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There's Gotta Be Something More

Too often we find ourselves wishing for more. More out of life. More money to spend. More time to relax. More opportunities to succeed. More to define our lives. But we forget that we are in charge. We forget that we are responsible.

It is all too easy to surrender our responsibilities to the Leviathan of fallible omniscience, the mystic proxy by which all of the unknown might pass to transform into sound and popular solutions. We consult systems and we expect justice from them. Of course, nothing of the sort can exist, as justice is delivered neither here nor by any Creator but by our neighbors: those who live among us. They know no more about the universal purpose of life than the ideologue, academic, or politician knows about you. They are only guessing. All of us seem to be searching for an answer. All of us want to find purpose, reason, and justice -- and we will, at whatever cost, cling to our hopes while we pummel individual and contrarian thought to apprehend it within our respective worlds.

Much like the rallying cries behind workers' rights, feminism, socialism, the right to healthcare, and the right to some arbitrary standard of living, those who grow exasperated by their plight are oftentimes the victims of their own doubts and of their own obstacles to achievement. It is true that the United States of America is anything but a land of freedom and equality; however, any notion which purports to secure both through a system of coercion will unequivocally fail to achieve any significant measure of either.

Let us remember that equality is an unattainable state. No person, and thus no set of persons, can be even remotely identical. Equality is the political manifestation of envy. Any tears shed in hopes for equality, in any scope wider than that of the law, are tears of selfishness. Let it be known that no person in the history of the world, with the necessary faculties to survive, has ever walked this planet with the intention of serving others absent or instead of his own self-interest. The values change, of course. But the impulse is always and necessarily self-interest.

Let's return to the topic of man and woman in their natural state of existence, struggling to define and cope with life. Throughout history, cunning figureheads have regularly exploited the masses by telling them precisely what they want to hear. This is evident today to the very extent that it has always existed. The forms change, but the sentiment and the forces are always identical. People would much prefer to hide in solitude than to discover the source of it. Similarly, they'd much rather accept their own convenient conceptualizations than challenge them with the myriad available expositions of ideas, history, or science.

In this way, people reconcile their respective statuses in life. They find that they are indeed superior to others, whether in species, intelligence, career field, or social class. They accept that they are entitled to all of that which has been made so accessible to them over their lifetimes. How often do you stop to contemplate how electricity was generated to operate your fan to keep your room cold? Or how the gas arrived at the local Speedway for your convenience? Or how clean water was able to pour consistently from your faucet? The ease with which we are able to access these resources and services are due not to anyone's natural entitlement to them, but rather to the intelligent design and productive labor which have produced them.

Today, we find these motifs in literature, art, documentaries, and music. Their gripping appeal is doubtless a major inspiration for people, but it also adds to the inertia behind the illusion we accept as reality. Much like the popular song by Sugarland, there's gotta be something more. There's gotta be more than this. I need a little less hard time. I need a little more bliss... I could work my life away, buy why? I got things to do before I die... There's gotta be something more.

The human condition is such that each of us strives to find ease, fulfillment and purpose in his or her toil. We too often forget our predecessors who provided our current standards of living -- upon whose struggle and sacrifice our relative luxuries were made possible. Lyrics resonate with us because they make us feel euphoric, nostalgic, and sentimental. They inspire us. They offer us purpose and, as the song echoes, bliss. They are a convincing mask for the great, yet largely forgotten reality of this world, which is this: nothing in this world -- no sporting event, no Caribbean vacation, not even a weekend getaway or a relaxing evening -- is afforded by anything less than real work, savings, and production. Someone's sacrifice somewhere will always enable the time you spend focusing on your life's greater purpose. Remember, if not the product of your own labor, it must naturally come at the expense of someone else and something else. No one is entitled to anything which is not given to him or her willingly or voluntarily, or by the product of his or her own labor. Unfortunately, today's counterculture -- if the diluted overwhelming majority can be defined that way -- has rendered modern civilization a society of takers at the expense of its vilified producers. Oddly enough, we now live in a world in which some people are born with rights while others are born with responsibilities. We are a born into a world which embraces free stuff at the expense of freedom. And the United States is now, more than ever, the land of the fee and the home of the slave.

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