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cracked.com has become awesome.  No, really, I mean it.
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My favorite:
"#4. What You Produce Does Not Have to Make Money, But It Does Have to Benefit People"
 
That is funny, sad and so very true. I would never have expected something that insightful from cracked.com
 
Amazing article. Should be mandatory reading for everyone. I could have used it around 1990 or so, a few years later I had it figured out on my on.
 
"...You are what you do..."

- Kuato, from the better Total Recall movie
 
by my lights, the best line [which is a paraphrase of a galbraith quote, and discussed in book length in pressfield's "war of art"] is this: "The human mind is a miracle, and you will never see it spring more beautifully into action than when it is fighting against evidence that it needs to change."
 
I couldn't keep reading this bullshit.  If you're now just waking up to the fact that life is hard, you've been living in a sheltered bubble and are probably spoiled rotten.  The author appears to have the vocabulary of a high school dropout (what's with dropping the "f" bomb every other thought), and about the same level of mental maturity.  And calling him "jaded" wouldn't do him justice; it's like he's having a temper-tantrum over his sudden realization that life doesn't revolve around him.

Yes, people need to be professionals.  Yes, they need to work hard.  Yes, life is tough.  But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  If you suddenly become some psychopathic, cold, calculating, ruthless, uberman to try to cope with your new-found discovery,you've missed the point.  Kindness, love, and affability are not signs of weakness, nor are they useless baggage.  Life is not just about utility; it is not about objectifying persons and viewing everything in an economic model.  Life would be intolerable if everyone assumed the philosophy of this author.  He may think that he has found wisdom, but his insight is useless as long as he continues to make himself the center and purpose of everything.
 
I'm going to pull together a longer attack on that piece, but for now-- it's half truths, and a somewhat dangerous set.

Other people value you for what you bring into their lives, but heaven help you if you don't have some capacity to be on your own side no matter what.  Otherwise, why bother taking good advice when you've been doing badly?
 
Part of the problem is the use of the word "job". If you take the usual meaning -- work you get paid for -- then he's dead wrong and Fight Club is right, you are not your job. If you mean more generally "stuff you do", then he is right. The obvious examples are Einstein, who did not become famous for his work at the patent office, and Jesus, whose might or might not have been a good carpenter, but did manage to make a bit of an impact with some of the other stuff he did on the side.
 
everything sounds better when written like smashing "truths" into someone's head. there is a little industry growing around this faux-ellison style.
 
+Thomas Lechner I do believe you're projecting. You're very busy refuting things that aren't in the article.
 
One question is why it works as writing, which it does. Another and more important question is whether what he is saying is correct.
 
+Greg Yantz seems you also like to project, because you haven't specified what it is I've said isn't in the article.  As such I cannot respond to you.
 
Well, +David Friedman, it almost has to be true just on epistemic grounds.  Other people don't have access to your mental states, so in a strong sense you cannot be to anyone else anything other than what you do.

We like to believe otherwise because we like to believe (and behave as though) we have access to other peoples' mental states.  But we don't; we only have their  intended and sometimes unintended communications about them.  Empathy is a simulacrum  produced by our mirror neurons.
 
Halfwit cynicism all the way through -- and number six, the world only cares what it can get out of you," is plain bullshit.

The whole damn thing is a free lunch, and the world serves it up to us gaily daily.
 
+Thomas Lechner I will argue with you, if you would like.

" But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  If you suddenly become some psychopathic, cold, calculating, ruthless, uberman to try to cope with your new-found discovery,you've missed the point" - +Thomas Lechner 

I believe you missed the point.  I don't want to make assumptions about your demographic, so I will come from only my point of view.

Hipsters, as described in this article, do exist.  There are lots of them.  Disenfranchised middle 20's to 30 year olds.  My twin brother suffered this, (identical), as do all my friends from High School and many people I went to college with.

So, back to you missing the point:  He said that they should "do" something.  Anything.  Not become cold, not become calculating, not become some uberman (good word btw), but "do something".  There are examples: be a good mom, learn to play guitar, ball room dance, anything.  The implied point of the article is that doing something, anything, will put you down the path of "doing" and it is this path that these people missed.

+Thomas Lechner A quick attack to your post, just to get it out of the way:

"The author appears to have the vocabulary of a high school dropout (what's with dropping the "f" bomb every other thought), "
-  High school dropout vocabulary is an effect of his experience being a professional writer.  Average reading age for NYT readers is somewhere around low high school to high middle school.  His audience isn't the NYT.  F-bombs everywhere is a moot point.  Who cares, he is communicating effectively.
(He is making a living writing full time.  Unless you are a full time writer and you make more money than him I would assume his writing style is better than yours and any critique you have should, by evidence of effect, be ignored.) -  It was weak arguing on your point, but the rest of you article made up for it.

+Thomas Lechner 
"Kindness, love, and affability are not signs of weakness, nor are they useless baggage.  Life is not just about utility;"

Life is just about utility.  Love, kindness etc.. are luxuries.  You don't have time for them if you die of starvation.  I know my argument here is weak, love and family do help make beating starvation easier.

The article, however, makes the point better than I do:  Love, kindness, etc.. are all very well and good.  Just not good enough and they are definitely not measurable by outsiders most especially when you don't "do something" to prove how kind you are;  talk is cheap.


+Thomas Lechner 
"  Life would be intolerable if everyone assumed the philosophy of this author.  He may think that he has found wisdom, but his insight is useless as long as he continues to make himself the center and purpose of everything."

Refer to my first argument:  Missing the point.


It seems like to me you agree with the points the article is making but are angry with how bold he was in stating things.
 
+Thomas Lechner As I read the author, he is saying that love and kindness are one of the strategies of doing, in the very broad sense that he exhorts us to "do something".

The article isn't advocating sociopathic self-centeredness at all. Quite the opposite.  The message is "get over yourself" - that you matter in direct proportion to how you matter to other people.
 
Cracked in print has always been the Mad Magazine wannabe.  Cracked on the web is quietly subversive and often awesome.

The whole point to the article is really simple: if you're a human being, you live in a group.   It's simply not possible to know everything and do everything needed to survive and prosper all by yourself.  Most of what you need, you get from others.  Value is relative.  Something is worth what someone else is willing to exchange for it, and that includes you.  Your value to the group you are in will be determined by what you have to offer to the group.  What do you have to offer?  If you have nothing to offer that the group wants, life will suck.

The waters get muddied because we live in a society where money is the medium of exchange, and value is often measured in monetary terms, but money isn't the only measuring stick.  Once you get past the basics of survival, like food in your belly, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head, the next question is status in your community.  How do you measure compared to others?  How much money you make is only one factor in the calculation, and depending upon the society you live in, may not be the most important.
 
+Alex Bynum I'm glad that at the end of your post you did see that I agree with points made by the article to an extent.  But as it came across to me, this article took everything to the opposite extreme, as if to paint the whole world in black and white saying "you either fall into one camp (the sentimentalist), or the other (the harsh realist)".  The arguments outlined seemed superficial, heavy-handed, and brought out of proportion.  I understand that is what the author was going for, but I don't think it helped him make his case.

Take for instance this bit:

"Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.

Does that seem mean, or crass, or materialistic? What about love and kindness -- don't those things matter? Of course. As long as they result in you doing things for people that they can't get elsewhere."

Now on the one hand I agree that just because you are kind, giving, and polite does not mean that the world owes it to you to treat you nicely or give you a lollipop or a "good job" sticker.  On the other hand, true kindness, thoughtfulness, and charity, if properly lived will not result in someone being left "alone" or "left out in the cold."

Furthermore, his statement "as long as they result in you doing things for people that they can't get elsewhere" spins a narcissistic and ultra-individualistic mentality on human nature that is exaggerated to excess.  Perhaps one could construe his meaning in a more altruistic way, but in my opinion, one would need to read altruism into that sentence.  Altruism itself appears left out of the author's view.

As to the point of the "f" bombs - believe me my sensibilities were not offended - casually cussing for emphasis demonstrates a lack of creativity, maturity, and seriousness.  For me, it's equivalent to a comedian resorting to potty humor.  Funny?  Perhaps at a certain level.  A skillful demonstration of wit?  Not really.

And as to your comment:

"Life is just about utility.  Love, kindness etc.. are luxuries.  You don't have time for them if you die of starvation."

I would have to strongly disagree.  Love, kindness, etc. (whatever it is you mean by etc.) are most certainly not "luxuries".  Even if you are well fed, clothed, and sheltered, a life without love and kindness is empty and hellish.  The problem with seeing life being all about "utility" is that it turns persons into objects, and it makes the center of the universe oneself.  I would argue that men and women's purpose in life is to give of themselves, and to give generously, wildly.  Gift of self is what makes one happy, not self indulgence.

I will also readily admit (as I alluded in my first post), that I did not read the whole article.  I did not consider it worthwhile after the first page.
 
Alex Bynum: "Life is just about utility.  Love, kindness etc.. are luxuries.  You don't have time for them if you die of starvation.  I know my argument here is weak, love and family do help make beating starvation easier."

Just for a little specificity: Both of the Spiegelman's (the author of Maus) parents were Holocaust survivors. His father took the look out for number one route, his mother took the build alliances route. 

I expect that luck made a major contribution to their survival, but either strategy was probably better than drifting.
 
All arguments here seem to be well grounded and I offer what I know, what I have, what I have acquired to the group; yes, to the society; yes,to the argument yes. I have never been more challenged by a provocative article like this, its witty, cunny and precise. Take what you can learn from it and if you can't pick from it, then it wasn't meant for you. Shikena!
 
+Eric Raymond perhaps he clarified everything by the end of his article; but he could not keep my attention after the first page after he said things like:

Quote:

Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.

:EndQuote

Quote:

"Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. If you want to work here, close."

It's brutal, rude and borderline sociopathic, and also it is an honest and accurate expression of what the world is going to expect from you. The difference is that, in the real world, people consider it so wrong to talk to you that way that they've decided it's better to simply let you keep failing.

:EndQuote

Again, there are half-truths in the article I agree with.  I do know a lot of people need to get over themselves.  Fine; I'm with you there.  I just see the article as swinging to the opposite extreme and ignoring a lot of the bigger picture to make his point.
 
+Thomas Lechner "it is not about objectifying persons and viewing everything in an economic model."

Enough of an example? That seems to me to be the essential core of your initial post, and it's your own baggage.
 
He couldn't have said it better, i believe the article wasn't meant for you that was he warned that some people desist from reading it. I come from the part of the world where such bitter truths have to be told so that people can discover what they can actually do for themselves and the society they live in. Ignore the tone,the message is deep and though provoking, its a pattern to pass the message across and he succeeded. Take what you need from it, adopt it and move on, i really enjoyed reading it, truth is bitter they say. Gbam!
 
I was going to read it, but after seeing the comments, I've decided not to read some tract that advocates ruthlessness.

All I'll say is a fact from game theory:  the strategy for maximum benefit from iterated prisoner's dilemma's is -- counterintuitively -- cooperation.

That's an ontology that is part of our universe's very fabric.  Why is it like that?  I have no idea -- but I strongly suspect this is why we evolved altruism, love, and a sense of justice: because these are survival skills that capitalize on that fact of nature.

How do you like them peaches?
 
+Thomas Lechner Good points,  I have some counters.

 On the other hand, true kindness, thoughtfulness, and charity, if properly lived will not result in someone being left "alone" or "left out in the cold."

Furthermore, his statement "as long as they result in you doing things for people that they can't get elsewhere" spins a narcissistic and ultra-individualistic mentality on human nature that is exaggerated to excess. 


First paragraph of your quote:  this is too optimistic.  It is hard for me to say that, but it is.  It is the case that just being a nice person or fun to be around is not enough.  Love and kindness won't put food on the table.

For the second part:  you are exactly correct.  Read the link in his article.  This is the link that triggered the author to write this article.  The premise is, very specifically and spelled out in detail, that people are very narcissistic and ultra-individualistic.




On another topic:  People like he is referring to not only exist in my generation, but there are a lot of them.  A lot.

They think they are smart, special, talented, and capable.  Yet they have done nothing to prove it except do pretty alright in high school and get into college.

These people are nice, kind, and very loving.  But that amounts to nothing when they live in their mom's basement, with no job complaining about not being treated with a lot of respect and that noone can see just how special they are.  They cry about not being able to get a job, how they can't meet quality women, pretty much all the things stated in the article.

It is disturbing how accurate the article really is.  I had to yell, scream, and eventually get into a fist fight, a literal fist fight, with my identical twin brother before he would let go of his "hipster" attitude and get a job.  (He choked me out btw, but I was still right) And now he is better off because of it.

My best friend, the same way, I had to have this argument with him to get him to move on with his life and be an adult.  No fighting was involved, the recent death of his father was enough of a shock to get him to listen.

This advice may seem to black and white and too extreme for you but at the end of the day, in reality and in my life I have had to have these conversations with people who fail to move from childhood to adulthood.


Also, keep in mind, I don't disagree with you at all.  Altruism wasn't a part of the article.  Doing the right thing or being a "gooder" person wasn't included.  Giving wasn't included.   All these are good things.  My GF gets onto me for not spending my money on myself, I spend it on the people I care about.

I just think that you are too far removed from the people being referenced in this article to really understand why the article is so good.
 
+Scott Doty Please, don't let the comments of less "enlightened" individuals make you not read a very good article.

It does not promote ruthlessness.
 
+Greg Yantz  One doesn't need to become disagreeable in order to disagree.

Quotes from the article:

"society is full of people who need things."

"you became part of a system designed purely to see to people's needs."

"Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving and polite you are."

"As long as they result in you doing things for people that they can't get elsewhere."

"'Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. If you want to work here, close.'
It's brutal, rude and borderline sociopathic, and also it is an honest and accurate expression of what the world is going to expect from you. The difference is that, in the real world, people consider it so wrong to talk to you that way that they've decided it's better to simply let you keep failing."

These statements paint a rather utilitarian view of society.  Needs, use, function ... cogs, wheels, holes ...  When one's only view of people is in terms of what use one can get out of them, one objectifies them.  One isn't interested in them as people, only utility.  The only person one ends up thinking about is oneself, and it becomes a bitter competition between oneself and society.

I would also point out that the last quote is blatantly false, according to my life experience.  There may be people who have that attitude, but those I've met who embrace that attitude are some of the unhappiest people I know.

The point I made about economics is that by putting everything in terms of needs and skills, it turns all of society into an economic model of consumers and suppliers, and having done so tries to extrapolate that model to encompass everything that is meant by the term "life" or "the world".

I don't think I'm reading too much into what he's saying here.  You are, as always, free to disagree.
 
+Alex Bynum I think I understand where you are coming from, and I would agree that certain people may be too soft on themselves or live detached from reality.  And maybe hearing strong words is necessary to shake them from their stupor.

"First paragraph of your quote:  this is too optimistic.  It is hard for me to say that, but it is.  It is the case that just being a nice person or fun to be around is not enough.  Love and kindness won't put food on the table."

Why does it have to be an either-or sort of thing?  Yes, being all smarmy and lovey-dovey is not going to put bread on the table.  But who says love and kindness is all smarmy and lovey-dovey?  Love is demanding and requires self sacrifice.  Love gets your ass out of bed so that you can support your family.  Love gives you the discipline to be the very absolute best person you can so that you can give your very best self to your beloved.

Maybe the problem we're encountering in our disagreement is because we have different concepts of what is meant by "love and kindness".  I tell you there is a lot of crap out there that passes for love which is more harmful and odious than hate.

I would say that the hipsters who hide in their mother's basement without getting married have a caricaturized impression of love and kindness, and perhaps this is what the author is attacking.  But, to me, that is a dangerous move because without having clarified what love and kindness are it can send the wrong message (which I felt was being communicated).

Maybe I come across as too much of an optimist ... All I know is that I have been blessed to know many extremely generous people, and though many narcissistic and ultra-individualistic people exist out there, perhaps we overlook those quiet, generous people, who are too humble to make much fuss and pass unnoticed.  I do not think it fair to dismiss them altogether though.
 
The article seems to remarkably miss it's own point by jabbing on about why somebody else would not want to be your partner. My point being is that you should be comfortable enough in your life and in your skin that you appreciate good life and company but don't require it.
 
The title should be "6 Harsh Truths That Will Make Your Way Up in Modern Society". Who is that guy to tell me what being a better person is all about? ... I just hope this post doesn't get any more shares.
 
Article in summary: Unhappy with your life? Instead of blindly repeating what everyone has told you, that you're a Good Person No Matter What, try spending as much time (or more) Creating and Doing as you spend Consuming and Observing.

It's aimed at a specific audience (namely, Cracked.com readers, go figure), and so is written the way it is.  Having trouble finding the point in the words? Remember it is a humor site.
 
+Thomas Lechner At this point I don't think we disagree at all.   Most especially about love and kindness.

I have been making arguments to better understand your point of view because your initial post intrigued me.

Thanks.  I believe I understand now.

However,  I do think the article is good and spot on despite the flaws you mentioned.  Maybe because of the flaws, but that isn't the point.  
 
Only a life helping others is worth living..the only true satisfaction comes from helping ur fellow man 
 
+Alex Bynum Thanks for giving me an opportunity to better clarify it.  I will admit I felt a bit lazy about my first post ... it was more emotionally driven than anything.  I was kind of hoping it would start some discussion too; and in that I guess I was successful. :)

Perhaps I was too hasty to write off the article ... it came across very strongly, and I always get nervous when I sense something is being overly simplified.
 
+Sal Gallo So the only true satisfaction is dissatisfaction?

Spending all my time helping other people doesn't satisfy me very much.

Spending time being a contributing member to society, being a sometimes good person and helping people when I am able  and willing to is satisfactory.


Is not contributing to the greater economic stability helping your fellow man?  Increasing everyones standard of living through capitalism isn't helping my fellow man?  We help each other out so much in America that the average person's standard of living just after the civil war was higher than the average standard of living for all people on Earth today.


Get it?
 
+Alex Bynum heh, I couldn't resist ...

"So the only true satisfaction is dissatisfaction?

Spending all my time helping other people doesn't satisfy me very much."

But again, why do these things have to be diametrically opposed?  I think they are integrated with each other.  If we spend all our energies on ourselves, life becomes empty and we become unhappy.  If we spend all our energies on others to the extent that we neglect ourselves, we burn ourselves out, and don't end up really serving others either.

I think it is possible (gosh I should hope so) for one to take care of oneself still with the motivation of helping others.  One cannot give what one does not have.  If we neglect ourselves, how can we expect to care for others ...  Do we ever get the balance just right?  Most likely not, but we have our whole life to try to establish it.

I will say (being a bit predisposed to moodiness myself), I am happier when with others and at the service of others than just left to myself and my thoughts.  There is great satisfaction in making a difference in other people's lives and contributing to their happiness.
Scott L
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That characteristics are secondary to actions is true as far as external concerns. There are three aspects to every person: what the person does, says, and thinks. 3rd parties can only ever know the first two. So where I may be a contented person living a fulfilling internal life, that only matters to others as expressed in words and deeds (deeds much more so than words)
 
+Thomas Lechner Yup, that was my point exactly.
I also tried to throw in there that being a contributing productive member of any society is, by definition, helping everyone in that society.

So even if all you do is go to work, come home, don't bother anyone, then go to work again the next day you are contributing greatly to the greater good.

We really do agree with each other.  Being selfish doesn't preclude being kind and giving just as being kind and giving doesn't preclude selfishness.

As the game theory guy stated, kindness and giving are inherently selfish anyway.

You have to find the balance of both.
 
+Manuel Gilbert Riviere Despite the fear that this post might be trolling:

This article is not disgusting nor is it a waste of time to read it.  Life must be very two dimensional for you if you believe both of those things.  
 
He's keeping it real. eg. every guy wants to bang Miranda kerr. Who does? Orlando bloom because he's rich as Fuck and had the balls to go and get it.
 
+Alex Bynum -- I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree what a "contributing productive member of society" is.

"So even if all you do is go to work, come home, don't bother anyone, then go to work again the next day you are contributing greatly to the greater good."

This is the party line, true, but some folks will contribute more by striking out on their own.  And we part company, if you think "Wal*Mart Greeter" is "contributing greatly to the greater good."

When it comes to the stereotype of "hipster in Mom's basement" that you are perpetrating, I'd daresay those are the sorts of folks who are more likely to become entrepreneurs.  That may start out with a job, but such folks are probably not going to be happy until they pursue their passion.

An example for you -- Entrepreneur Magazine's Entrepreneur of the year:

   http://www.entrepreneur.com/e2012#1341

I guess what I'm saying is that there is a big difference between "job" and "career" -- and someone can be even more of a contributing member of society if they have a career that includes altruism.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
 
Who the f is Miranda Kerr and isn't rather ironic that you apparently can earn good money by pretending to be someone else? The thing is that life is what you make of it. Some have bigger challenges than others and the reward as in money power and fame only has a correlation, not causation, with the amount of work you put in it. Whatever the ritch and wealthy had to go through to get to that point it has neither been that important or hard as mother in a third world country successfully raising her children to be in a better position as herself. And there are more succesfull mothers than there are ritch, important and well known people in the world.
 
Plus I am impressed that the writers at Cracked read The Last Psychiatrist.  If harsh direct painful honesty is your thing, subscribe to his blog.
 
 
After reading the article I see the author had a fairly accurate guess on the response from these comments. Also, yes cracked.com is worth visiting.
 
The editor gave the author the Christmas present of permission to flame the site's resident trolls as thoroughly as his heart desired. I enjoyed it immensely . . . but then as an employed family man I stand much more than the blast radius away from the target audience.
 
He even writes about how what you can offer doesn't have to be monetary. I think that was implied but guess it needed to be written. I did get annoyed with using "fucking" quite a bit, but I guess it was for emphasis? Also hipsters aren't so bad. A lot of them learn useful things... They just don't know how to or don't care how to market it for sustained profits. Maybe some do. 
 
Un-insightful, inarticulate nonsense. 
 
What an opinionated load of crap...
 
+Scott Doty I don't disagree with you.  I was stating bare minimums of contribution.  Basically just saying that working regularly is good for everyone.

I totally disagree, however, that "hipsters" are more inclined to entrepreneurship.  In my experience entrepreneurship is pretty evenly distributed across demographics in America.  And yes, drug dealers count.
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