Review: Happiness By Vonnegut

Been reading Kurt Vonnegut for the first time. Lots of great wisdom. In his opinion, the problem with the world is we’re still following Hammurabi’s Code–an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Look at how the USA behaves toward terrorism, how so-called “Christians” in this country treat other nations. A nation has a right to defend itself? Sure, but not by Hammurabi’s Code–shouldn’t Christians follow the teachings of–you know–the guy they’re named after?

Jesus was truly the Prince of Peace. Why, then, do “Christians” (who shame the name) behave as they do? It was about 10 years ago when we invaded Iraq. As revenge for the 9/11 attack. Which, of course, had nothing at all to do with Hussein, so by even Hammurabi’s Code the USA is guilty of murdering another nation and hundreds of thousands of it’s citizens. Did Hussein need to go? Not our call.

Vonnegut also knows what motivates men and women, what makes us happy. For women, it’s having lots of people to talk to….about everything. For men, it’s having no one angry with you for any reason. The reason why divorce is rampant in the USA is because we’re all so lonely. So terribly, tragically, profoundly lonely. It’s not in our genes to cope with it, as our ancestors were not lonely–they lived in huge family groups of 50 or more and rarely left their homes. Communal living has proven to not work, as the culture doesn’t support it. So our best option is probably to be involved in social communities, like church, bowling, drinking buddies, whatever it takes.

He said, ages ago, marriage was celebrated. Today, it’s basically a sad occasion–if you’re honest. The parents on one side or the other lose a child, or more likely both as kids are encouraged to leave and go start a whole new town on their own. As stupid as that sounds, it is basically what parents are accustomed to doing to their kids at a certain age. It’s not in our genes to cope with loneliness. And even with the world’s population doubling every few decades, we become more and more lonely in the USA. We turn to video games, internet shopping, and TV, rather than being together. You can see the Millennials rebelling against the “Leave it to Beaver” model set by boomers in the way they have embraced social media. The young today do not want to sit at home watching game shows, sponsored by ads sporting the latest crap they should rush out to buy on payday–idolizing free money.

I’m op-ed’ing Vonnegut a bit here, but he lived long enough to see the internet further isolate us. Maybe Millennials will break the trend. But it needs to be more than this capitalistic ad-based system. Question: Would you pay $5.00/month to use a Facebook with absolutely no ads anywhere? I think I would. Even right this moment, to the right of my cursor, there are 6 stupid ads trying to lure me into clicking them. Why would I want to? If I’m not in tune with that “thing” today, why should I be falsely reminded of it, and compelled by very sophisticated brainwashing to desire it? The ad itself, just sitting there, is anathema, hostile, manipulative, whether I respond or not my eyes have seen it and now it occupies a small space in my mind, if only for a few seconds. I should be compensated for anything thrust into my mind like that. Or, if given the option, perhaps I would pay a small reasonable fee to avoid it altogether.

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