This reader comment on the lastword section of http://www.newscientist.com is what I have been trying to shout out as loud as I can here on my blog. The American dream is fundamentally flawed; getting ahead takes more time than it is worth.
If aliens wanted to create new human pet breeds using only selective breeding, what traits would they find easiest or hardest to alter and what kind of timescales would be involved? Would we be easier or more difficult to breed selectively than, say, dogs?
No trait selection or modification required.
Well, I have no clue about aliens but the wealthiest of our own species seem to have reduced the vast majority of our kind to a sort of pet or domesticated animal status quite nicely already, thank you.
In the midst of what is, in effective, a plague of mental illness, depression, anxiety and other stress related disorders, we willingly pack ourselves into very fixed schedules, debilitating debt loads and stifling social environments. And we do so simply because we lack either the vision or the memory of anything else.
So, if our current situation is any indicator, aliens would need only to convince us that it was in our best interest to accept pet status. After that, our descendants would, with very little prompting, believe it was normal and carry on as if nothing was wrong, much as we do now, – despite the very obvious fact that there is.
My heroes are not those that win at the game and come out on top. My heroes beat the system by playing different games. One option to define your own game financially is to be a self employed expat in a soft currency developing country while earning hard currency.
Update: From wikipedia: The term bohemian was first used in the nineteenth century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, musicians, and actors in major European cities. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or antiestablishment political or social viewpoints, which were expressed through extramarital and probably as well marital sexual relations and frugality and/or ‘voluntary poverty’. bohemian (boho – informal) is defined in The American College Dictionary as “a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior.”
Many prominent European and American figures of the last 150 years belonged to the bohemian counterculture, and any comprehensive ‘list of bohemians’ would be tediously long.
No one can truly define a Bohemian, although Bohemians themselves, from Charles Baudelaire to Jack Kerouac, have tried to name and justify their particular brand.
That said, there are, if you use a little imagination, five distinct Bohemian mind-set/styles. There are also many crossovers and hybrids. Beats, for example, may have Zen leanings or the foppish trappings of a Dandy. The Bohemian by nature is not easily classified like species of birds.
The Nouveau Bohemian
The Nouveau Bohemian brings elements of traditional Bohemian ideology into harmony with contemporary culture without losing sight of the basic tenets—the glamour, the art, the nonconformity. And while Nouveaus may suffer poetically, artistically and romantically, they have what appears to be, at first, one advantage over other Bohemians—the Nouveau has money.
The Gypsy Bohemian
These are the expatriate types. They create their own Gypsy nirvana wherever they go. They are folksy flower children, hippies, psychedelic travelers, fairy folk, dreamers, Deadheads, Phish fans, medievalists, anachronistic throwbacks to a more romantic time…Gypsies scatter like seeds on the wind, don’t own a watch, show up on your doorstep and disappear in the night. They’re happy to sleep in your barn and may have without you even knowing it.
The Beat Bohemian
Reckless, raggedy, rambling, drifting, down-and-out, Utopia-seeking. It might look like Beats suffer for their ideals, but they’ve let go of material desire…Beats are free spirits. They believe in freedom of expression. They travel light but there’s always a book or a notebook in their pocket…Beats jam, improvise, extemporize, blow ethereal notes into the universe, write poetry, ramble and wreck cars. They live on the edge of ideas. They take the part and then make up their own lines.
The Zen Bohemian
No other Bohemians fathom the transient, green and meditative quality of life better than the Zens, even if they’re in a rock band, which they often are. The Zen is post-Beat, a Bohemian whose quest has evolved from the artistic, smoky, literary and spiritually wanderlustful to the spiritually lustful.
The Dandy Bohemian
A little seedy, a little haughty, slightly shredded or threadbare, Dandies are the most polished of all Bohemians even when their clothes are tattered. The Dandy aspires to old money without the money…You are more likely to find unpopular liqueurs such as Chartreuse and Earl Grey brandy in the Dandy home than a six-pack of Budweiser. In fact, you will never find a six-pack in the Dandy’s quarters, though Alsatian ale is a possibility…This does not mean that the Dandy refuses Budweiser at a picnic. That would be impolite.