The above descriptions provide an opportunity to examine the reality (or lack thereof) in our world today. All three descriptions say substantially the same things. What has changed is the selection of wording and the value judgments placed with each version.
An unfortunate reality of our world is that exploits have been found in human perception, and advertisers take advantage of these opportunities every day. If we were computers, virus and spyware scanners would be available to locate the vulnerabilities and close them off. But we aren't machines, and so we're succeptible to:
- Believing that purchasing items will define our identity.
- Behaving as if owning things will make us happy, and that the bigger and more expensive those things are, the happier we'll be.
- Keeping ourselves enslaved to work with our own debt through new desires and upscaled tastes as wages increase.
- Reacting more to emotional pleas than rational arguments.
- Thinking that this fractally wrong system is the way things are supposed to be, or that it can be fixed with some minor tweaks.
I don't believe any of the above, although I nevertheless find myself victim to these follies from time to time. Despite the third description of me being the one most suitable for landing another job, it's not real: it presents me as a 2-dimensional caricature whose sole purpose in life is to develop software (or maybe make money, using software development as a means). Yet in this crazy world, it's become expected we'll present ourselves this way.2
Unfortunately, most people are so busy trying to live within the system that defines their life that they don't consider whether or not this way of life makes any sense. And therein lies a crux of the problem: Our current way of life has become so complex, that most of us spend most of our time either (a) trying to get by in it, or (b) recuperating from living within it. Our lives, our behavior make no sense when examined, but we're so busy doing the behavior we don't have time to realize this. And as things spiral even more out of balance, we're left with even less time, even less energy to study what's wrong or to do anything about it.
I'm not sure how we revise the system we're in. But I am sure that we're not happy with it—and rates of anti-depressant use agree with me. The thing about depression is that it most often afflicts while there appears to be no resolution to a situation. Find an opportunity, a way out, and depression disappears. My conclusion, then, is that many others feel this same pressure too—even if they are too distracted to acknowledge or understand it.
What I am certain of, though, is that it can't go on this way indefinitely: we'd all be better off dead, than living lives of duldrums and toil. Whether it's a change in our lives to counter the insanity of the American way of life, or picking up arms and slaughtering the people who are the problem, something needs to give.