PJR Allen's 13 Things That Aren't 'Rules', but Might Help You Endure Our Current Social Realities
PJR Allen's 13 Things That Aren't 'Rules', but Might Help You Endure Our Current Social Realities

1: Beware the pop-culture commercialization of personal psychological problem solving. These are people who want to solve your problems for you for a price, or who are the 'opinion leaders' on how we ought to conduct ourselves or run our lives (e.g. Tony Robbins, Jordan Peterson etc.) These people are capitalizing on people's insecurities by establishing platforms in the form of vacuous premises such as "you should always be happy, it's not right that you're not" and/or "these are the things you need to do everyday to feel alright". The most famous hollow sales platitude is "you can be rich like me!" The fact that one of these people *cough* Peterson is advertising that he has found "rules" to how to live one's life while spitting out vitriol against fascism at the same time is a hint as to how unthoughtful his rhetoric is. At the core of it they're capitalizing off of values and messages inherent to capitalism, that a person should be an individual and strive for its empty definitions of success and wellbeing. Fuck them, they're just sucked into the money and fame nonsense that they think leads to their beliefs around happiness and success. It's all about selling books and sucking in speaking fees, these people don't know anything you couldn't come to know yourself by getting a library card, doing some critical reading and reflection, and sorting out your own life philosophies.

2: Fuck the news media altogether. The extreme pressure to remain financially feasible or to generate profits has led the news media into a feedback quagmire of constantly proliferating bullshit. Their aim is not to inform, but to influence (or 'bullshit'). And advertising is sold according to this influence. The more influence, the more advertising, the more advertising the more money, the more money, the more influence. Ethical reporting and truth have long been necessarily disfavoured. The news media are more interested in activating your stress response than the provision of unbiased and objective information reporting. What does it say that nowadays you have to watch a commercial before watching a news story about how some kid was hit by a car or how someone shot up a school? Capitalizing off of misery, that's what this is. Also, the news media are owned by politically interested parties, so a lot of the crap that's published nowadays is just propaganda masquerading as news. If we all ignored it, the business plan would fail and they'd have to go back to an honest living by reporting facts.

3: Don't eat too much, too fast, and too late. Pay attention to what you're eating and why. If you're stressed out, you'll eat. A lot. And it's generally high caloric foods that people eat when they're stressed, which is now all the time. It's a vicious circle. The "food" that people eat nowadays is problematic. "Fast food" is artefact of being too rushed take time to eat properly because you have to "be somewhere" to "do something" else, usually in the pursuit of money (or to make someone else money). Instead of taking the time to prepare a balanced meal, they economize their time by eating processed foods or take out. Here's some news for you: the food manufacturers have long been interested in hacking the human brain to find out how much salt, sugar, and fat they need to put into something so that their product sells. They have scientists working on this in labs 24/7 that only aim at figuring out how much sugar and salt they need to put into their products so that people will buy it. It's all about sales, and nothing about their victims. Many moons ago our species had to work hard to find food sources of fat, sugar, and salt, so our brains are wired to want as much of this as possible. Overall, with food, again, note the profit motive. This is making people sick and it has to be outed and stopped. Again, profit before people.

4: If you hate your job and are miserable. Quit. Yeah, I know it's easier said than done and people have 'financial obligations' but the truth is, your health and time are simply not worth the misery. To me, days of oppressive circumstances toiling away for someone else's agenda are not worth living. So I don't do it. I even quit a full meal deal high paying government job because of a psycho boss that would make Donald Trump look like a nice, intelligent guy. It was the best thing I ever did. In the end, you have two choices: you live your life in a shitty job you hate and sacrifice your time, creativity, and energy to make money to pay for shit you probably don't need (but are told you do non-stop, capitalism sells dissatisfaction as a rule to boost sales) or you can walk away and suffer the consequences of living your life on your own terms. Either decision has consequences, but which is worse? That's for you to decide.

5: Assert yourself. If someone is on your nerves, let them know. Draw a line. Stick with it despite any passive-aggressive coercion or repeat asking tactics (e.g. when you say no but the person then asks the same question a different way). In short, give zero shits about who you might piss off by saying no.

6: Exercise. If you didn't allow your dog to exercise, it would go ape shit. Why are you any different?

7: Try as hard as you can to limit your exposure to so-called 'social media'. Realize that your participation in social media is not entirely voluntary as the silicon valley, ragged t-shirt wearing *dickheads* that started these companies went out of their way to try to have addiction circuitry in the human brain to keep people logged on (e.g. the 'like' button) Furthermore, social media isn't 'social', it is anti-social. People will say and do things on a computer they would never ever do face-to-face. The emotional costs are endless. Empathy and human connectivity is simply lost on these programs. They also help sell dissatisfaction because they lead people to compare themselves to others. You feel like shit all the time if your perception is that you don't measure up to someone else. It's a human nightmare and sociopathic capitalists wet dream. The speed and ability to sell dissatisfaction is on coke and steroids in the context of these programs. They will also do whatever they can get away with in the context of making money. When they got outed for serious bad acting on privacy issues a few days ago, they came back with "we weren't 100% aware and we'll do better." Bullshit. They're more than aware - it was deliberate. Again, profit before people.

These 'platforms' have become Orwellian tools to data mine your personality, your life, and your tendencies. *Privacy is a myth because profit is a reality.* These companies only truly care about money and power. Also, when you aren't paying to be on an internet service, realize you are then the product (e.g. being researched so someone else can sell you something). The more you log off, the more happy and relaxed you will be. Try it. Limit your social media exposure (yes, I liken it to being exposed to poison) to 20 minutes a day. If you can't, then ask yourself why you can't (see the bit on addiction above). Fuck them. Take the power away from them by going out into the world and talking to someone without a video screen as the vehicle.

8: Make a list of priorities according to time spent. Stick with them despite the bullshit you have to put up with. I wanted to do a PhD. I'm 5 years in I've put up with extreme psychological bullshit to even stay in the program let alone write the thing. To keep it together, I put my family and health first, otherwise, I would have gone utterly bonkers. If I had prioritized the PhD, I'd be done but I would have fucked up my life immeasurably (e.g. not spent time with my young children, wife, dying father etc). By recognizing the PhD was a personal goal and valuing below things that had more human value to me, I'll benefit. Maybe someday I'll finish the goddamn thing, maybe not, but I won't regret (a) trying, and (b) putting it below my family in terms of my priorities for time. So dig deeply and sort out your priorities. Your only commodity is time, use it wisely.

9: Don't buy cheap shoes or a cheap bed (and perhaps toilet paper). These things are overlooked. How the hell can you be comfortable in shitty shoes or be relaxed and rejuvenated by sleeping on a lumpy bed? You can't. And you spend a ton of time in your shoes and on your bed. So saving money on these things is simply against the grain. If you're going to buy anything, it might as well be comfortable. And comfort should be qualified as a need.

10: If someone or some organization is steamrolling or trying to fuck you over, push back until they've learned their lesson. For years now I've been catching extremely bad behaviour on behalf of banks. They're the greasiest and least ethical thing I can immediately think of. I have zero trust and respect for banks and with good reason. So when a bank tries to put the screws to me, I push back. I push back harder than they could ever believe is possible. And every time I push back, I win. Now, you have to be careful with this one because you have to choose your battles and factor time spent in a battle in terms of reward, but pushing back is advisable. I guess this could just be reduced to "don't put up with shit from anyone who is deliberately serving you shit."

11: When you set out to buy something, before you do it, ask yourself, "do I need this or do I want it?" If the answer is the latter, then ask, "why do I think I want this?" The rabbit hole of want will illuminate how someone came to confuse need with want. If you just buy things according to want, you'll find this leads to dissatisfaction and sadness. You put your time and labour into things you may not want to do to earn money, then spend it on shit that you may not need. This means your life is being spent to gain money to turn it into things that you've been sold by clever marketing or social pressure to have it. I watch this play out with my kids all the time. Some kid gets the latest piece of plastic pre-landfill at Walmart and so my kids come home ranting and begging about it. If we give in and buy it for them, two days later I find the garbage discarded and forgotten behind a pile of other shit we got sucked into buying. Christmas has become the apex of this disgusting series of events. You'll be much happier going into the woods for a walk or putting down your phone (another want) and focusing on the reality and people around you than you ever will by giving into the urge to buy some useless piece of shit. Think of it this way. The money you spent on dumb shit 'x' is your time spent working. When you see the dumb shit in the garbage, you've basically just wasted your time in your life to pay for something to be tossed away. Don't toss your life away.

12: Don't trust people's opinions just because they have letters beside their names. I know of a lot of people who have lots of letters beside their names who shouldn't be trusted with a garden hose. Why does this happen? Credentialization and the commodification/commercialization of higher education. Universities have become banks first that grant degrees to take notice away from their core interest: money. This means they'll take money from anyone and, in return, give them a professional credential. This business is huge and has all but completely debased the notion of 'experts'. Always be cautious and get a second opinion on what someone is saying to you - don't default to the notion that because they have a credential that this means they know something. This includes me, I'm as full of shit as anyone else, so take this list as my opinion only and divorce it from any assumption that my academic experience/training makes it any more authoritative.

13: Don't make long lists for social media that no one will read or care about. Instead, write down what you value in your life (or not) and live according to your own terms. That was the point of this list in the first place. Also, realize: unlike other lists that, say, a psychologist might write into a self-help bible, this one is not written in terms of 'rules'. There are no 'rules' to life if they come from someone else. Make your own rules to your own life, you don't need someone else to make them for you.

The end.