What’s it like to die?
I was attempting to repair my Mother’s garage door when no one was home. I had just finished my first year as a Master’s student in Biology and had always been a fairly good handyman so I thought this should be no problem. The previous owners had jury-rigged everything, and the garage door spring was no different. As I removed a wooden plate across the spring that shouldn’t have been there, the high-tension spring broke ripping through my thumb and forearm. My thumb was hanging by the strip of skin between the thumb and pointer-finger and I could see at least one bone in my forearm. Bleeding profusely I crawled through a window (the garage door was stuck down), grabbed a rag to apply pressure and called 911. I crawled to the end of the driveway, hoping someone would see me and tried to stay on the phone with 911 as blood was gushing out of me. As time went on (this was a house out in the country) I felt ever more calm and relaxed. I remember thinking “this really isn’t that bad”. As I became more and more tired I finally told the 911 operator apologetically that I had to let her go because I was dying. I set down the phone I let the warm comfort come over me. It was literally the most comfortable feeling I have ever felt in my life. Imagine curling up in a warm blanket on a cold, rainy day with the woman you love, and then multiply that by 100. As I slipped out of consciousness I knew I was dying and at last lost consciousness. As the black came on, everything that was me slipped away. I became nothing and it was the most extraordinary moment of my life. I not only accepted the seemingly inevitable but truly embraced the loss of my identity. Dissolving into nothingness was the most comforting feeling I have ever had.
I was assumed dead by the sheriff who first arrived on the scene and was brought back (no heart rate) en route to the hospital. I vividly remember coming back and I assure you it was the most horrifying experience I have ever had. Not only did the pain of the injury come rushing back, but also every possible emotional tribulation and pain I had felt. It was as though I escaped every emotion and feeling in life and then all of a sudden it was thrust upon me again. I felt as though it was like being a baby again and then having all of the tribulations of growing up thrust upon me instantaneously.
Did I see God, hell no. Did I feel what God probably is? The becoming of one with everything; yes probably. We’re not special, we’re animals and living beings like everything else. I have no doubt that what happens after death is a lot more special than anyone can actually know. I don’t mean that there is a God or anything like that, that is far too simplistic. I don’t believe in God and I don’t necessarily believe in an afterlife but death is certainly not to be feared.
What’s it like to be a UPS driver?
I originally didn’t plan to write this much and I apologize if it’s too long, but here’s a few of the things I wanted to point out in case you’re maybe considering becoming a driver and want to know what to expect beforehand.
It’s very physically demanding. I came from the pre-load where I was unloading around 1,000 boxes an hour and when I started as a driver I thought it would be easier because you only have a few hundreds boxes in comparison. But doing 200+ stops a day where you are constantly bending down, going up and down stairs of the truck, apartments, offices, and carrying up to 70+lbs while you are doing it takes a whole different toll on your body. Many drivers end up with back and knee problems even when doing things the proper way.
Long hours. Our routes are usually made to be 9 1/2 hours but it’s usually a bit more than that, especially during our peak time. Plus you’re usually getting to work an hour early to set up your truck because if you don’t have a good preloader then your truck probably looks like a disaster area. A messed up load can add hours to your day so getting there early (and doing it unpaid on your own time) is almost a must. I get there around 8am and I don’t get off until 7-8pm. Sometimes longer if it’s a heavy day.
Commit times are a big thing because there’s always somewhere you have to be at a certain time. The routes are setup for us, but that is a rough guideline and you almost never deliver your packages in trace. Next day airs have to be off by 10:30. Businesses are closed between 12-1. Pickups start around 4pm. Businesses close around 6pm. Having to go back to an early stop because the customer really needs the package and they weren’t home to sign for it. It isn’t always factored into your route so you are constantly bouncing around and making adjustments to get it done in the quickest way possible.
You’re always being monitored. You have a printout at the end of the day that shows how many stops you had, how long you took to do them and how long your should’ve taken to do them. If you’re not hitting the (sometimes unrealistic) numbers that they want you to then there’s going to be a problem. They know exactly where you are, how many times you opened your bulkhead door, how long you took to find the package, if your seatbelt is on, how fast you were driving, pretty much everything you do. And if they noticed you took an extra 10 minutes at a stop they are going to want to know why. Why were you in the back of your truck so long on this stop? Why were you parked at this stop so long? Why did you use your DIAD while you were driving? You’re really under a lot of pressure to not only get everything done on time, but in a way that makes your bosses happy. And if you’ve ever worked at a UPS before you’ll know that they have some unrealistic expectations of you.
As most people can tell you, working outdoors all year round isn’t much of a picnic. I’ve delivered in everything from blizzards to tornados and it’s not fun. Spring and fall are probably the best times to be out there. In the summer when it’s 100 outside, it’s about 20 degrees hotter in the back of your truck and dehydration is always a concern when you’re moving around in that environment.
Last point I want to touch on, because I’ve written more than I had planned, is pedestrians. Everyone knows “nobody knows how to drive” out there on the road. When you’re out there 10 hours a day your chances of getting in an accident are pretty high. They teach us defensive driving and we have a lot of steps we use to stay safe, but there’s always that human element that could end your job. People running red lights/stop signs, jaywalking, backing out of their driveways not looking, pulling out in front of you on 55mph streets, kids getting out of school running around in the street, dogs off leashes. I could go on an on but the point I’m trying to make is one mistake could cost you your job and maybe a life. You’re making 10,000 small choices a day and you really can’t let your guard down at any point in time.
I just want to say that I’m not trying to make it seem like being a driver is the most difficult job out there or anything. There’s plenty of jobs that are a lot more difficult and get paid far less. I don’t think I am overpayed for my job, because this job basically becomes your life for most of the week. I do think other jobs are severely underpaid and I think that’s why it might look like we’re making more than we deserve.
What’s it like to go crazy?
I went mad once. I even was institutionalized and put under antipsychotics. I was conscious of it, at first, I guess it was because I’m introverted. I noticed my mind was working awkwardly, logical actions started to seem illogical. Thinks like Why am I stuck in this line when I could just walk over that table and get to the door?. Another symptom was that the stress was gone, things that normally worried me wouldn’t cause me anxiety. I felt so light, so good, so confident, full of energy (and I haven’t been sleeping well lately), and colors looked brighter. I’m a pretty shy person, but in that time I could talk to anyone of anything without feeling uncomfortable. I was concerned about this changes, so I told my parents that I believed I was going crazy. They told me that there was no way that I was crazy, because crazy people don’t know they are crazy. They told me that my extraversion was a sign of maturity.
Days passed and the symptoms worsened, I stopped sleeping because I found it unnecessary, and not only I kept questioning normality, but also I started questioning reality. If reality is just stimuli interpreted by my brain, then does objetivity actually exists? what is the difference between a dream and reality if both are dependent on the brain? what if reality is just like a non-lucid dream, what if it just had turned lucid, and now I’m able to control it? Maybe that is what people call awakening, maybe that is what people call enlightening, they got it all wrong!. And I googled it, and people talked about life being a dream, and it reinforced my theory.
And then I became a god.
Reality is a dream, and I’m the dreamer. What is outside the dream? Nothing. What is the sense of life? why did I create this? Why is there suffering in the world? Because I was bored. There is no good or wrong, it is just a game for my enjoyment. A simulation to learn about myself, the only one. I’ve created this setting, I’ve divided myself into different points of view, and I’ve made me forget everything to made it more interesting, to see how much time does it takes me to get the pieces together, and to see how my pieces interact. And then what? Then I start again, thanks to my ability to forget, I can play this forever.. While all this thoughts assaulted me I would continue with my rutine, I was quite distracted as you can imagine. Some friends thought I was high (I don’t do drugs).
From time to time, reality would feel real again, I would feel small, with no control over it. I would feel confident, because I knew the truth, I knew that nothing mattered. But then I remember a dream could become a nightmare, and a new concern assaulted me. My own fear could manifest as something bad, and I become scared of being scared. I would feel like I was in a horror movie, pretty much like the dark side of Silent Hill. I would feel a presence, and I would feel alone and helpless. And then I would swich back to the “normal” or god state.
Finally, four days after I told my family that I was crazy, they believed me, but I didn’t belive I was crazy anymore. They found out something was wrong because I skipped a class and went for a walk instead of taking the bus. And then I kind of explained them that nothing wrong could have happened because I controlled everything. We went to a clinic, I wasn’t scared, I thought it would be funny that I would win because I was right and everyone were ignorants. I would just play the game. I received like three different diagnoses, I think they were wrong because they were assuming a cronic condition when there was one occurence. I mean, one of the diagnoses was bipolar and I didn’t even had the second pole.
The meds didn’t make me stop believing life was a dream, but I stopped feeling powerfull. I only learnt to tell the doctors what they wanted to hear. Then my family noticed I was getting bad (no because of madness, but because of medication, they were overdosing me and I had a lot of secondary effects). They seeked for a different opinion and I got another diagnosis: psychotic break due to sleep deprivation(as I mentioned earlier I was sleeping badly, the week before everything happened I spent the nights online and sleept only 2 or 3 hours and then nothing at all). I went home, got some pills to sleep, I slowly dropped the anti-psychotic dose, and I never had another problem again.
It was hard to stop believing the things that made me feel awesome, but I had to do it. I’ve become a bit obsessive about not skipping sleep time, and I still have nightmares from time to time, sometimes I have lucid dreams and I freak out, because I fear I’m not dreaming and it is me going crazy. But appart from that I’m fine. The doctor said that if I didn’t had another episode within two years of dropping the meds then it wasn’t chronic (schizophrenia is chronic), it had been 4 years and I’m sane 🙂
The experiences of becoming insane is different for everyone, because every madness is different. But I think they all have in common getting obsessed on one single idea that redefines everything.
If exercise is so good for us, why do we not feel motivated before we commit to doing it?
You ever wonder what Willy-Coyote would do the day after he catches Road Runner?
He has spent decades, his whole existence, building elaborate traps and now the reason for doing it is gone. You think he might build traps (or design them) for old times sake?
That is you. We won the evolution game. For our whole existence food was scarce, physical exertion was common and burned precious calories (and was to be avoided wherever possible). Our evolutionary success came from using our brains to figure out how to be lazy and build a pipeline to a river instead of carrying buckets of water back and forth all day.
And now, we have caught and eaten the road runner. We can eat anything we want whenever we want. We can spend days laying on the couch watching tv. We are masters of our world…
And so we do… But it turns out it isn’t good for us. We weren’t supposed to win we were supposed to always keep struggling for the unattainable.
What was Osama bin Laden motives for the 9/11 attacks?
Islamic terrorists (specifically, Al Qaeda, which carried out the 9/11 attacks) were not aiming to “cripple” the United States. They didn’t attack us because they hate our freedoms or want to change the way we conduct our own business. This is a fantastically amero-centric view and is plainly incorrect.
If you want to know why the United States was attacked, Osama Bin Laden was a fairly prolific writer, and has happily stated his goals, both before and after the attack.
Technically, Osama bin laden himself stated 9/11 was to wake up the american people, commit an act so harsh towards actual Americans that they would ask “why me?” and research the situation. Eventually finding out that they had been attacked because of their countries foreign policy in the middle east. Removing American military bases from Saudi Arabia and cutting off support to regimes like Israel.
This as we know, did not happen. Most Americans didn’t even bother to ask why it happened and just assumed it was all about religion and backed retaliation. Americas presence is bigger than it ever was in the middle east, and Israel still gets funded billions in military aid.
The Terrorists have not won. Their goal wasn’t for you to get patted down in an airport ffs. The goal wasn’t even to “terrorise” you into living in constant fear where the word terrorist comes from. Their goal was to get you to rise up against your own government to make sure this never happened again.
So no, the terrorists lost, the american people lost, the only winner is the actual US government who got more control, both over it’s own people and the people of the middle east.
This whole “The terrorist won” talk every time the government crosses the line cheapens the actual complexity of the situation, and proves that people have no idea what the fuck went on and why in the first place.
For those interested here are some Osama Bin Laden quotes after 9/11. Stating his goals and his reasons.
Again reaffirming that 911 was get the Americans to question its route cause:
“No one except a dumb thief plays with the security of others and then makes himself believe he will be secure. Whereas thinking people, when disaster strikes, make it their priority to look for its causes, in order to prevent it happening again.” – Osama Bin Laden
Osama getting pissed that the majority of Americans are still ignorant about the reasons, stating he is “amazed at you”:
“But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred.” –
Probably the most insightful statement into Osamas psyche, is the reason he became an anti-American terrorist in the first place.
“I say to you, God knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers. But after it became unbearable and we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the American/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind. The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced. I couldn’t forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy. The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn’t include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn’t respond. In those difficult moments many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors. And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children. And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.” – Osama Bin Laden.