Hold Fast the Dream

You wouldn’t know it to look at this blog or my Twitter feed, but I’ve had a bit of a hard week, and while stewing in my own resentment, as I’m wont to do, I’ve been giving some thought to privilege in our society, and some hard truths about how the world really works. Long story short, unless you’re some combination of smart, pretty, rich, and well-connected you’re going to have a hard time in life.

I feel ground Down by Life…

I feel like I’m punished at every turn whenever I try to do anything or be anybody. For instance, just today my car’s trunk came open by itself twice on the way home from the gym, mere months after I spent $15,000 repairing it (by the way, I was framed for the accident it was damaged in despite going to court in person to contest it and paying over $2,000 for a lawyer (a good one, in all fairness to him)), and just yesterday I got into a big traffic jam on the way home from a dance lesson and was beset my incessant buzzing of a fly that had lodged itself in my vehicle. That’s the kind of infuriating stupid garbage I’m tortured with on a daily basis, making me feel not just like I can’t ever really have anything, but also as if the whole world literally hates me. I’m certainly not feeling what Objectivism calls the benevolent universe premise today, and truth be told I hardly ever really feel that way.

…and I’m one of the Lucky Ones!

I find my means and my opportunities very limited, despite having a genius-level intellect, good looks, and being (albeit barely) in the top 1% of wealth for my age group. However, I lack social connections to high-status people and institutions that could open the door to opportunities that I’d actually like and/or that pay well.

Courtesy of my passion for ballroom dance I likely have many more connections than I think (better ones than most people do, for sure), but still, the reality remains that growing up I didn’t come from an influential family (the “local gentry” as they’re sometimes called, the surnames that crop up in high-status positions in localities over and over through decades or even centuries), I was nowhere near any area that offered any chances for me to become anybody, and I never went to any school that had any notable alumni who were worth anything on the social pyramid (hint: unless your alma mater fits that description you’re already this close to losing in the game of life). I’ve also never had enough wealth to really offset that initial disadvantage; e.g. it’s not like I want to rack up triple-digit mileage every time I go to a dance lesson, it’s just that I can’t afford anything closer to the action. That underlying reality hasn’t changed much in my 28 years of life.

I’ve got smarts, I’ve got talent, I’ve got looks, and I’ve got a bit of money, but even so, I find it depressing that even with all those advantages (!) I could maybe by the age of 40 (when I’m too old to really enjoy it…) get to where more privileged people were at the age of 20. Like, I know relatively few people in percentage terms are so privileged, but they’re still very numerous; certainly numerous enough to dominate entire industries on the national scale. There’s a whole big society out there, and even I’m not in it; chances are you’re not in it, either.

Life is a luxury Good

I say all this not solely as a “woe is me” rambling, but rather as a case study in just how hard it is to really live in the world today (or probably any other era). People babble about money not buying happiness, money not being everything, and they soothe themselves with cope about how being a salt-of-the-earth working stiff is somehow virtuous or wholesome, but the truth is life — not just the good things in life, but life itself, as in actually living in any meaningful sense beyond surviving or just getting by — is a privilege reserved for the wealthy and well-connected.

If you’re already wealthy or well-connected, you’ve got it made; if you’re not wealthy or well-connected, but you’re smart or pretty, you have a good chance for upward mobility, though even if you achieve it your life track as a whole still won’t be nearly as good as those who were born into the upper crust (e.g. usually you’ll have to slave away at something or another for somebody or another in your youth, the very time when you should be really enjoying the fullness of life). If you’re none of those things, well…let’s just hope you’re a really hard worker; if you’re lucky you might be like this janitor who amassed $8 million by the age of 92. Yeah, that’s something to look forward to, isn’t it? Blech.

“Improve yourself!”, society cries in its endless din of cope, and sure, self-improvement is a good thing, but if you’re the recipient of calls to self-improvement or feel the call to self-improvement within yourself just to have a chance of achieving your dearest goals, then you’re behind the eight ball, far further behind than you probably think, because elite people don’t need to “self-improve” to reach elite goals, and, as this striking and somewhat vulgar 4chan post turned meme points out, average people don’t need to “self-improve” to reach average goals; it comes naturally to them as they go with the flow in life.

Dream aclear

The upshot of this big “black pill”? Assets matter. Connections matter. Smarts matter. Looks matter. There’s something of a backlash to the competitive culture of the professional class that’s telling people that giving your children the very best and most prestigious opportunities doesn’t really matter that much. There’s something of a backlash to inequality that’s telling people money doesn’t buy happiness, that beauty doesn’t mean everything, and too much of either might even make you and your children bad people. There’s even something of a backlash against intellectualism that’s telling people that the lone genius really doesn’t exist, that giving your children the quickest wit doesn’t really matter that much, as there’s always community college and trade school.

Cast out the siren song of a cruel world, the opium of the middle-class masses falling behind in life; there may be no escape for the cheap, there may be no hope for those of us bereft of privilege to get the full bounty due us, but you know who’s got zero chance of ever having anything, doing anything, or becoming anybody? Those who give up. Hold fast to your dreams, for will is your only hope.

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