Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Some Thoughts on Boredom

I recently watched a documentary about boredom. It was okay, though ironically parts of it were boring, probably because a lot of it was pointing out the obvious, but there were a few glimmers of insight that helped me gain a better understanding of what boredom is, what causes it, and how widespread it is.

Boredom is a state of stress and agitation, caused by a lack of interest in where you are, who you are with, or what you are doing. Although it's a matter of perception, some types of things are inherently more prone to causing boredom than others. Boredom is primarily associated with a lack of stimulation, of not liking what you see, and not seeing any alternatives.

We all crave stimulation, to experience ever new, exciting, and wonderful things.

What do we want most? To feel more alive. To be happy.

Boredom is the opposite of that.

Boredom is the kissing cousin to misery and apathy.

It's like being in a cage, without windows, without a view, and all you want to do is run away, but you're immobilized, you're shackled to the floor, there's no escape.

It's mental, it's physical, it's everything, all encompassing. If you feel bored, you feel trapped, you feel stuck, inertia has set in. Get me the hell out of this place. Anywhere but here. Some people have even been known to kill themselves over it.

In fact, it's a state that feels closer to death than life, and we spend all of our lives trying to break free from this cage, to feel more alive, to experience more stimulation, ever new, exciting, and beautiful things.

Most of what we do is done for this purpose. The search for pleasure and adventure, the search for meaning and purpose, to make the world a better place, to find love and wisdom and fulfillment, is also, at the heart of it, a search for the alleviation of boredom.

Most addictions are caused by boredom. People seek pleasure from harmful or dangerous activities, because they alter their experience in new and exciting ways.

A lot of people have addictions, and most of them don't use drugs or alcohol.

Apparently the biggest addiction of the modern age, isn't prescription medication or caffeinated beverages, it's looking at screens.

We look at screens not just because we have to, or because they make our lives better, but we actually are becoming addicted to them, that we look at them just to look at them even if we don't need to look at them, that if we suddenly find ourselves unable to look at a screen, we become agitated, we find ourselves alone, face to face with our own boredom. But boredom doesn't have a face, boredom is the absence of another face, it is more of a mirror, when we are bored we are left alone with nothing but ourselves, and for many that is terrifying.

That's right. Looking at screens is the number one addiction of the modern age. It's not just that we look at them, we can't stop looking at them.

Televisions. Smartphones. Computers. Movie theaters. Electronic billboards. ATM machines. Credit card readers. Surveillance cameras. E-readers. Video games. Blogs.

Yes, if you are reading this blog, you too are probably an addict.

And I'm your drug. But I'm also getting high off my own stash. Providing you with another hit of Cym's creative ramblings, another dose of I hope to find novelty and excitement this time, something to make your day a little less boring. I hope I succeeded. After all, that's all we are here, voyeurs and exhibitionists seeking something better.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Healthy Food for Less

I'm sick of hearing that healthy food is too expensive, that it's cheaper to eat junk food, that low income people cannot afford to eat healthy, that a meal at McDonalds costs less than a self-prepared meal, and other such nonsense.

The only circumstance where that might be true, is if you don't have refrigeration or a stove. In other words, if you don't have a way to cook your own meals and to store your perishables, then junk food and fast food might prove to be the cheaper option.

Otherwise, if you do have a stove and refrigerator, and you are armed with the right information, you should be able to buy healthy foods without spending a lot of money.

It's a fact. I know it. I live it.

Healthy food isn't just about the calories.

If we're just talking straight up calories, well then, maybe junk food carries more bang for the buck, high calorie and low nutrition is mostly what you'll find in the junk food aisle, but eating healthy is not just about calories, it's about nutrition, and more calories does not always equal better nutrition, very often the opposite is true.

It is possible to get good nutrition and an adequate amount of calories without spending a lot of money.

Here is a list of inexpensive healthy foods, which I am convinced would feed and keep at least one person healthy for less than $30 dollars a week:

Oatmeal. Not instant, but the kind you cook on the stove. If you look for sales, buy in bulk, or generic store brands, can usually be found for a dollar a pound.

Eggs. At about 20 cents an egg, it's a bargain.

Beans.

Rice.

Frozen vegetables, especially broccoli and spinach.

Multi-grain bread. I get the store brand, without preservatives or high fructose corn syrup, at $1.99 a loaf.

Canned tuna. Only in moderation, because of the mercury contamination, but otherwise is a really good source of protein and omega fatty acids.

Cottage cheese. I hear good things about cottage cheese, just might add it to my diet, and see how I like it.

Peanut butter. I get mine from Trader Joe's, the old fashioned kind you stir, at $2.49 a jar. Not all peanut butter is equal. Beware of hydrogenated vegetable oil. The only thing you should see on the ingredients list should be peanuts, and maybe salt. Thank goodness for Trader Joe's, otherwise the natural peanut butter at Safeway costs twice as much.

Fresh carrots, onions, celery (mostly for adding to bean dishes and soups), garlic, peppers.

Sweet potatoes.

Sunflower seeds and raisins.

Pasta sauce, for not only pasta, but for making bean dishes and soups.

Fresh apples, oranges, and bananas. This is the only fruit I buy regularly, as in every single week. Anything else varies according to price and season. I might buy blueberries and pineapples, but not every week. A banana costs only about twenty cents, and it's probably the healthiest thing you can buy for the money.

While this isn't everything I buy, things not mentioned would be luxuries like beer and chocolate and tea and dairy and soy, but I would say this list constitutes the staple of my diet, and is extremely affordable and healthy. I could live off of this if I had to. There is so much you can do with beans and vegetables. And personally I love oatmeal, especially with fresh apple, no sugar needed. It never gets old.

The reason why we overspend, is because of our craving for luxuries, rich high calorie foods, expensive meats, desserts, alcohol, and processed snacks. If we were able to keep our diets simple, low calorie, high nutrition, one doesn't have to spend a lot of money to eat a healthy diet.

This diet, healthy food for less, is intended for slim people. If you want to be big, are the size of a refrigerator, and don't want to lose any weight, it won't work.

But I personally subscribe to the school of thought that sees a correlation between consuming fewer calories, but calories with a high nutrient value, and living a longer and healthier life. The more you spend on food, the more calories you eat, and the bigger you are, the shorter your life, and the less healthy you will be.

Just look at the lifespan of dogs. The smaller dogs live the longest. I think the same thing is true of humans and I will prove it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Price is Not Right

There's probably no point in trying to convince people to stop eating junk food, to stop drinking soda, and to stop eating fast food burgers from places like McDonalds.

Their not worth helping, their not worth enlightening. Nine times out of ten they don't care what you think, because a) they like doing it, b) they don't think there is anything wrong with doing it, and c) they are going to keep on doing it no matter what you have to say about it.

You could have all the evidence before you that what they are eating is made from Soylent Green, or radioactive waste, or ground up pieces of plastic, or really anything else proven to be unfit for human consumption, and there are plenty of morons who would continue eating it so long as they like the way it tastes and the price is right.

It's like trying to convince a smoker to stop smoking on the grounds that smoking causes lung cancer. What smoker doesn't know that smoking is bad for their health? No, they just don't care to think about it, they do it because they like it, and they don't care about the long term consequences. They are lost causes. Most people are lost causes.

Why should I care if my neighbor is eating all the wrong foods? It's not like I like them. It's not like I have a vested interest in them living to be a hundred. So, I don't really care any more, about all the pieces of shit people making bad choices, shortening their lives. Maybe the world will be better off without them. Survival of the fittest. Let the pieces of shit weed themselves out with all the junk food and cigarettes they can squeeze into their pitiful little lives.

That's the elitist point of view.

It's harsh. To some degree the coldness of it is unenlightened. But the truth is I generally don't like people. Not all, but most feel like an uncomfortable burden. I know. Everyday I live a lie. It's not like I go up to strangers and tell them I don't like them, I just don't talk to them, unless they talk to me, in which case I try to be as polite and respectful as possible, but what I'm really thinking is I can't wait to get away from this person.

For clarification:

I'm not advocating the promotion of ignorance, or the use of deception. I don't think it's all right to promote unhealthy habits, or to deceive people into using harmful products just to turn a quick buck. I'm not for that. Despite my dislike of people, I am not an unethical person.

I'm not saying people shouldn't be educated, that information concerning the safety of any product or service shouldn't be publicly available to anybody who wants it. It should. I think it should.

I'm just saying that some people just aren't worth the time and effort to change, because they are completely closed off to it. They are going to keep doing what they are doing even if it kills them. You can't save everyone, but you can save yourself, and that is your number one priority.

The point of this post is that you can't force anyone to live as you live, to think as you think, or to eat as you eat. It is a waste of time trying to change people who don't want to change. It is better to focus your energy on people who are actually receptive to your message. To provide the information, making it freely available to all, but without forcing it on anyone. It's here for the taking, but I'm not going to shove it down your throat.