deluded, wounded, weary, discombobulated, or simply malfunctional? From everything arrayed against sanity in our society, I marvel that there isn't there more mental illness and suicide.

A coin flip at birth determines whether your life starts in a place where there's running water, and a chance at education. Another random chance decides whether you're of the locally-preferred color, religion, caste or class, etc, and whether you're female, which stupidly brings lower status, less freedom, and fewer opportunities in virtually all societies.

If you're lucky, you might be healthy, but that's mostly beyond your control. If you're extraordinarily lucky, you'll enter the world with parents who'll provide your baseline needs without beating you, raping you, or indoctrinating you into a cult, or more often a 'non-cult' (meaning, a religion that's better-known but just as mind-warping) that instills lifelong expectations of subservience, obedience, and unquestioned faith, and teaches that your path will consist of work, marriage, and birthing another generation of children to be indoctrinated.

If you come unscathed through all that, and survive childhood, congratulations — you're now way ahead in the game. Next, you'll need to navigate employment or higher education, and housing, food, safety, and relationships for the rest of your life. Any errors you make will be compounded with interest, meaning that if you're not on a track toward  'success' by age 18, then the ordinary kind of success is unlikely, and becomes increasingly unlikely as life goes on.

If you need help, charities and government agencies that exist to provide assistance will also provide obstacles to that assistance.

You'll need whatever defenses you can stitch together against criminals, scammers, and continued societal expectations — Career! Marriage! Children! Luxuries! Shiny new stuff! 

And watch your step, because there are workplace and legal and religious and other systems set up to punish even harmless deviations from the norm. As years go by you might notice, as I did, that 'the norm' and 'success' seem less and less desirable or even tolerable.

All through this, much of the information and guidance available to you will be false, and sometimes maliciously false. The people who seem most trustworthy might be the least trustworthy. It's no fun to be suspicious, but you're what's for dinner if you're not.

All the above is a very brief, incomplete, blurry snapshot, of course. The details are simply insane.

Welcome to western civilization! Hope you endure your stay. If you've navigated the maze and still have your wits, health, and sanity, then you have beaten enormous odds. Either thank your lucky stars or give yourself a pat on the back, but please remember to reach out and help someone who's struggling, and didn't have the benefit of all your good luck.



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