A comparison?

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My friend suggested a while ago that I write about communism vs capitalism. I decided to do so today, mainly because I have a cold and can’t be bothered thinking about important things 🙂 Because if you think this is going to be an objective article you need to close this page immediately, I don’t do that kind of stuff when I feel miserable and sorry for myself! 🙂

So here goes: I haven’t read anything about communism or capitalism as theories, only as the opinions of people. I also grew up in a communist country until I was almost 11, then spent my teenage years assimilating a different reality and wishing for an even more different one.

I have this theory that ideas are only as good as the people who apply them, not as the people who think them up. I should know, being an idealist. 🙂 As such, I regard both communism and capitalism as failures, insofar as the ideas go. Because by applying them you ignore huge swathes of humanity and that leads, as it should, to misery.

An example, maybe? Doctors – this has been done to death, but still it deserves a mention. Communism – they are people who provide a service, therefore they need to be recompensated in proportion to their needs… come again? They have spent how many years in university, elbow deep in whatever substances people’s bodies manage to scrounge up and you want to pay them how much? The needs of a doctor are, after all, not that much higher than a labourer’s… perhaps a doctor might need to preserve their hearing a bit better so they can auscultate properly. But a bed, a roof over one’s head, food on the table and clothes on one’s back should be enough, huh?

Capitalism – they are people who are providing a service and need to be recompensated according to their skills, but at the same time we can’t let just anybody use these skills, only those who can afford it, the rest are obviously not really integrated in this society!

Simplistic? You bet! But that is what I saw happening, what I have been told by innumerable people time and time again. I saw my people reach for plant medicine not only because it works, but also because sometimes they didn’t have enough money for a bribe. And the USA leads in the other direction with their user-pays system – google the results.

If one ignores the natural urge to compete, you get misery. If one ignores the natural urge to belong to a community, you get misery. And it doesn’t only have to do with the material things. The very people the system is supposed to serve are damaged, sometimes almost beyond repair. Meaning, faith, enlightment, love, what you tell your children when they go on a date, how and what you communicate, what you hope and what you despair of, what you rebel against, the battles you choose and the principles you crush under necessity…ah, but it is enough to break hearts and spirits!

They have advantages, both systems, and I am aware of some of them and have weighed the sacrifices one must make to get them. Between the two systems, if there is no other globe I could travel to, I would grit my teeth and choose capitalism. There is a difference, and it is enough that one can breathe deeply and feel some hope. Because between two extremes, one should aim for the middle… and I believe it is easier to have a capitalist system with social welfare than a communist system with freedom.

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Expectation

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Reading back through the last couple of posts, apart from the inherent confusion, one assumption stood clear: choices (and subsequent decisions) appeared to be almost detached, floating untouchables, or in other words, objective, reached through logical elimination of alternatives.

Well, even a two year old given a few choices by her parents could probably intimate that decisions at least are nothing of the kind. They are by default subjective. So what about choices then? They too are subjective, as in they are subject to expectations.

Expectation is an interesting word. It refers to the future, but it implies a wait period, one of those stretches of time between possibility and reality, kinda like the stretch of time between a choice and a decision… maybe they are related?

The choices we contemplate have nothing much to do with logic, even though logic is a very useful tool in contemplating choices, especially difficult ones. Think of the inferences: if this, then that, and if that, then the other thing will happen. That’s as far as I can go with logic, chess is fascinating but not my forte for exactly the same reason. I do enjoy simple logic puzzles and sorites though. But I digress…

As I was saying, the choices we contemplate are not objective, they are subject to expectation, the waiting between our potential and our actual execution. And if it seems to you that these concepts seem to flow one into the other while at the same time remaining different… let’s say that occasionally I get headaches too! 🙂

If by any chance you’ve gone to school, then expectations are something you are familiar with. They get repeated later in the workforce, by the bank and a few other institutions like the justice and revenue departments. Parents are the first ones though to expect things of us. Whether it’s manners, eating our dinner or playing quietly, expectations are usually quite clear. And high!

Now I am very competitive with myself so you could say that high expectations are the rule. And they are, I can’t really do much about it. What I can do something about is figuring out if those expectations are realistic. A lot of the times they are not, what with me being an idealist (the only way is down). I am not sure about it, but I suspect it might be a tad easier for a perfectionist – after all, their only way is up… but is there an end?… hm, maybe I am mistaken and there is no easy way.

What age and experience and lots of experiments have taught me is that expectation is tricky. Low expectations are supposed to be great when you have someone lacking confidence because you have greater chances of them succeeding. Hm, in my experience the pessimism low expectations come with just makes everyone miserable and likely to fail altogether.

High expectations are a bit better if the person can hold them in check. Too high expectation, or too big a difference between potential and action leads to either outright failure or to a breaking of the soul. Messy, nasty and a complete waste of time and energy.

High expectation hovering just slightly above the current ability of a person… ah, that is a wonder to behold, the stretching, the reaching, and, with a bit (ok, a lot) of work, the actual contact… a great feeling… that will give you the strength to try again!