Sunday, August 7, 2016

Target - A Bullseye on Sociopathy

This afternoon my other half and I went a shopping at the local Target because we needed some clothes on a budget and" hey, it's not Walmart". Right? Somehow it seems there is a general consensus that Target is a place you can shop without feeling like you're taking advantage of someone - unlike the great evil Walmart. After my experience in a Target store today I am going to avoid the place as much as possible. I haven't been to a Walmart in a while so the store climate may be on par with Target but based off my latest experiences with both stores, Walmart has a slight leg up.

You're probably thinking "what the hell is he talking about?" So I'll get straight to the point - it's the goddamn walkies and general attitude of the shoppers. While my lady was trying on some clothes I observed a couple employees engaged in constant activity finding the correct hangers for items, retagging things, etc and returning them to the rack. Despite the feverish activity, the mountain of clothes yet to be dealt steadily grew, as customer after customer, deposited the items they didn't want - "because that's what these people are paid to do right? They should be grateful to have a job at all." That's the general mentality of at least half of America. I was taught that you didn't need to create more work for someone just because it was their job. That's just one guy's opinion because I don't much care to be waited on hand and foot and if I am, I want the person to be well compensated. 

This whole time I was standing next to a shopping cart filled with items to be returned to the shelves  listening to the incessant chatter on the "open" walkie. In my current profession I am required to wear a walkie all day with a headset to receive orders from the boss. It can be extremely draining to pay attention to all of the voices on your channel making sure they aren't talking to you. Side thought: I think that's probably the best evidence for why we all can't read each other's minds - we choose not to because it would be too taxing. Back to the walkie chatter in a minute.

With corporations being considered "people" now, some argue that "corporations are sociopaths". A sociopath is a person who has "no conscience, sense of remorse, or ability to feel empathy with another human". Another way of putting it could be - sociopaths are simply people utilizing one-way communication services and the receiver is shut off or damaged. This is where the walkies come into play. A walkie is simplex i.e. one way flow at all times. When you have access to blast how you feel out to the entire world and be able to disable the return feed or get out of synch with it - that's what creates internet bullies and the like. Empathy is a feedback loop to keep things on point and not all askew. One-way devices (a bulletin board, mass emails, group texts, etc) allow an individual to give orders without having to be physically present with those they are throwing their perspective and expectations on. This is important because as a boss, not having all of the information can lead to assumptions being made. When shit invariably "goes sideways" and the boss gets increasingly more frustrated, they will take it out on the employees because the general manager is probably listening to this go on up from his office or will hear about it later, probably lacking many germane details.

We've achieved layers of detachment in modern society because we've become accustomed to one way communication due to staring at televisions for hours a day or getting all or information from a newspapers, magazines, you name it. There's nothing wrong with these inventions but you need to be conscious of whether or not it is informing you or forming you. Real living in the moment requires a constant back and forth of you acting naturally while picking up the feedback only as information to continue growing.  Everyone has core beliefs but most are unaware they exist, thinking that the way they see the world is how it actually is. 

Your world is formed by your beliefs and you can easily prove it to yourself. "There is no such thing as failure". That is a bold statement which many people will rebut with "that's bullshit. I see failure all the time". What is failure? Something not measuring up to someone else's standards. So then why do you care about the other person's standards? Ultimately if you travel down the rabbit hole you arrive at "I care what these people think because I think, I need them, to survive in the world. Therefore I must subject myself to their perspective and judgement." Ironically, "their perspective" is actually your perspective because without you believing it to be true, you wouldn't be chained to "their perspective". You don't believe in yourself and you are the only one that can change that. The exciting thing is it's simply a choice.

Knowing that you choose how you feel and respond to things due to what you believe about yourself changes things. However, having a walkie going off at any time, many times exuding stress, is a very difficult place to learn to be present and step away from your engrained belief system. The "big crisis" I witnessed as we approached the rear of the store was a quick team meeting at the fitting station. The themes seemed to be "people not picking up on their walkies" and "who was going to go take care of the customer who had rung the bell in housewares???" Rung the bell... Seems just like the aristocrats ringing a little bell for the servants to come attending back in the old days. Now it's just a button you press under an inviting sign that says something like "need help? An associate will assist you shortly". The customer hears nothing, feels nothing except maybe impatience that someone hasn't appeared like a genie to help them. For it's part, the button sets off an alert over the walkies, which if not answered in an insanely fast amount of time, triggers the alarm (aka floor manager) to start bitching on the radio. 

Everyone knows this is how revolutions start right? I'm not advocating for violence at all but history has show it's the natural course of events that humanity has taken repeatedly when oppressed. Instead why not have a revolution of thought at the top and effect change, avoiding the inevitable upheaval in the future if the status quo is left unchecked. The "problem" could be pegged entirely on the signals being sent out by the more massive object (corporations, governments, et). In physics, boundary behavior is a a fascinating topic. If two strings of differing mass are joined and a wave is introduced from the more massive end, it will travel through the smaller rope with the same polarity (a small amount of same polarity energy being reflected in the larger rope). Now flip the source to the smaller rope and you see a smaller amplitude same polarity wave pass through the larger rope (a reverse polarity wave being reflected through the smaller rope). *(There is also a change in wavelength respective to each pairing but I'm not interested in that at the moment.) When you are the "little guy" it seems that no matter how hard you try to fight back against the system, it always seems to return the opposite back. This leads to defeatism because the idea that blame lies in the system has truth in it if you choose to be attached to the system. As I said at the top of this paragraph, "the problem could be pegged entirely..." because a change at the rudder effects the course of the entire ship and it's crew but ultimately you still choose what actions you take on the ship.

This whole time I've been advocating for empathy and railing against the sociopathic nature but step with me over to one more physics demonstration. Let's suppose you have a rope (size is irrelevant) attached to a ring that can slide freely up and down a pole. If motion is induced in the free end of the rope, a wave will travel down the rope and be reflected with a similar amplitude, wavelength and polarity as the original. If you take the spiritualist teachings of "unattachment to outcomes" you are severing a direct connection with all the more massive objects around you (otherwise known as your belief systems). The problem lies in each one of us believing heavily in our need for attachment to this world and they way we were raised "it should go". What do you then believe if you have been "programmed" (which is just a fancy way of saying "growing up" without knowledge of your power to choose)? What is truth? The prescription is: be unattached to outcomes and live naturally. But won't you do something evil? I was taught that what I wanted was probably evil so I had to have a reason for everything I did even if it was as simple as cracking a stick on a tree in the woods so I would know if I was about to do something "wrong". 

The answer is simple - when you are unattached to the outcome of your actions you are no longer trying to feed your ego. The ego is based on a core belief that in some way you are lacking and not good enough. Think about the people you have met both with immense ego and those with seemingly no ego at all. Big egos are uncomfortable to be around (if you are still living out of your own ego) because they are smothering. It's like being around a big fire that's eating up all the oxygen in the room. Egos take from others to survive and I would venture : Ego is survival instinct. Unattachment on the other hand allows you to live the actions your "truth" is leading you into, without the need to be sustained externally. If you don't need things from others that they aren't willingly giving, then you don't feel the need and desire to steal because you are still content with you. Taking what isn't yours is really the basis for "evil" in the world. The core belief being "I'm not good enough because - someone says so, for some reason (and I don't want to admit it's actually me because then I would have to take responsibility and I don't know how)  but xyz could make me enough". 

It sounds like I've flipped my script and said we should all be "kind sociopaths" which sounds oxymoronic at best. You can never be completely disconnected from life because, well, you live here with all the rest of us. The rope with the ring that represents unattachment, is still restrained by the environment i.e. the ring i.e. your life, while the pole represents the world system. The pole will move and change throughout time providing some feedback to you and this is how you adjust your actions. You still have empathy but with the level on the feedback loop significantly attenuated because you are receiving distant signals instead of being plugged in directly. People who have been wounded deeply and at an early age generally flip to one side or the other: receive all the signals they can to avoid pain in the future or shut off all the signals and pretend that everything is fine. Your "main frequency" or who you are - the clock signal that runs things, doesn't need much help to keep steady. When a feedback signal is too loud you get a painful oscillation like when a microphone is placed too close to a speaker. 

There are some scientists who believe that schizophrenics are just suffering from their body over producing DMT causing them to essentially be on a constant trip. They are the most hyper-aware people you've ever met - aware to things you didn't even know existed. That isn't to say what they see or hear is actually there, but more that they are interpreting real signals in the only context they know how and that context is based off of internal pain which can morph and warp "reality" severely. The rest of us are no different, we just aren't overwhelmed by stimuli. We choose what we believe and don't even realize it most of the time. It just "feels true". Stop allowing yourself to be miserable by getting distance from feedback sources that you have accepted as true. Be unattached to outcomes and start listening to your heart. Ultimately you'll find that if you change your belief about yourself, other things will change as well. Your "desires" will transform because you don't have to do a lot of what you did before to prove things to yourself by proving it to others. You will be free even to "fail" because you don't view things as failures anymore as long as you learn and grow from them. When you allow yourself to fail in other people's eyes, you are really allowing yourself to succeed because you've pulled up anchor and are learning to handle the helm. Eventually you'll get it headed in the direction that is fitting.

Everyone is responsible for their own lives and happiness but it sure would be nice if some CEOs and politicians would take responsibility and begin making the environment to grow a little friendlier. Right now it's like trying to grow your garden in dusty soil that has been destroyed through over farming. We cannot keep talking about building the economy and providing more jobs as if that is going to make people happy. It's not happiness, it's placation and it's what you do to control people. Whether it's intentional or not only matters if you are waiting for the "system" to take the first step. You choose how you feel every moment so why not choose life and happiness? Maybe eventually you could be a CEO but this time one that has an appropriate amount of empathy, raising the tide that will lift all boats.

Target: I don't know if this will ever reach your ears/eyes but if you really care about your employees you need to stop this idea that they are just robots performing a task while waiting for a different command to come through the system. They are humans and the effect of the communication system in place is palpable. I heard a couple employees make off handed sarcastic comments about what was being said over the walkie because it's the only way to blow off steam. You've created an environment of unhappiness in your store which I plan to avoid. I deal with a similar environment at times in my profession and I can tell you it's not pleasant or conducive to retaining employees unless they feel it's their only option (which is sad because it's only $10/hr or so). If you want to have a posse of unhappy robots running your stores because it drives up profitability in the short term, have at it but just let us known. At least then we can quit pretending that any of these mega stores are better than the other.
A Status Quo Fugitive

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