Monday, August 5, 2013

How to Lose a Free Society in Record Time

The Powerball Jackpot has swelled to $400 million dollars this week after no one claimed winning numbers last week. (Source) Of course that means more people will be buying tickets and hoping for a just plain ridiculously large payout.

What does this say about our society?

On the one hand, I'd like to say that it means people have a certain amount of hope. They get excited about a big prize and there's nothing wrong with that. At least on the surface. (As someone who's much more likely to enter a giveaway for a $50+ giftcard than for a $10 one, I understand this concept first hand.)

There is one major difference between a giftcard giveaway and $400 million jackpot. And it both is and isn't the amount.

You see, a $50--heck even a $100 or $200 gift card won't replace my day job. Awesome prize, especially for bookish people? Of course! But if I win that gift card, I won't quite my job, buy cars for my family members and go on a Hollywood-style spending spree. Winning that gift card won't--all by itself--bankrupt me.

Now let's look at lottery winners. The vast majority of big lottery winners are completely penniless within 5 years. Even those that aren't consider winning the money a curse. Why do you suppose that is?

We could list lots of reasons about spending habits, bad lifestyle choices, etc., but at the core it really has more to do with work ethic

When we have to work for what we have, our resources become precious and we try to live life to it's fullest because our time is so precious. When we have a ridiculous sum of money to spend, things matter less. We stray into a lifestyle that allows us to experience things outside the norm; outside our previous experiences, and in terms of how productive these experiences are, let's just say, generally not at all.

Human beings are meant to work for their bread. They're meant to be "anxiously engaged in a good cause" as the great Joseph Smith, Jr. put it. Just like with millionaire playboys and many other trust fund babies, when this need to work goes away, lifetime production often goes down the tube. If not taught early in life, sometimes it's never learned. Working hard is what makes people decent.

That's not to say that everyone should be doing backbreaking manual labor all day. Not at all. Academic work is still work. Doctors and lawyers make more money than most of us because they busted their butts through 10-15 years of school, which is much more than most of us. Those of us who are writers sit behind computers all day, but that doesn't mean we don't work our tails off for every sale we get.

This doesn't even apply exclusively to monetary work. If you want to have a good relationship with your spouse or children or friends, you have to work at that relationship every single day. This is the way of the universe.

So, what's my point?

In our relationship, we are--whether directly or indirectly--discouraging hard work as a means of achievement. We live in a society that stresses immediate gratification and that, more and more, makes it easy for people to lay around, do nothing, and rely on others--both the government and the taxpayer--to pay their bills and help them eat. 

It's great that we live in a world where technology can keep most people from starving, but if we refuse to get off our derrieres and work for our livings, we exchange a hard day's work for idle boredom; a good, honest living for mediocre (albeit free) living conditions; and a wonderful, vibrant life for 'just getting by.'

When that happens across the board, any large entity, whether government or otherwise, that comes along and offers free, cheap, and easy will be able to control us. 

Hello, dystopian society! Let's try to remedy this eventuality, shall we?

Persistence of Vision, Book 1 of my dystopian series is on sale on Amazon right now. Don't get me wrong, it's not a mega sale--no $0.99 or anything--but my publisher is a bit anal about not doing sales, and the print edition is cheaper than it's been since its January release. 35% off the publisher's list price, and 25% cheaper than B&N. So, now is an excellent time to check it out if you haven't yet. Don't know how long this price will last, but chances are it will go back up next week.
Check it out HERE.
Just sayin.' Happy Dystopian reading!

In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories.

After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives.

In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way.

If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...
Do YOU think our society needs a swift kick in the pants?


  1. Excellent points, Liesel! People don't just expect something for nothing, they demand it.

  2. Liesel I don't get it, but the lines are huge in my grocery store.

  3. When I buy lottery tickets (which is rarely)I almost feel like it's worth a dollar or two to pay for the fantasy... "If I had all that money I would do... and... and go to..." It's crazy how people burn through their winnings though, but it does happen time and time again (same with pro-athletes). For the record, I would buy my dad a nice car, go back to pretending I'm Jack Kerouac for a few months and then open a restaurant and bank the rest. Now I want a powerball ticket so I can day dream all day because you can't win if you don't play ;) To many many many people that amount of money is so irrational that they don't even know what they have. It sucks in general that the options many people have are "welfare" or "wage slavery"