Medieval Township

I can’t see a happy future in a consumeristic world, where we’ve sacrificed every form of quality for cost efficiency reasons. I think that I’d have a better life if I wasn’t living in a modern tech society.  A friend told me about her friend who’s a master sword fighter, and how he plans on opening a Medieval township park. This idea interested me.
After years of watching The Walking Dead, I had been mentally preparing for an apocalypse, not time travel. But let’s take a moment to think about the Medieval ages.
-Also known as the Middle ages, it’s the 1,000-year time period  between the fall of the Roman Empire and the start of the Renaissance [5th century – 15th century]. It had the Byzantine Empire, feudalism, kings, crusades, Christians, Vikings, Marco Polo, Gothic architecture, and the plague. It was a transitionary period, not prominently known for artwork [like the Romans or Renaissance], but it was important for the formation of the small government-lordship hierarchy. Somewhat Game of Thrones-y. With the lack of a unified Empire, people turned to newfangled beliefs to find law and order, so naturally, there were a lot of small group/religious conflicts.

The Middle Ages and The Walking Dead have a lot of the same themes involving conflict and struggle; both resemble the wild west, lawless and harsh, with no reliable infrastructure. I can see why a master sword fighter would be attracted to this macho time period, it was filled with combat and glory [and little else]. No science innovations can be made while war and crisis are always imminent.  Not exactly what I had in mind.

I was thinking a simpler life would be better for me. Something with more gardening and less packaging. I’ve seen buildings in Europe that are 1,000 years old and still beautiful, and houses here in America only 50 years old that are falling apart. Cost efficient, low quality housing, just another a consumer good, becoming more disposable every day. Maybe I should buy a plot of land and lease space to tiny house dwellers. Become a land lord, like the serf lords of the medieval ages.

Automation and Education

Automation is going to replace factory jobs. Low skill manufacturing work will soon go extinct. Just like the coal miner jobs went away after new technology was invented. Improving our educational system is more important than ever, now that there is no place in society for low-skill workers. Schools need to reintroduce trade-profession classes so that teens who are not college-bound have real career options.

Schools have been around forever, but it was only about 100 years ago that high school was No longer just a precursor to college. After 1910, vocation education was added to the high school curriculum as a mechanism to train the technicians/skilled workers for the industrial sector [following WW1]. By 1940, half of teens earned high school diplomas, learning essential skills for careers in white collar and high-paying blue collar jobs.
But the education ‘boom’ is followed by ‘the bust’, and after 50 years, this institutional method of education is no longer effective. Schools have fallen victim to bureaucratic budgetary disasters, and the educational quality has suffered. The last 20 years of public education has been ineffective as school resources lag behind the high-tech age of computers.
Educational cuts have left schools with bare minimum core academic courses. High school no longer teaches relevant technical skills for trade professions. Even blue collar factory jobs these days require moderate-advanced computer literacy.     Our modern culture expects everyone to go to college to learn those same essential skills that our grandparents learned in high school.
People like to say that younger generations NEED to get a higher education, but what they mean to say is that educational institutions are so weak that you need to have more of it to be just as competent as previous generations were with just a GED.

College looks impressive on paper, but it actually sinks generations of people into massive college-debts. [College prices have increased 400% since the 1970s]. This debt postpones other milestone events, like home purchases.
Two generations ago you didn’t even need a high school diploma to get a decent entry level job, but now most jobs require a college degree and several years’ experience. Which means that today’s high school diploma is worthless.  It would be more efficient to just send teens straight into junior college after their 10th grade exit exam. In the same 2 years, they could have an Associate’s degree and been better off than if they had just had a GED.

parent volunteers

I’ve been working in K-8th grade schools this year, which means that I’m  interacting with more parents than before. Something I’ve been thinking about is how differently women and men function when given the same task. There’s something about our cultures’ social grooming that makes women better in non-supervised group roles.
Both the moms and dads show up to do the same job, but the moms are way more cooperative. The dads keep to themselves and don’t do anything beyond their task, but the moms take initiative to help others out with additional tasks. They’ll happily poke into other areas to ask if they can be of service. It might be the cultural expectation for female pleasantries, or the lack of father-child socializing that creates this behavioral rift.
– I know this isn’t scientific, but it’s what I’ve observed during my time on campus.

Women are wired to be more empathetic than men, so they are better at seeing and predicting other people’s behaviors. Which is probably why women are better at multi-tasking than men; they can foresee things coming a mile away, intuitively.
Female collectivism actually makes them stronger in groups than the individualistically-minded male archetype.
Women are more selfless, less egocentric, and prepared to put the greater good ahead of their own [anthropologically wired to better care for babies]. While most males do the opposite, integrating cultural ideas about proper dominant-masculine behavior with their roles as caregivers.

Conventionalism

I’ve realized that there’s no future in conventionalism. We can’t expect to make any progress if we’re always restricted by the traditional ways of the past. Conventional people are always trying to be more ‘average’; more predictable, conservative, and conforming to social norms.  These people will never be extraordinary, because their objective is to be ordinary. They want to fit into a monotonous traditionalist culture. 1950s style.

I attended a party this past weekend, and met a half dozen new people. They seemed like perfectly functional people, but they were very uninteresting. No hobbies, no special interests, and they didn’t seem to have any conversational points. In the 5 hours that I spent with them, I learned practically nothing about them, except for how they know each other. I don’t know why they were all reluctant to hold a discussion;  they smile, nod, answer basic questions, but no conversations. It might be a regional trait, or symptomatic of an antisocial generation, but it seems we’ve dulled ourselves down in order to be more socially conventional [more docile].

As a population of docile people, we’re less likely to do anything against the status quo, so we’ve become easier to control. We don’t have outlandish hobbies, so we’re an eager audience for consumer goods, and we’re less challenging of regulations. We’re no longer trying to make social strides, or pave the way for a brighter future.  We’re accepting of the situation, and losing sight of the big picture.

Our current government leader puts more responsibility on the individual to provide for themselves in every capacity. This ‘every man for himself’ attitude heavily disadvantages poorer people, accentuating the disparity. This divided-class nation is dangerous. It makes us less compassionate about the plights others, and more focused on the self-interests of our personal demographic. The system has made us egocentric, and paranoid about our self-preservation.
The news this week has taught me how quickly things can fall apart. Everything has become drastically divided. This is the type of thing that destroys a generation and segments society; it’s a Civil War. The costs of living has been increasing, along with personal debts, and now America has an enormous poverty class that no one acknowledges as ‘deprived’ because we’re all trying to appear/behave conventionally.

Relationships with Work

I spend more time at my work than I do on anything else. More time, and effort, and brainpower, goes into my work than anything else I do. A reasonable person wouldn’t do unreasonable quantities of work unless it was worth the money. ‘Be fair to yourself’. An expendable employee shares no stake in the company. An employee could be easily replaced, and the company would continue. I am a employee, and I plan my life around work, I also think it’s absurd that ‘work’ takes us for granted.
-These are some general thoughts I have every year when I see my W-2s, after I do a quick rundown of my expenses. I think it’s important to recognize when you’re being taken advantage of, and when your relationship is unhealthy.

About 2 years ago, my office underwent a substantial security upgrade. All the employees were given new handbooks with tighter restrictions. We all anticipated that these new constraints would be recognized as an inconvenience and we would be compensated accordingly. But it didn’t happen. – We are now in the 3rd year, and the mass majority of us still have not received any sort of dependable raise. So, I think it’s fair to say that we are in a bad relationship with a company that doesn’t appreciate us.
I asked for a raise last year. They simply told me that if they felt I had value, then it would be lumped into my Christmas bonus. Meaning that the company gets to accrue interest on my bonus all year, while I slowly go bankrupt. [On paper it was only ~1% increase from last year]. Like a bad relationship, this company is egotistic, and treats its workers like we’re insignificant.

I know I shouldn’t complain, but I’ve got to be fair to myself. The cost of living is only going up, and I can’t possibly survive on an income that never does. Every year that I work, I have 1 more year of experience, but am somehow valued the same.
A ‘career’ is an antiquated concept, because the new generation barely has ‘employment’. Millennials all slipped into poverty because they were tricked into paying for educations that they didn’t need, to work at jobs that won’t lead to careers.  I have concerns that the company where I work is starving us out; denying us value/rank, just to see how much indifference we are willing to endure. Chipping away at our self-worth until we don’t think we deserve any better. Like an abusive lover, or a fascist government.