There’s a website called reddit.com. It’s a wonderful place, full of people sharing ideas. You create an account, subscribe to the different “subreddits” that meet your tastes, and can submit links which can get upvoted if people like them or downvoted if they don’t. Reddit uses a point system called “karma” which you acquire from each positive upvote you get. So if you post a link and get 2 upvotes and 1 downvote, you have one point of “link karma.” You can also get karma for comments which works on the same principles, or you can make a self post which gets no karma but can be upvoted for visibility. It’s this point system that makes reddit interesting, because when you upvote something, and it gains in popularity, it moves closer to the top of the page of that subreddit or comment thread. So the popular content is very visible and the downvoted comments get buried. Thus concludes your introduction to reddit.com, with the warning that you should never go there, it will ruin your life. You will wither away in your computer chair and become a snarky clicking beast.
There’s something for everyone, and even some REALLY dark corners that I won’t go into. Suffice it to say, I have seent some thangs.
But if you really want to get a taste of the state of the world, take a stroll on over to /r/advice. There people ask for advice on what they consider “problems.” Every once in a while you get a doozey, a life altering, humbling plead for advice from someone who is in the worst possible way. Those threads are hard. But the majority of it is the most inane requests for advice I would laugh at a 10 year old for asking. Although there’s no age requirement to sign up for reddit, so they very well may be 10 year olds. This would explain the grammatical errors. But then there are the myriad of requests regarding what a person should do, the implication being that there is a moral dillema.
Take this post. The OP (original poster) is complaining that his parents, who are paying his tuition, room and board, insurance, and providing him with a car to go to college are not allowing him to go to Japan to study abroad. He even states that when his brother was his age (19) he was living on his own in Boston (never mind that he likely had a job and provided for himself.) Now, to me this is simple. The guy’s family has invested in him considerably, and his options are 1. piss it away and follow my heart, or 2. honor my parents wishes, since they are providing for my entire way of life, and do as they think is right.
Me personally, I struck out at 18 and lived my life how I wanted. I fumbled and ended up back with my parents for a year or so, but ultimately understood that under their house I abided by their rules, even though I was a grown man of 20, I knew that I had made some decisions that had landed me in need of support and that in return for that support, I was beholden to my parents. In the end the OP of course decided to follow his heart, as evidently love of ones self is the only virtue of the modern day.
Or take this nice fellow, who is contemplating leaving his pregnant wife. He says he’ll miss her family. The most upvoted response of the redditors? “As for your marriage, if you are not happy, you owe it to yourself and her to end it.” Absolutely zero respect for the sanctity of marriage. Tell me something, if marriage is no more than a relationship that you may step in and out of, how is it different from the bed of a whore? And nevermind the child, it’s of no consequence. The lack of personal responsibility on reddit, approved by its users is astounding. Honestly I feel it’s a good representation of the attitude of society in general. I see this type of attitude in my coworkers and friends and sometimes even my family. Reddit is great for this sort of soul crushing re-education on the way you thought the world worked. It’s no secret that reddit is well traveled by self worshipping liberals. But it is also home to a great many people with sense. And their silence is almost as staggering as the thunderous applause of the former.
Willpower is a brilliant invention, handed to us by God, and abused by humanity for millenia. Our very first choice we made poorly, proving the folly of our judgement. Since then we’ve been batting a thousand. But I would like everyone reading this to know what my father told me. “You can literally accomplish anything, if only you have the will to do so.” Now, there is implicit meaning in that. That is, you must be willing to do everything it takes to accomplish those goals. It wasn’t frilly “you are a beautiful snowflake and the world is your oyster” nonsense. He didn’t promise any entitlements or easy roads ahead, but rather tabula rosa. A clean slate. One that I was free to build an empire on, or… perhaps a humble 2 bedroom house in a small town in Arkansas. Perhaps you have to know my father to understand the implication.
In short, if you want to lose weight, will power.
If you want to stop smoking, will power.
If you want to get a job, will power.
If you want to save your marriage, God almighty and will power.
In fact, the answer to nearly ever single one of the questions on reddit advice is either “will power” or “be responsible.” I should say, those are the correct answers. The ones often given are “follow your heart” and “you owe yourself.” How does one become so indebted to themselves that they must persue a lifetime of repaying that debt?
We live in a nation and a world without regard for others, and with only a love for individualism. And ironically, we court socialism and call it compassion at every turn. Responsibility is a bad word. When you tell someone they could help themselves, you are called insensitive. You are called unloving. It truly is a strange place we have come to live in. And if you want to know a little more about it you can just head on over to reddit.com.