Meh.

I don’t know why I’m posting this. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking since I started streaming. I loved it to death and I can’t wait for it to be Tuesday again, but it seems that things are different now.

I don’t know how to say it, but I kinda lost the flame. I realized it a couple of months ago, yet I haven’t dared to admit it until I started my channel. Daytrading just doesn’t do what it used to do for me anymore. It’s like I just don’t see a point anymore. I make money, I lose money, who gives a shit. I’ve already made and lost so much. This isn’t how life is meant to be spent.

Is there anyone else who is getting kind of like me? Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. When I was a kid, it seemed there was just so much I wanted to accomplish in life, yet it seems the only thing I’ve managed to do so far in my life was getting money. Yay, money. It’s better than being broke for sure, but I wish I had done more. But then again, what is there to do, exactly?

Working bores me. Staying in an office typing on a computer so some asshole somewhere can have a few more thousands in his bank account is of surprisingly little interest to me. I’m not saying all work sucks, I’m saying the field I chose (finance) is garbage. I wish they had told me before I started, but quite frankly, finance is the only thing I’ve really liked in life apart from writing.

Everyone I’ve worked with in finance was either crooked to the soul, ready to plant a dozen knives in your back for a 2% annual bonus, or a complete idiot who went into this field because it was easy money with little effort. On the second point, these people were right: truth be told, as long as you can open Excel, you can work in finance. My own boss did not know how “sumif” in Excel worked. I’m not even joking: he had failed to grasp the very basis of logic, apparently. When I offered to explain it to him in five minutes, he of course refused. Who I am, me, a simple peon, to teach the grand master earning $200,000 per year? Hey, if he wasn’t an amazing worker, why would he be earning so much?

I’m not saying financial companies are useless, but I’m saying a good 90% of the work done there serves no purposes whatsoever. It’s just a complete waste of time. I could simply not do it and turn blank pages, or pages filled with random characters, and no one would notice. Of all the reports I’ve redacted at work, I would gamble at least 99% ended up directly in the trash without even the first page getting read. And don’t tell me they weren’t good: I did exactly as I was asked and I actually receive very positive feedback on my work. The thing is, the very vast majority of what we did at work was done was completely of no use whatsoever. I’ve worked on models that were far better than what the company used and could have improved profitability by a factor of ten in some fields only to see them relegated in the recycling bin by the end of the day. The company simply didn’t care. Didn’t even look at it. Even before I was asked to do it, I am convinced the company had already decided not to use it. I might as well had spent the time masturbating.

Overall, it’s all about finding people something to do. That’s how I would view work in finance, or any office setting, really: a kindergarten for adults. Keeps the adults busy, give some sense of importance to their lives. When you start digging through what you do, however, you realize it’s all a bunch of crap. You enter the same data in the same models on the same page to obtain the same results. You spend thirty minutes reading a memo that doesn’t say anything – vapid writing, as I call it. You spend two hours typing an e-mail to have the impression that you were productive. You have a three-hour meeting to have the impression that the business is growing and you’re supposed to be happy about that. You spend a day working on statistics to do a presentation where people will politely pretend they are listening to you. You spend a week revising a model that you already know won’t ever be used. You spend a month brainstorming a new project that will die somewhere in the meanders of a bureaucratic hell and that only exists as a way to justify the absurd sums the company bills to its clients.

You are a line in an accounting sheet, somewhere.

I thought I would be happier on my own, as a trader, but truth be told, trading is starting to irritate me. I’m just trading my lifetime for money, nothing else, and there’s really no point. What am I going to use money for anyway? There’s nothing I want to buy, now or ever. I don’t want an iPad. I don’t want a new car like my mom tells me I should, I don’t want a bigger house, I don’t want to go on a fucking cruise, I don’t want to buy a bigger TV or trendier clothes or expensive wine or a fucking yacht, I don’t want to go to places where beers cost $12 and I don’t want to eat at restaurants that charge $200 per person. I very frankly do not care any of that stuff. It’s artificial, fake, bland and completely useless to me. At what point do you stop and think to yourself, “This is enough. I’ve devoted enough time of my life to accumulate pieces of paper” anyway? But there’s always something more, something better you can get; if you have a $1,000 bottle of wine, then you don’t have the $2,000 one. If you have a $5,000,000 house, you don’t have the $10,000,000 manor and so on. It never ends.

If only you knew how meaningless money is. Of course, without it, you’d die, or at least suffer tremendously, but past a certain point, it starts losing sense quickly. The only way to give some semblant of sense to money is in fact to play the game of always wanting more. If you stop having this mentality, then you start thinking, “Man, I’m an idiot for being so absorbed by a bunch of pieces of paper.” If you take a moment and stop to consider the ridiculousness of the situation, you go crazy. “I have more money than this guy, I must be better than him!” What an utter bunch of crap.

I look at the world today and, quite frankly, I get depressed. I look at the world and what’s going on in it and I just fail to see a point. Unless you are one of the few lucky chosen, you’ll never amount to nothing. The entire world is rigged against you and designed to make you fail. You’ll be a pawn, a slave, a mouse caught in the labyrinth for the rest of your life. The more you struggle to get out, the more you get caught up in it.

I was watching a report on World War 2 today about gas chambers and how it worked. Not how the gas chambers worked specifically, but how they got people to step into them. Pretending it was a shower, a disinfectant and all that crap. That’s an interesting problematic, after all, and it got me to think how I would act if I lived during that time period. Would I fight back, join the resistance or something? I hope so. The anchor of the show went on to say that with such a large number of prisoners, keeping the population under control was of critical importance; the last thing they wanted was an uprising or a revolt. Truth be told, the Jews had many opportunities to escape had they wanted to. Three or four rebels can easily overpower a nazi guard, even armed. Barring that, the work tools they had could probably chop down a wall of the barrack, even perhaps cut the barbed wire around the camp. Even basic weapon such as bows and arrows could have been crafted by ingenious prisoners. In some camps, it did actually happen, but in the vast majority, people stood in line, awaiting to get shot.

That was one of the scenes from Schindler’s List that affected me the most:

Look at 1:14. All those people, the people whose names were on the wrong list, waiting in line to get shot. No one bats an eye or offers any form of resistance. No one offers them any help in any way. No Nazi thinks, “This is wrong. We have to stop this.” No, they just fucking watch and don’t do anything. This simple metaphor describes 95% of the population on this planet. People would line up and wait to die if someone asked them, as long as this person looked threatening enough, and the rest would just observe in silence.

The documentary ended with some kind of revolt and prisoners trying to escape as Nazis shot them in the back. I wish the story had a romantic ending, but most of the prisoners were recaptured or died after stepping on a mine or being shot. When this documentary  ended, I thought to myself, “Wow, I am sure glad things changed.” Then, I was painfully reminded nothing changed. There’s a nazi-style extermination going on every couple of years, apparently, and no one bats an eye about it. It will probably keep going until the end of times. And that’s just the stuff we hear about, really. Read the accounts of North Korea defectors, for instance. Again, no one gives a damn.

But even if we ignore large-scale genocides, the rest isn’t much prettier neither. Take the most banal of situations. A few days ago, I was talking with a girl who was born in an above-average family. Not very rich, but not even remotely poor either: think, two doctor parents. Deciding she wasn’t worth the trouble, they dumped her into some kind of private boarding school at age 11. They’d see her at Christmas and two weeks during the summer, if that. In a way, her life was better spent there than with abusive parents for sure, but truly, no one asked for what she wanted. To her parents, she was nothing but another liability that they had to pay for, just to be able to say, “Yes, we have a daughter” at one of their stupid galas.

She went on the explain the totalitarian regime the “school” had. I’m not talking about your average school policies here, I’m talking about being locked in your room at all times except to eat, go to class or study at the library. Having to wake up as early as they decided, stand in line right where they decided you would be in that line, not being allowed to play games or, you know, having anything close to a normal childhood. Ridiculous power-tripping supervisors and teachers filling the uselessness of their existence by getting revenge on children. They must feel so good being able to prove their superiority to children. You know, screaming at them, threatening to lock them in isolation or actually locking them in isolation whenever they wanted for whatever or no reason, cutting whatever “privilege” there might be (because everything is a “privilege” there, including taking a shower or even having access to their medication) and all that bunch of garbage.

She has several horrible memories of a childhood spent under the totalitarian regime of potentates ready to do everything to deprive them of a normal childhood. No movies, no video games, no going out to explore, no slumber party, no boys (all-girls school), no going to the mall, none of that average stuff most children do in their youth. An empty existence filled by the constant fear to get reprimanded, suspended, yelled at, locked up or whatever it is that was going on there. A life where every minute is dictated exactly like nazis dictated who would get gassed and when.

One signature on a contract and poof, the daughter was gone. No one gives a shit about that. In fact, a large segment of the population would even go outside and protest to defend that exact kind of behavior. After all, when compared to what some others have gone through, what happened to that young woman looks like heaven. Some kids go through much, much worse, don’t they? No one cares about them neither. And why would they anyway? People have enough of their own lives and their own trouble to care about, for the most part. The number of people who genuinely give a damn about others is very small indeed. Not like there is much that can be done anyway. More on that later.

I starting thinking about boarding schools and the Nazis. I really wonder if the difference is that large. Oh, they don’t murder or torture people (the boarding school), but the Nazis did not do that at first neither. One would say the situation “escalated.” After a few moments of reflexion, I became utterly convinced that, under the right circumstances (or rather, the wrong circumstances), these people would end up exactly like the Nazis. It’s easy to blame the German for what happened, but put your country through 15 years of extreme financial hardship, starvation and extreme misery, and see what happens. See if, suddenly, a new political party rises, blaming some random group for everything you’ve suffered through. See what happens then.

It takes surprisingly very little to drive a population from the relative perceived calm into a totalitarian fascist regime. I was fascinated by Milgram’s experiment as a kid and how obedient people are, even to the most extreme requests. My own take on it? Those people electrocuting others were happy to do it. The only reason they did not do it in their normal, regular lives was the fear of punishment – the fear of getting caught, the fear of being judged and actually suffering negative consequences for their actions. But with a scientist giving the order? At last, they had someone to blame, an excuse to do what they always wanted to do: torture and abuse their co-citizens.

This, in my opinion, is the true core of human nature, summed up perfectly. People have desperately grown to hate each other with a fiery passion, yet will do everything to avoid admitting it.

When you think about all that, how can you possibly have any kind of faith in the human race and, overall, in the future? Knowing that everything we are and everything we believe in could disappear pretty much overnight, or that the same people you spend your every day life with would kill you if they had the chance, probably with a big smile on their face and a wave of comfort sweeping their heart? At my last workplace, I had a supervisor who actually acted the nicest I’ve ever someone act in my life and yet, I could feel something was off with him. One day, he called me to his office at 1PM. I arrived at 12:45PM, wanting to make sure I would be on time. He spent the following fifteen minutes screaming some of the worst atrocities I ever heard coming out of the mouth of anybody, followed by insanely hardcore threats of beatings, slappings, punches, breaking teeth and pretty much every form of physical abuse you can imagine. “Just wait until I get home, you’ll wish you’d never been born.” And when he called me in? “Oh, I was just talking with my son.” Fucker didn’t even deny it.

I left my job in finance because I knew that if I stayed, there was a chance I would end up like that. That’s what being in charge does to you. We all pretend we won’t be like that once we get there, that we won’t let power affect us, but it’s almost always bullshit. We don’t know how we will react to a situation until we get to that point. I only met one person who could resist the evil magnificence of power, and then again, I’m not even sure how long his resistance would have lasted.

I used to think I was one of those person would could have “power” and not let it get to his head. In fact, I used to be absolutely certain about that: I am smart, dedicated, I have a strong sense of empathy (I think that much is obvious) and I am a dedicated person. Today, I am not so sure and, quite honestly, I am scared of what I could become if I kept working that kind of job. After a few years, I would get a promotion, I would buy a better car, a better wife and a better house, and then what? Chances are, ten years from now, I would be the one in my office sending death threats to my kids.

No thanks.

I used to believe in something. I used to believe I was working towards a goal, something I can achieve one day, but I just realize I’m caught in the same shit I’ve always been in and that there is no escape. A few months ago, I started to wish I had done something useful with my life, maybe some cancer research or going to some far away country to help people there. But recently, I’ve started to understand there is no point. All those people who travel overseas to devote their lives to help treat victims of the war or cure people from terrible illnesses – why? What’s the point? A few more souls to wander on this wretched world for a few more years, if that? Even if you save someone today, what’s the point? The rule of this land is: “exploit or get exploited.” There is no justice, there is no fairness in this world: you fuck people over, or you get fucked. Chances are overwhelmingly positive that the people they save will either end up abusing others, or suffer more abuse themselves, so why bother at all.

I went to play poker with an old friend of mine about a week ago and I asked him how people managed to live with all the shit that’s going on around them. You know, the fact 28% of kids are physically abused and that somewhere between 20-28% are sexually abused and that we pretty much don’t give a shit about that – and that’s only the cases we know of, I bet a lot is brushed under a carpet. Hey, you can ignore the genocides in other countries if you want, but how can you live your life knowing that pretty much a third of all adults  around you are child abusers (or complicit to child abuser)?

My friend replied very simply: “People don’t want to know.”

What a clear-cut, simple answer. Here I was, looking for a complex, recondite answer, when the truth was right in front of me: people don’t want to know. It would drive them crazy. Thus, they refuse to listen to the pleas of those around them. They just close their eyes: it’s more than not wanting to know, it’s actively taking steps to not know. In the extract of Schindler’s List above, isn’t the lady’s first reaction, upon seeing the slaughter unfolding in front of her eyes, to turn away and ignore what’s going on? The cowardly little ones. If I could sum it up in one word, it would be this one: cowardice. Blissful, happy but totally willful and pined ignorance at all and any cost.

My best friend, who is in biology, said that every environment could support a maximum number of members of a given species. In other words, if there were too many lions in a certain zones, they would end eat up eating other animals faster than those animals could reproduce and they would then starve to death. He then went on to say that pretty much the same thing happened with humans. After all, the only reason we can feed everyone today is thanks to science. If we were to live purely from what we could gather from nature, it is clear not even 20% of the population could survive. No, it is thanks to greenhouses, selective breeding, crop rotation, breeding grounds, heavy machinery, GMO, robots and so on that we can feed everyone (and then again, not really everyone, but rather, everyone in the zones that we care about).

This, in my opinion, is what led our world to what it is today. When humans are packed too close to each other, their evil nature shows up. Humanity was probably at its best when it was small: small villages, small towns and et cetera. Humanity grew too fast, too quickly for what Earth and nature could provide. When you study history, you start to realize our hand was forced by our very inner nature. When population lived in isolated tribes, they were at their best. Then, contact between nations began and leaders quickly realized that the bigger their population was, the stronger their army would be. It was the beginning of the age of conquest and now, we are stuck with the consequences of it. Everything that happens today is directly caused by our innate desire to dominate and oppress others.

I’ve been asked if I was depressed. Not really. My answer, a couple of years ago, would have been that, in life, you can either lie to yourself or be depressed. A tough choice to make. I used to think it was quite an arduous task to be happy once you start thinking about all the shit that’s going on in this world right now. Today, my answer is different. It doesn’t really depress me like it used to. For the first time in my life, I really feel I am where I wanted to be. I am who I want to be, I do what I want to do and I act the way I want to act. I’ve given up on trying to make sense of what people do and I’ve given up trying to help people. You know, when I was younger, I used to be like that, thinking I would devote my life to helping others and making the world better and yada yada. I’ve abandoned that. It’s a waste of time and it leads nowhere. You can’t help anyone and it’s a futile way to try to give your life a sense. I live for myself and those around me that I like. I enjoy every day and I refuse to let others dictate my way, no matter the consequences. When you see our society that way, it is honestly not that bad. In fact, I quite like it. There is so much to like in this world when you take the time to appreciate it.

I believe most men and women are born good. I also believe that, at a point or another of their lives, they invariably become evil. It is impossible to maintain your innocence and good nature in this world. In life, you have a choice to make: either you abuse others, or you get abused. Both options lead to evil, although both at difference paces and in different manners. I’ve chosen to step out of the game.

So, what am I going to do? I think I will keep being a dreamer. It doesn’t pay well, but at least I feel alive.

F.S. Comeau

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