“The Fuck”

“The Fuck”


Years ago, early in my “journey” (gosh that’s an overused word) there started being quite a long list of things I wanted to change in my life, but with many of them I felt thwarted by “the system”. The alternatives were not always highly viable (not affordable, nor practical, nor quick, nor easy).

But the things I wanted to do were so important to me. If they didn’t fit my whole lifestyle, I’d need to change my whole lifestyle to fit them.

I wanted to eat fabulous healthy food. I wanted to be active and fit. I wanted connection with the natural environment. I wanted my needs to have a smaller negative impact on the environment. I wanted to have closer ties to my neighbours in ways that we’re mutually empowering. I wanted to be more spiritual. I wanted a safe place for my kids to grow and learn and thrive. I wanted to feel secure. Etc.

Wait a minute. Aren’t these things most people want? Wouldn’t most people, like you probably did, nod along in agreement with that list? But… I lived a very stereotypical life, one that society promotes as the ideal – go to college, graduate, get a decently well paying job, have kids, live in an apartment in a reasonably safe city near a great school, parks, shopping, hospital, and recreation. Own a good vehicle (but work within an easy bicycle commute), have a big TV, look sharp and trendy, have the latest tech, a home gym, go to meditation classes, eat out regularly… wasn’t I doing and getting everything I was “supposed” to want?

Well, I think the closest way of describing my discontent is that all of this only looked like what people should want. It started to feel like life in our society offered tons of options and opportunities, in the same way as a store having a thousand different flavors and qualities of vanilla ice cream to chose from. “Look at how much choice and freedom we give you! Which flavor of vanilla is right for you!?”

Well, I guess I chose what society might label “Rocky Road”, but I decided that’s what I needed to do!

Because as awesome and convenient and shiney as society’s vanilla seems to be, there’s the fact that it’s pretty superficial and unsatisfying. You don’t actually have much choice and are actively discouraged from making choices that may very well be the best for you, and for people in general, but not society.

But wait a minute… shouldn’t the role of a society be to support the people that make it up? Why is it so hard to eat well, do enough exercise, connect deeply with those around us, feel totally secure, etc…? The best thing for our current society is for you to stay helpless, in debt, working hard, then trading it for all the conveniences (no one makes money when you do things for yourself). But that means that there is a disconnect between what’s best for our current society, and what’s best for individuals…

Well holy shit.

This means I was busting my butt to support a system that, in many ways, I don’t even want, and which is actively discouraging me from living in line with my values (for now, I’m sticking with having a great phone though).

This could be referred to as “the rub”, or “the fine print”, or whatever. I started calling it “The Fuck”.

This bit from the movie The Matrix kinda sums it up. Here it is, with “the matrix” changed to “the fuck” cuz I’m lazy:

Morpheus: The Fuck is everywhere, it is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage… born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind. The Fuck.

The more you learn about how everything works – from building codes and zoning, to food production and distribution, to medicine, to technology, to taxes and even the scariest one: to money itself, the more you see different examples of The Fuck.

Here’s one quick example of “The Fuck” that you (if you’re like most people) willingly and actively participate in daily. When you pay by credit card, the bank takes a transaction fee. It’s conservatively something like 1.5% plus 10 cents. So if you buy something from Merchant A for $100, Merchant A only gets $98.40. For this analogy we’re going to say this is that merchant’s only cost (no rent, no staff, no product costs, no monthly fees, no taxes, etc). So he can now buy something for $98.40 from Merchant B, who gets $96.82 and can buy something for that amount from Merchant C. Merchant C would get $95.27. It would then go down to $93.74, then $92.23, then $90.75, then $89.29 and so on with each transaction.


We can see from this that after a certain number of transactions, the credit card company eventually has all the money. Some math whiz can figure out exactly how many transactions that would take, but let that sink in for a moment.

Now consider other ways “the system” takes more money than this, some of them mentioned already – taxes (both on the sale price and on the business’ profits), monthly credit card/bank fees for both the customer and the merchant, service fees, interest if the customer’s balance isn’t paid on time, etc. and it becomes apparent pretty quickly that it actually takes very little time and surprisingly few transactions before “the system” actually has all the money.

This is just one example of “The Fuck” in one area of life of how something we take for granted and which is a total societal norm actually fucks us over big time because no one really thinks about it.

Now I want to be very clear that I am not some high and mighty “holier than thou” guru who has all the answers and lives the perfect life, free from the fetters of The Fuck. I’m working on it, but I still have a decent amount of credit card debt to pay down (though once that happens, I do have a card with no monthly fees, so as long as the balance is payed off every month we don’t give The Fuck hardly anything).

I’ll likely be touching on more examples of “The Fuck” in future posts, or mentioning that term in general, so now you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Now this sounds kinda shitty and depressing, but what I’m interested in going forward is, now that I’m aware of this concept, breaking free from it as best I can and hopefully inspiring and giving ideas to others to do the same.
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