Bored Youth

There is much angst over the activities in a detention centre in Darwin which the usual suspects are trying to explain the apparently inexplicable. They seem not to realise that this state of affairs is the outcome of their much favoured welfare state policy; the utopian ideal of socialism.

The whole purpose of life, believe it or not, is to stay alive by hunting, fishing and gathering if part of a tribal nomadic group, or working at a job to put bread on the table if one lives in a society based on the division of labour. And these activities take most of the daylight hours. Except when the welfare state exists and then people have no further need to do anything to stay alive, since the state, or government, relieves them of the need to forage for food etc. Relieved of this necessity, and unless a vocation exists, most youth and adults will tend to relieve their boredoom by either breeding, the only creative act left, or by making mischief, or by escaping via chemical stimulations, aka drugs and the addiction therefrom.

The result of such a social system, the Socialist State, combined with an increasing population, is a growing youth cohort that has basically nothing to do, since staying alive is mitigated by the welfare state.

So what do unemployed youths do in such a social system? Make mischief. As they do. As they have always done when relieved of the necessity of staying alive.

And as the Darwin detention centre seemed to suggest, race has little or nothing to do with it either; white or black, brindle or brown, bored youths inevitably make mischief. The problem with our aboriginal peoples is that it was only some 150 years ago that they still existed as nomadic hunter-gatherers living at the subsistence level and fully occupied in the task of staying alive. Subsistence economies can’t accumulate wealth either, so in such systems no one, apart from the very young and very old, can afford to be idle.

And to then expect them to then easily transition to an industralised society, based on the division of labour, while at the same time taking care of their urgent material needs of staying alive, via the modern welfare state, will not lead to some materialist utopia, but to dysfunctional boredom, with all that state implies as a consequence of the assumptions of the socialist, or utopian, system.

Our problem is not black or white mischievious youth, but simply mischievious youth not having anything to do in the irresponsible socialist system we deem necessary.

However in a capitalistic system where everyone is responsilble for themselves, no one has the time to become bored and thus to make mischief. Of course some will organise themselves into gangs and via the threat of violence, stay alive by stealing from the rest. Such gangs end up growing in overwhelming numbers to become governments where violence became institutionalised, and survival, more or less, guaranteed. But the rest of us, being self responsible, are totally pre-occupied with the activity of staying alive by either hunting and gathering, or producing some thing to exchange in the market place, or living off our savings.

But we do live in a socialist or quasi-socialist system and welfare state, relieving us of the necessity of staying alive. What do non-productive people not in work then do with their daylight hours? Either working at a hobby or vocation to pass the time, in lieu of foraging for food, or by mitigating boredom by trying out some novel activity in an attempt to escape from the boredom of freedom of not having to stay alive by hunting, gathering or producing; such are the demands of the socialist welfare state.

So the bored are led to drug addition, both physical and metaphysical. The physical involves chemicals of various formulae; the latter involving the habituation of one or other mind-patterns known as religion or ideology, the difference being essentially rhetorical.

And all of these escapes, whether drugs, religions or ideologies, are constructs of the ego which is formed from the process of thinking.

If I stop thinking physical reality does not disappear; after all when I fall asleep, the bed on which I rest does not disappear, does it? And when I wake up the following morning, so does my ego which is the sum of my memories etched into my brain from previous repetitive thinking.

So if you want to figure it out, simply start observing yourself thinking; by observing one’s thoughts in a detached sense, you might then discover something. Direct willpower will not get it, nor will any, so-called, religious activity such as prayer, ohmming, or other repetitive thoughts. Will is the application of thought to a problem.

So you need to understand thought and how you think, because the whole world view you have is a product of the total thinking of everyone, to which you then add a personal perspective.

So you can free yourself from it by not thinking; But you can’t escape it by thinking.

After all, that’s what most of us do when asleep.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. Trained by Western Mining Corporation and polished by De Beers.
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6 Responses to Bored Youth

  1. pauladkin says:

    I thnk you are confusing what you call the Socialist or Welfare State with Civilisation.


      • pauladkin says:

        You said: “The whole purpose of life, believe it or not, is to stay alive by hunting, fishing and gathering if part of a tribal nomadic group, or working at a job to put bread on the table if one lives in a society based on the division of labour.” The first part of the phrase: The whole purpose of life, believe it or not, is to stay alive by hunting, fishing and gathering if part of a tribal nomadic group,” was rendered unnecessary by the emergence of the City State civilisations. In other words, Civilisation is the Social State or Welfare State. However, that Welfare, or the so-called civilising process, came at a price, because, in fact, Civilisation was not, and never really has been, particularly interested in the welfare of its citizens. It is mainly interested in accumulating wealth for the ruling classes through the division of labour. The problem, that you see, which is the alienation from a natural need to have to struggle in order to survive, therefore predates Social Welfare as it began with the creation of Civilisation itself. It is one of the aims of Civilisation to make its citizens feel more comfortable in order to make them more manipulable. By achieving this aim it makes its principle objective – ensuring that wealth always moves in the direction of the privileged classes – pòssible. So, before the idea of Social Welfare came along, there has always been Civilisation. It is the same form of manipulation. But … having said all this … I profoundly disagree with your definition of the “purpose of life”.


  2. If I don’t eat, I die.

    So either I take personal responsibility to ensure I eat, which means exchanging goods and services cooperatively with other like-minded individuals, or I allow the state to take responsibility for my welfare, which means I don’t need to produce anything to stay alive since the state will feed me.

    The latter scenario means I have abundant time on my hands, and thus the opportunity to do mischief. This is known as socialism.

    The former scenario means I have to keep producing until I drop dead, which basically means I don’t have free time available. This is known as capitalism.

    Young people freed of responsibility have abundant time on their hands and that inevitably leads to mischief to relieve boredom.


  3. THX1138 says:

    People are so thoroughly propagandized that they cannot see things right before their eyes, and will actually fight against attempts to change or eliminate the circumstances of their slavery. I suppose the best analogy is called the Stockholm syndrome.

    In the meantime, the only changes we can make are in ourselves. No one can make the criminals reform and no one can make the people see.

    Truly, though the last (or first) bit would be to imagine or design a culture which is not criminal. Not a utopia, but real ways for people to live together peacefully, maintain that peace, and avoid all of this criminality in the future. Planting these dreams of that future in our youth’s minds would be a major step in bringing these ideas to fruition. Again, this would be accomplished through education, fiction and lore.

    There really is a tribe of people in the jungles of Brazil who already live in this way. They are called the Pirahã.

    The Pirahã: People Who Define Happiness Without God: Daniel Everett – Freedom From Religion Foundation

    “They don’t actually call themselves the Pirahã; that’s a Brazilian term, and nobody knows really what it means. They call themselves “Hiatíihi” (the Straight Ones). And we are all “Xaói” (bent). They’re ethnocentric; I didn’t tell you they were completely virtuous. A lot of people say that I’m claiming they’re this absolutely perfect group. They would not say that about themselves, and I certainly wouldn’t say that about them. They have their own issues, but one of them is not God.”

    When you go there, their culture doesn’t seem that impressive. My first impression was they seemed like a bunch of people on a camp-out. They just were lying around most of the day, and I didn’t see much ritual, no body painting, no feather decorations or anything like that. I hadn’t yet been with them to the jungle, which was the big revelation about their culture to me. But superficially, they just seemed to be just a commune of hippies living in the Amazon, except they worked a lot less hard than people in other communes I had seen.

    Pirahã are so good at fishing. I told people when I first saw an Indiana Jones movie that that’s silly, because one Indian running behind Jones would have riddled him with arrows, much less a whole group of Indians. I’ve never seen a Pirahã man miss with a bow and arrow at anything he’s shot at, and I’ve been with them hunting and fishing, and seeing them get in their canoe and just go out into the river and fire three times in succession and pull up three fish with a bow and arrow. They are really amazing at what they do.

    Because they’re so good at it, and because they have such a great area to live in — the Maici River with 300,000 hectares for their own reservation, which I helped demarcate — they are able to provide for themselves. I would say the average person works about 15 hours a week to make a living, and they eat just fine. Hunters and gatherers, as you all know, have better diets than we do. They eat better and have more variety and healthier foods than agriculturalists, by and large. In fact, my friend Jared Diamond has written a book called Guns, Germs, and Steel in which he talks about the downside of agriculture for the development of a lot of human societies.

    The way the Pirahã live is not idyllic but it’s pretty close. You just have to have really tough skin so you don’t mind bug bites and stuff like that, and they all have tough skin, so it’s different.

    they don’t have a word for worry, they don’t have any concept of depression, they don’t have any schizophrenia or a lot of the mental health problems, and they treat people very well. If someone does have any sort of handicap, and the only ones I’m aware of are physical, they take very good care of them. When people get old, they feed them.

    I remember one man who was too old to get around. He couldn’t hunt, he couldn’t even gather firewood anymore. They would bring him food every night and help him chew it, even helping him with his jaw. I said, “Does it bother you to give him food? I mean, he’s not doing anything.” They said, “When I was a little boy, he put food in my mouth and took care of me, and now he’s an old man and I take care of him.”

    I noticed they didn’t store food. They know how to smoke and salt meat, but they almost never do that. When they bring in meat, they give it away to everyone. I asked one of them, “Don’t you want to keep meat for tomorrow?” He said, “I keep my meat in my brother’s belly. That’s where I keep what I have. I store it with my friends.”

    There were a lot of values there I wasn’t prepared for, and actually those sound pretty much like values that a lot of religious people ascribe to, or aspire to, and yet they had them.

    Then I had to start working on their belief system. I was starting to get interested in anthropology and linguistics and wanted to find out about the creation myths. Many of you might know that the great French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss died on October 30 [2009, at age 100]. I’ve written an obituary of him. He worked in Brazil, and he worked in places very close to the Pirahã. In fact, he worked one tribal group over from people that the Pirahã know. One of the proposals of Lévi-Strauss and many other anthropologists is that creation myths are universal. They actually have ways of interpreting this, and theories of creation myths and myths in general, about series of oppositions.

    I couldn’t wait to hear what the Pirahã creation myth was, so I asked them: “What was the world like long ago, before there were Pirahã ? Who made the trees and who made the water?” The guy just looked at me and said, “What?” I repeated, “Who made the trees and who made the water?” He answered, “Nobody made the trees and nobody made the water; they’re just trees and they’re water.”

    I said, “But you know, a long time ago, when there weren’t any trees.” He said, “You saw a time when there were no trees?” I said, “No, no, but didn’t your fathers . . .” He said, “No. “We don’t talk about that. No, the trees were always here and the water was always here, unless you know that they weren’t.”

    For the Pirahã , the universe is layered, and we happen to live in this biosphere that’s bounded by the sky and the ground, which are just both barriers, so they’re both called “bigí.” There could be entities above that, but they wouldn’t be supernatural entities; they would be entities like us but maybe with different characteristics of some sort. And there could be entities below that. But the Pirahã don’t worry much about that, because they live where they’re at now.

    In fact, I began to realize that not only do they not have creation myths, they have the simplest kinship system known. They just have a word for “generation above,” no gender distinction, “my generation,” no gender distinction (which is brother, sister, cousin, uncle, anything like that), and “generation below,” without any gender distinction, and then two words for biological son and biological daughter. And that’s it. That’s the Pirahã kinship system.

    They don’t have any words for colors. They can describe colors — they see colors — but they’ll say, “That looks like blood,” or “That looks like the urucum plant,” or “That looks like water” or “That’s not quite yet ripe” or “That’s transparent” or “That looks like it has an opaque eye.” Those are the ways they describe different colors. They don’t have any words for numbers.

    In fact, the article I and three co-authors published in the journal Cognition was chosen by Discover magazine last year as one of the top 100 science stories, simply because it was the first time a group has been documented that doesn’t have any numbers, not even the number 1. I’m sure there are others, but this is the first time it’s been documented. They don’t have quantifiers, so they don’t have a word that means “all.” They have a word that means “a lot of.”

    One of the most important values in Pirahã culture is what I call immediacy of experience. If you look at their stories, they don’t talk about things to come. They might talk about what they’re going to do tomorrow based on the things they’re doing today. They don’t talk about the distant future. They don’t talk about the distant past. All of their stories and all of their songs have to do with what they did today, what they saw today. They don’t make a big distinction between dreaming and regular experience. They don’t think that dreaming is just regular experience, but it’s another experience, and they don’t talk about them as being that different.

    Why wouldn’t they have color words or number words? Because those generalize and range across things that go beyond immediacy of experience. They don’t have creation myths because that’s certainly something you haven’t experienced. Why would you talk about something if you can’t experience? And so they have suffixes that go on the end of their verbs that tell you whether they saw it or they overheard it or they inferred it. Evidence is very important to them; they’re sort of like the original Show Me State [Missouri]. Or as one philosopher said, the ultimate empiricists.


    • I’m wondering whether in the dim past we all lived as the Piraha did, memorialised as a garden of eden, in a world that was mainly tropical until some catastrophe occurred, killing off most species, and that the surviving humans were so terrified and traumatised that they became self-conscious and started thinking as a means of escaping from those awful memories?

      Clearly your quote above shows that these people live in the here and now and are not enslaved by thought. This is the point Jiddu Krishnamurti made with his teachings, as well as another Indian thinker, U. G. Krishnamurti.


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