Month: October 2020

Knowledge Is Not Power

There’s nothing wrong with reading books to give you more information about a subject, but all the knowledge in the world about a subject does not guarantee experience.Source: Wikicommons.

“Some things cannot be taught; they must be experienced. You never learn the most valuable lessons in life until you go through your own journey.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Say what you like about those we elect to power, but the one thing I would consider an unfair label to slap on politicians is “stupid”.

If you take the time to go through the personal biography of every president, prime minister, premier, governor, etc., elected to power by a repeatedly hopeful and later disillusioned voting populace, you’ll discover one common theme: they’re not dumb.

Some are university graduates in political science, socio-economics, law, or finance. Others are those gifted with business acumen or rogue scholars. Still, all of them have a pretty good chance of being sharper than the average knife in the drawer, or in more realistic terms the typical armchair quarterback who THINKS he or she understands how the government should run the country.

Yet despite being fairly intelligent, it’s clear our leaders do not have all the answers. They may use vibrant feel-good speeches to inspire hope in those looking for such, but facts are like the 43.0913 kilogram dog who still thinks he is a puppy yet the ominous snapping noise your body is making as he lies across you says otherwise.

To intone the character V from “V For Vendetta”, “…the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?”.

Yes there is. We have poverty, homelessness, lack of affordable housing, lack of affordable post-secondary education, job instability, a fluctuating consumer confidence level, high taxes that seem to go nowhere except perhaps in the back pockets of some unseen lobbyist, the list goes on.

In response to questions raised by the concerns I’ve listed, these politicians I’ve mentioned will respond, “Yes, we feel your pain. We’re listening. We hear you. “

Some of them even claim they’ve talked to the more vulnerable members of society to get their take, or participated in activities like serving dinner at a homeless shelter or helping out at a food bank.

That’s noble, if the sincerity is there and the compassion is real and not practiced like a choreographic dance. I find it honorable to selflessly give one’s free time to help others less fortunate.

Having said that, it’s not enough, and right there is the reason why politicians, as smart and as well-meaning as they might be, haven’t put in policies to make the lives of the more vulnerable members of society any better.

Knowledge is not experience. There’s a difference.

I can have a conversation with a nuclear reactor technician for example about reactors. He or she could tell me everything about what a reactor is, how uranium rods heat water into a steam to drive turbines that produce hydroelectric power, but that does not make me a nuclear reactor technician.

I could explain to you what I did during my 20 year IT career in the most minute of details: programming, system administration, Sarbanes-Oxley enforcement, intersystem interfacing, what application layers are, how to create logical access paths in a database. After hearing all of this, would that make you as good an I.T, processional as I was?

Let’s take it to the most basic level. I can tell you I was cold and trying to keep warm on a subway car waiting at a station, or how frightened I was when someone threatened to kill me while at the House of Friendship. Would you truly understand how harsh a men’s shelter or living outdoors can be? No, you’d have to experience it.

Reading a book, or being told a story is not having experience. You’re better educated, more informed, but that’s about it.

Politicians have never spent one night on the streets or slept on buses. They’ve never spent time in a shelter. They’ve never had to decide which to pay for first — food or rent, glasses or teeth —- with the scant amount of money in their possession. Politicians come from a position of comfort granted by their privilege that their wealth gives them.

In short, they have not experienced life low-income earners go through as their daily norm.

It is for that reason why they repeatedly fail in solving that socioeconomic problem. Not because they do not know, but because they do not understand.

Thanks for reading.

David.

UPDATE 11/9/2020: For those of you who still think serving coffee to the homeless or having a short chat with them gives you expertise on the subject of homelessness, take a gander at this video. Contrary to popular belief (lazy! get a job!), homelessness happens when life happens. All it took for this woman to become homeless was a mental breakdown.

Okay.

This wasn’t the worse a fellow tenant did to the house I rent a room at. In addition to the destroyed drywall, and as of this writing, we have no working fridge, stove, wifi, and house phone.

WARNING: POTTY MOUTH AND REALLY BAD MOOD AHEAD!

A soon-to-be ex-tenant apparently did not take kindly to my absolutely wonderful landlord (no sarcasm, he really is a nice guy) withholding his last month’s rent due to numerous violations of his lease agreement.

Actually the more accurate description might be, “he lost his cosmic shit”.

He totalled drywall ordered by my landlord by tossing it down the stairs (see picture), he cut the power cords to the fridge and stove, submerged the Wi-Fi router underwater, and pee’d all over the bathroom floor (which I was the lucky lad to clean up).

Not before he threatened to beat up my landlord first. My landlord escaped that fate by running out of the house and dialing 911 at a neighbour’s house.

For the record, I do hope the day comes where my landlord catches up with this sorry fucker, with police and lawyers in tow. I really hope my landlord sues that ex-tenant’s sorry Infowar loving arse, and throws him into a jail where some hulking jailbrute named Thorne uses him to relieve a carnal need in the most painful and bleedful way.

There. I’ve said it. Don’t hate me for saying it either. You see, this is the life of low-income folk who have to live in shared accommodations, and sometimes even friends and family members of mine don’t seem to get the crap we go through to get through life like this.

In fact, it gets me so fucking mad every time I have to put up with their indifference and holier-than-thou attitude, especially when hearing about it upsets them more than it upsets me.

And I was really fucking upset at first.

Why am I so upset, you ask? This incident has hit me really hard. I won’t get into the details of what it has cost me, what I’ve lost, and what it is making me feel right now, but rest assured, in addition to the damage my landlord has to pay for, I took a financial hit and it was a big one. What I need to replace is going to leave a big hole in my wallet and take up a lot of time. This is a massive fucking setback.

Yet the people I mention think this is more about them than me, so they do not want to hear about it. Worse, they tell me to make sure other people do not hear about it because it will upset THEM too.

Good fucking grief, yet I play their game because, you know, they’re friends and family. When I have to talk about something like, you know, today’s shitfest, over the phone, I have to excuse myself to a private area to make the call so I don’t upset anyone in earshot. 99% of the time it works. No one knows my shameful secret.

Today, the 1% of the time where it does not work happened and someone overheard. You know that old shampoo commercial where they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on and so on? Well, someone overheard and told a member of my family.

Well, FUCK me, did I get an earful. I was told by that one member of my family that in future not to make such a terrible mistake again because it UPSETS them and could make them sick.

Well! How I wanted to say to this person, “EXCUSE FUCKING ME for having a crappy situation in life. PARDON MY FUCKING INCONSIDERATE SELF for being behind the 8-Ball due to COVID-19 where I can’t earn as much money and have a nice shiny house like you!”.

How I just wanted to tear a new hole out of that person for thinking of their discomfort over hearing about MY fricking misfortune instead of offering sympathy or support. You know, like what a normal human being is supposed to feel.

But something else happened. Something unexpected. Something I think is going to happen again and again the next time I have to deal with friends and family members who simply don’t get it.

I simply said to myself, “Okay” and very calmly deleted that person’s contact information off my Email and my web-based texting service. I didn’t swear, or grit my teeth while pounding on the keys on my laptop and the buttons on my mouse to carry out the task. I was unbelievably calm, like what you would feel standing in a farmer’s field on a spring day. Not happy or euphoric, more like your emotions at an even keel. An understanding that sometimes you just shrug your shoulders and accept the things you cannot change and then let it go.

I also felt a massive weight lift from my chest and shoulders. My relationship with that person was something strained to begin with before my misfortunes began during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, but became toxic as time went on. We’ve tried three times to make up, or at least agree to disagree, but each time that failed and we both went back to our separate mad corner of the world, and years pass in silence thereafter.

This time it’s different. I don’t want to do the rodeo ride again with this person, but I’m not walking away mad. I’m walking away with an “Okay” frame of mind. I can’t change this person. I can’t make this person understand my world, and most important, I can’t play anymore their perceived role of villain because my misfortune somehow pisses them and the people they care about off.

It’s just —- okay.

Thanks for reading.

David.

P.S. I’ll admit this is a depature from a previous post where I felt it was important to mend fences in case my situation brings me to an early end. In that post, I stated I hate things being left unsaid but I’m getting to the realization where maybe that doesn’t matter if people simply refuse to listen, or just see things from the comfort of their personal convenience rather than the bare truth.