Sunday, May 6, 2007

ADA: Cavemen Want Your Bling

Alternate Dimension Andy (ADA):

Back when human beings really were cavemen -- that is, when human beings literally lived in caves -- competition was pretty stiff. Among males, we wanted all the women, all to ourselves. Among females, we wanted the best man possible to look after us and our babies. We all wanted the tastiest cut of meat, the best hunting grounds, the best atlatl, etc.. Back when we were cavemen, we would maim and kill one another for such privileges.

Nowadays, we're cavemen who are stuck in a modern world. We still have all the caveman urges: "I must kill;" "I must eat;" "I must care for my baby;" "I must fuck;" "I must look after my family/ tribe;" "I must appease the gods." But now, we're educated, we have a society that urges us to control ourselves.

But we're still cavemen.

Among us are some cavemen who would do anything to make themselves the strongest; in today's world, these cavemen measure their strength by wealth. They're not the wealthiest, but they're willing to do anything to get there. They're willing to predate on their own species to get to the top. (FUN TIP: Once they're at the top, they'll do anything to maintain it, so it's a never-ending struggle.)

Those people, ADA, are why everyone needs to give a shit about money. Some are predatory lenders who will trick you into a mortgage you can't afford. Some are huckster salesmen who convince the elderly to put your retirement savings into an investment that doesn't really exist. Some own mining companies, and are willing to risk the lives of people with families (their own employees) in order to make a few extra bucks. Some aren't even willfully malicious; they just create great products that you spend your money on instead of, you know, saving for retirement.

How do we protect ourselves from these people? There are two well-known ways:
  1. Never trust anyone who wants your money.
  2. Know the ins and outs of finance.
Among people who opt to protect themselves, most choose the first method. I think it's the wrong one. When protecting yourself from the cavemen, paranoia will only get you so far. A grocery store wants your money; are you going to stop buying groceries? Do you want to live in L.A. without a car? Do you want to put your retirement money in a coffee can and hide it under your bed? Do you want to rent a home forever (and if so, how do you know that that's less of a scam than buying a home?) ADA, you're going to be faced with financial choices everyday. Don't kid yourself about inaction being the safest course.

You have to accept that greed is part of human nature; I'm not saying you're a necessarily greedy person, but I am saying that there will always be greedy people who wouldn't think twice about preying upon you. The best way to protect yourself isn't by hiding from them; it's by being good enough with a club that they'll know better than to come after you.

You're an actor, so I imagine you understand at least the basics of what I'm saying here: human beings have an inherent nature. Some elements of that nature are good: we love one another, we care for our young, we share, we mourn the dead; and some elements are evil: we lie, cheat, steal, murder, rape and torture. I am of the opinion, ADA, that if you want to live life, you have to accept these facts of human nature, and you have to be prepared to deal with them.

Watch out for cavemen, bro.

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