The Divisions of Capital

Yesterday, an article in the Wall Street Journal featured a conversation about investment strategies surrounding bitcoin. This digital currency has gained popularity and “market value” over recent years, but this form of money is just as much of an abstraction as its material form. To exchange this currency is, in one way or another, to participate in a fantasy.

The social construct of currency has been one of the primary drivers of creating some of the worse forms of hierarchy in society. Money itself as an idea has no negative connotation to it; it is the social constructions that accompany it that creates versions of systems that manipulate group differences in the search for Capital. The two systems of social construction include Race and Class.

To say that race is a social construct is one thing, but to specify that one of the main benefits of its creation was the accumulation of wealth in America is another. This search for “constructed” Capital began during the 17th century, with the formation of chattel slavery. The New York Times 1619 project documents this history quite well in an excerpt, “Slavery was undeniably a font of phenomenal wealth. By the eve of the Civil War, the Mississippi Valley was home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States. Cotton grown and picked by enslaved workers was the nation’s most valuable export. The combined value of enslaved people exceeded that of all the railroads and factories in the nation,” (Desmond, 2019). What has to be said, was that the use of this brutality came with the creation of a “colored” race. With this accumulation of Capital, came the construction of a racial caste system in the form of slavery and eventually Jim Crow. What slavery created in American is essentially America itself. The endless supply of both land and labor turned the adolescent nation into a super nation of riches.

Interestingly, the social construction of race has the ability to mold itself to whatever majority group it more closely resembles. This is apparent in the divide during the slave era of “light skin” slaves and “dark skinned” slaves. The light skinned slaves were usually reserved for labor in the house and were sometimes treated better than the darker skin slaves spending hours in the fields. This manipulation of color showed that the colorization of those in the outgroup had mixed with their labor search for capital. Obviously, the start of slavery was at its heart a deeply racist agenda, but as the slave owners saw the lighter hue in certain slaves at the auction block, the assumptions were that those were better than the darker skinned ones. This further manipulation of the racial construct continued to lead to disparity, even within the own outgroup as skin color has been a tool of color separation in the black community for decades.

The accumulation of this wealth in one particular ingroup eventually lead to the next social hierarchy system, Class. This structure began during the slave era but reinforced his hierarchal dominance during the Reconstruction era. This led to the formation of major industries, the first monopolies and the eventual creation of the world’s first billionaire (John Rockefeller). The search for constructed Capital has created long withstanding income inequality between the middle/working/impoverished classes and the wealthy 1%. Class conflict has continuously been waged against those less fortunate by the owing class, and the search for more and more hoarding of currency leads to many being disempowered. This disempowerment comes from many being seen as lazy or incompetent if those in the lower classes are not at least in the middle class, and you always want to strive to be wealthy in America, so this disempowerment comes from most in society as well. The poor themselves may be so used to seeing this type of manipulation so they begin to see themselves as unworthy. The formation of this capital enterprise created strict divisions related to both race and economic class, and at the same time, the increased production of this capital would not have been possible without these divisions.

Escaping The Loop

There seems to be no end in sight.

Time itself is even irrelevant now, at least from a subjective experience. During the coronavirus crisis, the far-reaching rise in civil unrest, and an almost dystopian future for America, our experience of the concept of Time has changed. Possibly forever.

 Aristotle was possibly the first and foremost philosopher to define the idea of Time. “Our perception of change and its movement is pivotal to reconciling with the nature of Time.” One can think of it as a flowing and ebbing river that bends based on one’s experience. “The perception of change” is an important note there. This perception ends and begins at fundamental human consciousness. Consciousness is the essence that allows us to experience the present, look back at the past, and prepare for the future. 

For centuries scientists, philosophers, and psychologists have tried to construct a definition that fits with how we experience real Time. My knowledge lies primarily with neuroscience and psychology; both areas tend to use physiological aspects of the brain to measure our perception of Time. For this discussion of its radical change, I will use mostly neurological and psychological studies to make my case. The case is this, most of humanity has seen the two aspects of Time (subjective internal and objective external) as separate spectrums. I argue that collectively, humans are now experiencing the subjective and objective sense of Time simultaneously because of emotional and traumatic factors outside of our control. This is why the days feel short, while concurrently, you check your phone, and its 5 pm.

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist who has studied memory, cognition, and the perception of Time for over a decade. His experiments focused on how individuals perceive Time when under stressful events. In an investigation you couldn’t pay me to be in, he had his subjects bungee jump from a bridge and counted the number of seconds they were falling. On average, the subjects counted 8 seconds when, in reality, their fall was 3 seconds.

His team concluded that we experience Time as a function of information entering the brain. It is experienced based on the neural representation of what we experience. Whatever mental & biological resources the brain uses to represent that information, somehow, is bound to our idea of Time. “Feeling like everything is happening in slow motion just before an accident? Your brain is in a hyper-perceptive sort of a state. Information is probably dense, and many mental resources are being used to hold it,” David says.

So, using that same logic, let’s add in paranoia, information-saturation, a social uprising, and a 100 year pandemic to the mix of stressful events. Imagine how much mental depletion is being done by trying to hold in the severe, traumatic, and even trivial information we take every day from our phones and tv?

 Another major factor centers around boredom. The concept of being genuinely bored has been researched quite a bit. Although, we never imagined an event that would force entire countries into their homes simultaneously for months on end, eh? John Watt, a psychologist, wrote a study in 1991 examining boredom and its effects on Time perception. The study claimed that when participating in more boring tasks and routines, Time will pass more slowly. Vice versa, for less tedious tasks, Time will “speed up.” 

 From my perspective, our sense of Time is shaken, and I would hypothesize that a majority of people feel Time slipping away each day. We have conditioned ourselves to believe our homes are where we detach our minds from our work; the mixing of these conditioned responses are in an inrush due to this historical era of being in our homes most of the time. This is why Monday seems to ooze into Thursday, while 11 am quickly becomes 7 pm.

My intent is not to scare anyone with this next theoretical, but some scientists feel since this period of time has a multitude of emotional moments, we may create in ourselves false memories of what we experienced during this time. “Our memories are likely already being contaminated by the false information that circulates online, or family members with a propensity for confabulation,” Dr. Julia Shaw says. “By the time we get to next year, it might be very difficult for us to establish what we actually did, or saw, or felt during this period.”

But, many of us are trying to survive the NOW. By recognizing what influences your perception of Time, you can regain some control over how you will remember this period of your life. “If you want to parse the flow of your memory into meaningful pieces again, one of the most important things to avoid is routine. Look for new experiences and ideas, ideally ones that are emotional and require effort,” says Dr. Shaw.

This idea of novelty is undoubtedly in many aspects of memory, and Time perception research, and it seems to provide some sense of self and more acute awareness of the passage of Time. In other words…do something out of your comfort zone!! To escape the loop of your mind, you have to figure out which end the knot starts at. 

Escaping The Loop

Quarantine Fatigue: A Saga

The hours of the days have melded together in rather upsetting ways. It’s either Monday or Friday, you struggle to gather your senses, idle in your bed. “Great, another day of inactivity, with a hint of introversion. Rise, brush, rinse, scroll, type, open, chop, whisk, digest, gulp, scan, emotional response, disgust, scroll, emotional response, type, change, sweat, scroll, listen, sigh, rinse, lay. Zoom conference at 5 with the girls?”

The mind can feel fogged at a time like this, the slew of trivial information can be frankly foreboding. It is either Sunday or Thursday, not sure yet. The phone could be wrong you know? So today is the day I will be productive. It’s already 3 pm… But that doesn’t matter it is time to work, feel secure, make capital, keep the family safe, put food on the table, and all that! Never let a good disaster go to waste they said! Who said that, was it, Bill Clinton?

It’s either Saturday or Wednesday, I’ll know once I go online.

Another day another dollar. Remember to get creative guys! Start a Youtube channel, a podcast, a TikTok, a journal, create a Pinterest, take moody pics in your room, read, create a workout plan, cook, contact your local representatives to air your grievances.

You are 96.999% sure it is Sunday. Or least it feels like a Sunday. You’ve got some unexpected news. A package has arrived at the doorstep. With it, a visitor. Another warm-blooded, able-bodied, oxygen breathing, 2 legged, 2 arms creature that looks similar to the creatures on you see on the news. The mask covered up his mouth and oddly enough only half of his nose. She peeped her head out.

“Yes?”

“Package for you Miss.”

“Thanks just leave it there”

She was sure he hadn’t sanitized his hands. Her eyes were on him as he lay the package down gently, waved his goodbye, and drove out of her driveway. The next challenge is presented. First, she needed gloves.

Second, hand sanitizer.

Third, Lysol.

It was at this moment, Evelyn Rivera realized she was certainly a hero. She was not only protecting herself but the entire community of the ravaging disruption of social norms known colloquially as “the amazon package.” The gloves she had found were simple gardening gloves, a brilliant yellow with sunflowers scattered about it. These were sprayed with an abundance of Lysol, with a preemptive hand sanitizer washdown.

The package was sprayed next, she made sure to do it outside before moving it. She hoisted the package up (with glove and mask on of course) and made sure to place it on the pre-disinfectant wiped counter. She grabbed a knife and cut open the package, revealing her 4-pack Lysol wipes, an exercise cord with 15-pound resistance, toilet paper, and a week late mother’s day card. This is great, she thought, now I’ll be good for at least another two weeks. The gloves were off now. She grabbed the wipes and took out the late delivered card while realizing she has to send her mother a ‘sorry’ text. At this moment Evelyn gasped at the thought of what she had done.

She hadn’t washed her hands.

Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master

Christian Lange

The Method behind the Madness

To everyone viewing this page, Thank you. I started this podcast last year after graduation, I felt uneasy about starting my life right after college and felt I needed a creative outlet to express myself. Since then this has grown to a sizable podcast of around a modest hundred listeners each episode. As I begin to start my clinical psychology doctoral degree I want to continue to make this podcast larger and make topics like neuroscience, politics, social psychology and pop-culture more accessible to the public. 

Check out more information by either looking up my name or Don’t Worry, We’ll Talk It Out on Spotify, Apple podcasts, or any music/podcast site!