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Similar Illusions of Living Under a Capitalist or Socialist Regime


Val enjoys writing prose in rhymes by always leaving a message of a life truism in each piece.

This "...Ism" or That "...ISM -- How about Realism?

This "...Ism" or That "...ISM -- How about Realism?


The title of this post is not to announce some scholarly analysis of that topic, but rather to share the experience of someone who spent decades in both socio-political arrangements -- socialist and capitalist.

Now, with no time to waste on some beating around the bush, let me get to the crux of it.

What I observed in my initial 23 years of living under socialism -- attending school, working, and serving in military there -- and over half century of living under capitalism, is basically same variety of mentalities, with attitudes at both sides ranging from a downright pissed to one of a relative satisfaction.

Contrary to some opinions, socialism is not a classless regime. Those at the top enjoy many luxuries that those at the bottom could never dream about. They may not call it a "higher class" but it doesn't change the facts.

So, in a sense which pertains to this article, I saw something similar back in old days with what I am seeing these days, witnessing extremes of the elite and the multitude of homeless ones -- where prosperity or the lack of it is not necessarily indicative of satisfaction in life.

I've seen poor ones living happier lives than rich ones. If there was no truth in that, those Hollywood celebrities would be ecstatic over their fame and riches -- not so many living miserable lives between each two rehabs.

That's one thing that I found fascinating -- that no financial opportunities or freedoms were a decisive factor in that satisfaction or the lack of it. The mention of opportunities brings us to the first of announced illusions

I see kind of crazy this much used word of the "free world", and let me explain why. Namely, in all those "less developed" countries you'll see just about any profession that's in existence in a "more developed" country.

Which simply means that there would be no doctors, lawyers, teachers, scholars, scientists...all the way down to laborers -- in that socialist regime -- if there was no opportunity there for smart and able individuals to pursue that call.

As a matter of fact, in socialist regime, as I remember it, education was free all the way to a doctorate, along with a free medical care, paid vacations were one month long -- so. like the old saying goes "Devil is not as bad as he may look".

(At this point someone might ask why, then, I moved to the West. I was young, adventurous, wanted a radical change. Do I have regrets about it? At every visit there, I am wondering. By mentality, I will always stay a European -- but I have absolutely no affinity towards socialism, since no "...ism" makes any difference in the way I arrange my life.)

Anyhow, a "sister" of that illusion would be "equal opportunity for everyone". These empty slogans really make me laugh. Because for those who would qualify -- or qualify more for an opportunity, it means nothing, while for those who don't qualify it is not an "equal" opportunity at all.

Like, a shorty "having an equal opportunity to play in NBA with a 6-footer" sounds crazy and unrealistic. And that goes for a village idiot having "equal opportunity" to become a rocket scientist.

Phrases like that give us some sense of justice, so we tend to keep them.

But then we must address that much more important illusion dealing with national happiness and satisfaction.

With that word national we are allowing ourselves to fall in a deep trap of blind patriotism which, by definition, tends to paint everything domestic as the best in the world.

Somehow, it's like those less fortunate are cheering for those rich ones, because those rich ones are apparently defining the prosperity of the "whole" country -- including them, so it gives them a good feeling to be a "part of something great".

There is no label that we can attach to our individual humanness to change it. One can be as happy as a lark, or as miserable as hell -- while being either rich or poor, famous or unknown, white or black, smart or stupid, beautiful or unattractive. Likewise, no "...ism" can be excuse for our not making anything of our life; and no "...ism" ever stopped those who knew what they wanted and didn't sabotage that want. -- Val Karas

If we would take America for an example, of course, we could judge the national prosperity by the number of rich and famous people, happily turning the blind eye to the following statistics:

-- 12.5 million unemployed

-- half million homeless

-- 2.3 million imprisoned, with every 3 seconds somebody being arrested

-- 6 million car accidents

-- 15,500 murders

-- 127,000 rapes

-- one in 5 living with mental illness.

Are all the rest a happy bunch? How many are daily pissed over Trump's "situation", immigration policies, and a host of other crappy details in political circus?

But, for every pissed individual walking on the streets of New York you'll find an equally pissed one in Beijing, Moscow, Tehran...any place on earth.

However, we are so indoctrinated into one or another "...ism" that we stopped seeing the simple human truth how no regime is creating either grouches or meditators. It's what we make of ourselves that matters, and opportunities for that are anywhere on earth available.

We can't pin the responsibility on our governments for something that we are failing to do.-- Val Karas

But that's exactly what we are doing by obsessing over issues of collective significance, while losing focus on things where we have some true control.

Let's play for a moment with a hypothetical scenario in which, by some magic, things with the politics would turn exactly the way we want them. My question: Would that instantly make us a happy and satisfied person?

Sorry, but I doubt it. Nothing would change in our daily emotional repertoire. Ironically, that might even make us pissed, because all of a sudden we would have no one to blame for our "bad luck" -- no one but ourselves.

And we can't afford it.

And that's why I am writing this post in hope to remind anyone sitting on the fence between reality and illusion that no capitalism, no socialism, no any "...ism" makes a damn difference. There are injustices, corruption, with the big buck speaking loudest just about anywhere in the world -- so we are really sounding funny when we criticize this or that "...ism".

So, here I go with some of my rhymed prose as if in an attempt to make the above topic a poetry material.

The Bunch of "...ists" I Call Myself

I call myself a humanIST

but Reps might call me a Dem

oh not me, I'm too much a satirIST

as to join politicians, just any of them.

Being also an individualIST, I don't love all folks

those in prisons, or those who should be there

so I don't believe in unconditional altruistic hoax

about all people deserving love as the fair share.

I certainly am a pacifIST, down to my very core

for violence is bestial, not worth human race

and there's nothing that I would love more

than see this world as a peaceful place.

In a modest way I'm a human potential activIST

propagating self-started personal evolving

so don't expect to ever see me pissed

or trust in political problem solving.

A relativIST am I in a philosophical sense

no absolutes wherever human nature reigns

my belief in conscious power is simply immense

with all of the reality simply cooked in human brains.

Closest to my mind is a stoicIST

consciously choosing my mental state

and I think that would be the end of this list

which points at my heart being void of any hate.

America Wonderful -- But Not the Greatest

America is great in so many ways

not the greatest, as we may all know

even though deserving an honest praise

it's not even strongest as history would show.

War in Vietnam lasted a way too long

as to justify that ambitious reputation

and there are countries just as strong

but it's okay to glorify your own nation.

Well, it is also good to see it from aside

those impartial observers may see more

for we can't judge something by our pride

which is excluding our true national score.

For every American the best place to live

but statistics aren't favoring patriotic hearts

luxuries that the richest managed to achieve

don't say anything about those struggling parts.

I could be stubbornly claiming to be very smart

and even see myself handsome as Brad Pitt

but to you I'm no more than just an old fart

too self-deceiving, and too blind to admit.

So let us all keep alive our cherished dreams

not asking other people how true they may be

reality is often so much different than it seems

but who says reality is what we choose to see.

Life in a Boring Shangri-La

Imagine if Earth's frequency suddenly increased

and by the law of resonance ours went up too

so that all the negativities suddenly ceased

turning world in Shangri-La out of blue.

Wouldn't it become boring with no issues and strife

what would we do with no screwing up and fixing

wouldn't that change turn into an unbearable life

without violence and stupidity so nicely mixing.

Thinking about it now I came with little list

of what we would be forced to settle for

much good crap that would be missed

never, ever to be enjoyed anymore.

I got on my list music and arts of different kinds

with playfulness, sports, and frivolous dancing

also love, and sex, and challenges for minds

with lots of humor and personal advancing.

But, while all that may sound so attractive and good

how could we ever survive without feeling crappy

something big would be missing in that mood

for who wants to feel forever just happy.

So why do we keep complaining if Shangri-La is not for us

what do we really want if even perfect wouldn't be good

maybe we simply want to bitch, oppose, and fuss

for with no problems we would feel screwed.

© 2021 Val Karas


Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 10, 2021:

Interesting and people come from many parts of this world and decide to start over in a new country. One can be happy anywhere in this world. To me it doesn't matter who is government.

Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 08, 2021:

Rose -- What you say is one of my points in this article. That camel runner in Sahara caravan may sit at sunset and look at the golden horizon exploding in colors -- and love his desert. And an Eskimo looking at his icy, glittering world around may feel the fulness of his life with nothing missing.

On the other hand, a billionaire may go nuts over having lost a few millions. Everything is so relative in life, and all illusions start when we play with absolutes, prone to generalizing.

Thank you, my friend for reading my article, and for your short but deep comment.

schoolgirlforreal on March 08, 2021:

Andrew's. Like you, paul.author of Roman's in bible said he could b happy anywhere

Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 08, 2021:

Leland -- You are obviously basing your opinions on reading -- I am basing mine on experience. My experience may have produced wrong impressions, but they are mine, and I said it at the very beginning that it was "not to be some scholarly analysis, but my shared experience".

Of course, I have absolutely nothing against your thinking differently, that's your right; and also I have no intention to discuss this matter, simply because your thoughts could not change my experience based on my own observations.

Leland Johnson from Midland MI on March 08, 2021:

Read the gulag archipelago and tell me if you still think that way.

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