Barclay

I recently watched all 7 seasons of Star Trek Next Gen, and there was a side character that really stuck with me. It was a weirdo engineer with an anxiety disorder. In the first episode with him, no one on the ship liked working with him, and their observable dislike only caused him to be more nervous and awkward with his coworkers. His therapeutic outlet was to have fantasy experiences with the hologram recreations of his crewmates. So the more stress he was under, the more he secluded himself into the fantasy world.

I was fascinated with this particular character because up until him, everyone seemed unusually competent and skilled. He was the only one that had a off-putting behavioral oddity. I found him relatable, because I am also not sociable, and in many ways I do the exact same thing with my hobbies.
Having something ‘small and pleasant’ to say always creates the illusion of friendliness, but it’s very much an illusion, because real socializing often triggers my already short fuse.  It’s not to say that I am incapable of patience and compassion, I am, it’s just that I don’t usually practice those emotions in group social performances. I’m basically a Klingon in that way. I don’t take kindly to being jerked around, and I’m not really interested in coddling a strangers outlandish wishes for the sake of ‘being nice’.

A few episodes later, the show revisits the same awkward character.  He’s made some strides with his anxiety, and starts to blend in a bit, but then he gets zapped by an alien probe and ‘becomes’ the computer’s brain. He enjoys the power-trip, but by the end of the episode, he’s back to being average. Episodes with him start to feel stressful, as the audience starts to identify with his point of view.
After that, he stars in another episode about seeing something mysterious  inside the transporter beam. That episode was emotionally draining, because everyone tried to convince him that he was mistaken, and that there was just no way he saw anything [when of course he Did].    A few episodes after that, he helps out with an sentient hologram character that wants to leave the ship. Which was the first episode that utilizes him in a capacity that doesn’t make him seem completely crazy.    It was nice to see him reach his full potential, like maybe there’s hope for all of us weirdos after all.
And in one last episode, this character is the accidental cause of a mutation outbreak on board that causes everyone to devolve.
Although the episode didn’t focus on him, it does briefly circle back to his anxiety as a source of social discomfort between him and the rest of the crew. Drawing attention to the fact that he still has problems, and his time in Star Fleet didn’t resolve them. Which goes to show that in a world where all physiological and safety needs are met, some people are still anxious.

 

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Having an Off Day

Every so often I seem to blank out.  My rhythm gets off, and I just can’t seem to get through it without stumbling. I’ll literally forget everything that I was in process of doing, and just freeze up. On a micro scale, it’s not so bad. But I wouldn’t trust myself to plan for the future, because I’m too anxious to live in the present.

I wonder if people living during the Great Depression knew that it would eventually end, OR if every single person lived their lives thinking that things will never get better. Like many other millennials, I’ve started exhibiting stress disorder symptoms. Apparently, there are several different types of anxiety, and I’ve recently learned that most of them plague this generation.

Stemming from general hopelessness, I find myself believing that the country has moved backwards from the American dream. Making the everyday things that used to be normal into somewhat of a luxury. My parents could afford to buy their own house before the age of 30, get married, and have a family. But no one my age can afford a family; we can’t afford houses, we’re burdened with college debts, and we’re panicky about the future. Older folks have started heckling me about marriage and family, but the harsh reality is that the world has changed, and people my age will not have conventional lives.

I worry that while this generation is busy trying to survive, the older generation is busy destroying the planet, along with all hope that my generation will live to old age. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs would say that the Millennials will never reach the esteem and actualization levels, because we’re still struggling to satisfy our more basic deficiency needs: psychological, safety,  and love. We can’t think about the future when we’re anxious in the present. Our physical safety is at stake because of the current financial situations and  the social and economic crisis.

Scale of Servitude

Scale of servitude is an idea concept I’ve been talking about a lot lately. It used to refer to  slavery, but now it’s the chain of social command in non-professional groups.

How do you decide who’s in charge and allowed to give orders in a social situation? In matriarchal cultures, everyone is socially less important than eldest woman of the family, and should concede to them. In patriarchal cultures, it’s the eldest man of the family. In my family, I may be head of my own household, but I am still  socially subservient  to my parents, and we are all subservient to the grandparents. With my parents still active in the social community, there’s very little I can do that will allow me to outrank my parents. However, they may retire from the social group, or I can gather assets to improve my group ranking.

Yet, some individualistic social cultures topple the chain of command entirely by leveraging ‘acquired social assets’ to get highly inflated rankings. The group allows for these other factors [things that the social group values] to decide who is in command; assets like: wealth, popularity, experience, charisma, strength.  The tiers of the ‘scale of servitude’ decide who’s above and below you in the group, so a person’s ranking changes as the group members change. It’s ‘political’ in the sense that a person can never really ascend beyond what the collective social group decides someone is worth.
– The leader of something small is above their group, but is still lower than a leader of a larger group [who has greater assets and therefore higher ranking]. Many people are able to experience being a ‘big fish in a small pond’ when they lead a small group.

The value we assign each other in modern social cultures isn’t based on familial-piety, or any other sort of ancestral reverence, it’s based on money and/or power. And we all know that power corrupts. The thing about the social ladder, is that once you start climbing, you’re compelled to continue. The scale of servitude implies that there’s always someone above you, more ground to cover, more assets to acquire. So people become obsessed with  it.
Even when wealth isn’t an option the ranks exist. Think of the show The Walking Dead. Rick became the leader when he arrived at his small group, and then several seasons later he’s a servant of the Saviors. The group changed, the scale increased. We find that there’s someone above them in the ranks; Someone with more power, more assets, and the means of using them to impose their commands onto you.
This is how our culture interacts.

 

Budgeting and Scheduling

Being a proficient adult means being good at budgeting and scheduling. That’s basically it. No one is asking you to be a great scholar; just budget your time & money, and get your errands done.

The most frustrating human I ever had the displeasure of personally knowing, was a bachelor who couldn’t ever find the time to cook or clean. His home was always filthy, and his fridge was always empty. He was financially successful, yet still an incompetent adult, because he couldn’t get his errands done.
I think the American youth is doomed from the get-go because our culture places too much emphasis on advanced-skills, and not enough on life-skills. Our child obesity rates are one of the highest in the world, because we don’t know how to take care of ourselves, and by extension, we aren’t properly feeding or caring for our children. The youngsters didn’t learn how to cook and clean at home or at school; they didn’t learn maintenance, or basic upkeep.  These youths grew up, and became adults who do not  feel responsible for domestic errands; like cleaning, repairing, and caring for things.
With the way things are, it doesn’t matter if we all go to college, because as a generation, we can’t seem to make the time to find balance in our lives [financial, social, personal, health].

Millennials are a generation obsessed with technology and artificiality, we’re also a generation stricken with anxiety and mental disorders.  We are a group of adults with massive debts [college expenses], poor health, and limited life-skills; so life-priorities for us have changed.
Budgeting and scheduling is something we’re not great at. Many of us have no money saved, and are living on credit cards. Even if we become financially successful, it is unlikely that the millennial generation will have the same predictable high-quality of life that our parents enjoyed 40years ago.