Everything society tells you to do is a con

You could call it brainwashing

How could my friends with children not tell me how horrible this was going to be?

I pondered this question the other day, as I cradled my screaming baby boy at 5 am in the morning. I don’t say 5 am like I just got out of bed and he woke me up early. I say this because I felt like I had been on an all-night bender without any bend.

They told you though, you say to me in your head. They said it was going to be hard.

Hard yes.

Punctuated by screams of torture no. Full of literal shit, not a sausage. An eighteen-year contract of indentured servitude: not so much.

What they often said was “It’s worth it in the end”. This phrase may be true, but it’s a con. I’m not saying on a par with a Nigerian prince offering you a third of his inheritance. But certainly up there with war is exciting and I’m going to make America great again.

I did kinda get to the bottom of why my friends didn’t tell me this. As I recount our experience to one particular friend, he said “Yea! The memory of that all night rocking of her cradle just came back to me!”

So basically they mentally blocked it all out.

I know the purpose of kids; we all know the purpose. We’d all die out without them. They are for the good of society. But they are going to hate you when you refuse to buy them an X-Box. And they are most definitely not going to look after you when you smell of old people.

Experiencing this one example reminded me of the many actions society demands from us. Actions that are frankly for society’s benefit rather than ours.

Let’s hit up two: working for money and buying a house.

There's a belief the right advice to someone trying to figure out what to do is to say “do what you love”.

It’s frankly terrible advice. The idea that we are all going to get to do what we love is completely fraudulent. Some of us will get to do what we love. Many others will come to love what they do. But most won’t. No one flipping a burger or greeting you as you enter their store really loves what they do.

Maybe here, the con is not that they gave you dreams. Rather it is the distribution of advice they wish they had taken themselves.

What these advice givers have missed, is that if they had received that advice at a more formative time, they would have very likely wished that they had not taken it.

Moving on to property, I’m not going to give you some easy line that you do not need to buy a house.

Your parents tell you you gotta buy, and your friends have all already made a killing on it. And so the cheer leaders are out in force, but you look at your bank balance and your payslip and the prices and you think freaking hell what am I supposed to do?

The pressure is ridiculous. There are in reality two rules to the timing of your first property purchase and they are simple. Number one is can you afford it. This rule is necessary and sufficient. Number two is where you are in life. If you spend all your nights partying, there is no pressure to load up on expenses. If you are in a family way, then the pressure is rice cooker real.

To rephrase it in an academic sense, your family and friends tell you to buy property for exogenous reasons. House prices are going up. More people will have sex with you as a home owner. Your brother in law made a ton of money exploiting his neighbors via his buy to let portfolio.

In contrast to this, the only legitimate reasons to buy your first property are endogenous. They relate to you and your family and nobody else.

What is going on here with all these titbits of memory loss and mis-explanation?

Society doesn’t trust you to make the best choice for society. It thinks you might be crazy enough to make the best choice for yourself.

And there’s the rub, who’s crazier, you or them?