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Liberty's Bane

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Interbane

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Liberty's Bane

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In our society(the US), we as individuals have more liberty, more of the time, in more circumstances, than other societies. Recently, I've invited a childhood friend of mine to move in with me down in Florida so he could start a new life. I've been exposed to my friends bad side, which is that he is lazy, irresponsible, selfish, and thinks that it is not his fault.What he envisions as the 'bottom line of living' in America is a house, electricity, water, cable television, and heat. He is given so much freedom that, I believe, a switch has been triggered in his head that makes him believe that all life consists of are his own personal wants. The definition of necessity is greatly skewed, where he sees the necessities of life as I mentioned above. He has failed to pay rent numerous times, and is always late on paying the bills.Is this type of attitude just a variant of human behavior, or is it a byproduct of a conventional 'free' way of life? His behavior baffles me, he is late for work all the time, gripes about doing favors for me(which I would do for him in a heartbeat), and does nothing but play video games. If he were ever forced to live on the street, his parents would rescue him and he start all over doing the same stuff back in his home town.Procrastination, laziness, and irresponsibility rule his life. I've had others tell me the same thing, so I'm reluctant to think that my judgment is my own fault. How do you deal with a person like this?Or, a better question, is this type of person more common in a country with great liberties?
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Loricat
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Re: Liberty's Bane

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A really good question...In my opinion, yes. It's not just the liberty, it's the consumer comfort. I won't generalize about generations, 'cause I've seen it in many of them, but the story of the Grasshopper and the Ants is alive and kicking -- the attitude of "the world owes me a living" is the result of the social safety net we live under. In other countries, those with hordes of people living under real poverty, you don't see people with expensive habits (in Canada, where a pack of cigarettes are $7+, it annoys me when someone is panhandling with a smoke hanging out of their mouths), you see them scrounging, coming up with creative ways to survive. My friend who pretty much lives hand-to-mouth sees no connection between her once-a-month panic that the rent won't be paid and the cell phone stuck to her ear and the beer in the fridge (this is Canada -- a 6-pack is $8~$10 with tax). She, and everyone else, has an assumption that the things we have grown accustomed to are not luxuries but rights. This could easily degenerate into a rant about: "Why are we in Canada and the USA consuming such a gross amount of the world's limited resources as if it were our right?"Interbane, about your roommate...Let me tell you Lori's Rule No. 2 in life: "Never live with friends. Live with people who could be friends." There is WAY too much unknown baggage and assumptions of history between you and a friend to be able to cohabitate with the kind of open communication needed. Of course, as with all advice, the only way to learn it is by paying your own way in the 'university of life' -- I learned it the hard way, and it looks like you're doing the same thing. [actually, the best piece of advice I ever got from someone was (after numerous letters back and forth with this 'older & wiser' guy I was interested in, his being full of advice): "but don't take my advice. Make up your own mind." Argh!]Lori "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."
Ken Hemingway

Re: Liberty's Bane

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Interbane, your description of your friend reminds me of a passage that struck me greatly in The Road Less Traveled:Most people who come to see a psychiatrist are suffering from what is called either a neurosis or a character disorder. Put most simply, these two conditions are disorders of responsibility, and as such they are opposite styles of relating to the world and its problems. The neurotic assumes too much responsibility; the person with a character disorder not enough. When neurotics are in conflict with the world they automatically assume that they are at fault. When those with character disorders are in conflict with the world they automatically assume the world is at fault........ Even the speech patterns of neurotics and those with character disorders are different. The speech of the neurotic is notable for such expressions as "I ought to," "I should," and "I shouldn't" indicating the individual's sefl-image as an inferior man or woman, always falling short of the mark, always making the wrong choices. The speech of a person with a character disorder, howeever, relies heavily on "I can't," "I couldn't," "I have to," and "I had to," demonstrating a self-image of a being who has no power of choice, whose behvior is completely directed by external forces totally beyond his or her control. As might be imagined, neurotics, compared with character-disordered people, are easy to work withh in psychotherapy because they assume responsibility for their difficulties and therefore see themselves as having problems. Those with character disorders are much more difficult, if not impossible, to work with because they don't see themselves as the source of their problems; they see the world rather than themselves as being in need of change and therefore fail to recognize the necessity for self-examination.
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Mr. P

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Re: Liberty's Bane

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You know...it is people like you Ken that make my life so difficult! Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Loricat
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Re: Liberty's Bane

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Ken -- interesting & illuminating distinction. (Which do you think Mr. P is?? )Lori "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."
marti1900

Re: Liberty's Bane

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We had the Age of Aquarius, and now I consider these times the Age of Entitlement.And in the game of Neurotics vs. Personality Disorders, I believe the Personality Disorders are winning.How did we get from the old Puritan Work Ethic to the Age of Entitlement? Economics. Every generation wants more for it's progeny than they themselves had. So each generation was fortunate to be able to do that, to the point we are now. So now we have so many folks feeling entitled to all the comforts of home without all the work required to acquire and maintain those comforts.My advice? Kick the bum out. You wanna dance? Ya gotta pay the band.Marti in Mexico
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Mr. P

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Re: Liberty's Bane

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I agree with this. Many parents GIVE to thier kids. I try to make my kids EARN what they get...my wife is more of a giver! I want what I want, but I work to get it. I have worked since I was 14...lived on my own at 17.Parents feel so obligated to give their kids everything and that ruins it for the next generation.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Loricat
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Re: Liberty's Bane

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for me, this ties into the debate (at least here in Canada) about vending machines & junk food in schools. Reporters go to schools and ask the kids what they're eating -- and are discovering that most of them are buying french fries and jelly beans, or whatever. The parents are up in arms: "Take the junk food out of schools!" Fine, I agree...but parents [this is parents who are complaining, not parents on BookTalk ], where are your teens and pre-teens getting the money? Are you giving it to them, hoping they'll make healthy lunch choices because you're too lazy/unorganized to make them interesting, healthy lunches? Or, if they are working, why haven't you instilled in them an understanding of what a healthy meal is like? Are you making them lunches and despairing because they don't eat them? What do they do with them -- throw 'em out? Where's the responsibility in that? Can you teach them that throwing out food is not fair to the world populations that don't have our share of resources, nor fair to the planet, nor to the parental wallets? Lori(ranting at 7 a.m.) "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."
Ken Hemingway

Re: Liberty's Bane

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P wrote: You know...it is people like you Ken that make my life so difficult!I'm sorry, P. I really, really am! It seems like everything I try to do I just screw up again in the end!
marti1900

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Lori, responsible parents everywhere are asking "What happened to the healthy, balanced, nutritional lunch that I sent with you to school today?" The response to which is I threw it out I gave it away I forgot it on the bus."Can you teach them that throwing out food is not fair to the world populations that don't have our share of resources, nor fair to the planet, nor to the parental wallets?"Oh, Lori, please tell me you are not rewording the standard eternal parental command to eat everything on your plate because think of the starving kids in _______(fill in the blank with appropriate currently in the news poor country.) My mother used Africa to shame me, and I used Biafra to shame my kids, and now they use Rwanda, I think, to shame their own kids. Golly, what did the cavemothers do? Probably used the starving children in the next cave. But you are certainly right. The availability of junk food for purchase in the school cafeterias and vending machines has thrown all those healthy, balanced and nutritional lunches right out the window.Marti in Mexico
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