Oh, The Stupidity!

Hi David,

I wanted to speak to you about stupidity. In particular - stupid people. But, when I say stupid people, I don't necessarily mean people with a low IQ. You know, they can't help what nature gave them. I mean people who chose to be stupid. They are the worst kind, and please stay as far away from them as possible. Always!

You see, my son, when a human being is devoid from the ability to think and make decisions freely, that human being is degraded to its basic instincts, to the animal we all are...

You'll come across a lot of stupid people in your life. These people have a distinctive need to flock together, to express their herd mentality, as alone - it would be as if they never existed.

Well, my son, you'll identify stupid people by the fact that they never want to speak about the "heavy topics" (religion, politics, and all derivatives), for the obvious reason that they don't have a way to defend their opinions, you know, when they are alone. But don't let them gang up on you, as they'll become a pack of rabid wolves, with the strongest opinions! It makes you wonder where the opinions come from, doesn't it? Bear with me...

Those are the same people that will tell you that are not interested in politics (Aristotle is rolling in his grave whenever this is uttered, but don't mention his name in Macedonia, as he was an Ancient Greek, so it's a bit of a taboo - unless you mention that he was Alexander The Great's teacher, then it would be OK, I guess.) But, let me get back to my point. These same people who are not interested in politics, can be seen after every election with blackened fingers (another archaic method used in Macedonian elections for marking people that have cast their vote). So again, it is a bit of a strange correlation, isn't it?

The same group of people who are not interested in anything, when flocked together with their peers, they become experts in everything. Unfortunately, my son, you'll find these people in great numbers, no matter where you go. So, please be careful...

Stupid people are prone to being manipulated, instructed and seduced, as well as swallowing conspiracy theories like candy. They will follow just about anyone who will make an emotional argument about any odd topic, but mostly topics that touch the nerves connected directly to the basic instincts and needs (food, shelter, safety, sex) and that someone out there, who most likely is your enemy, will try to take away or endanger one of them either by acting or just being themselves. Organized religion does this, political parties do this, and every other organization that needs more pawns in its ranks will certainly do this.

Never get too close to stupid people and don't even try to "save" any of them. They won't listen to reason, they don't have a sense of humor and sarcasm, forget sarcasm, they'll just assume that you're in total agreement with them and go about their day.

Have your own opinions about all topics, my son, as is natural. Think very carefully about every topic presented, before you come away with a conclusion. Don't let anyone serve you a "per-packaged opinion" ready to use for any odd agenda. Think for yourself, and don't be afraid to present your thoughts... to anyone! 

Love,
Dad

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Never Lose Your Voice

Hi David,

I held you in my arms today and for a second I started dreaming how we will climb all the mountains I had climbed before, and go to the ones I never had a chance to visit. Then I remembered, we might not be here. I told you many times before, the land Macedonia is fucking amazing, but the country is a place where you're not allowed to be an individual. What I say now might seem foolish to you, from your perspective, so I'll try to explain it a bit better.

I was telling you before how governments kept interchanging in Macedonia for decades, but the style of rule never did. The only thing that really changed was the fact that the single party system was changed for a dual party system. That is it.

Now, the funny part is that, as you know already, all governments in the world tend to make you as less of an individual as possible, and more of a statistic, you know, another dot on a computer screen that they can count. The difference is, that rulers here never really cared much about hiding that fact.

You can't have a voice in Macedonia, as there's no one to hear it. You can't have an opinion, as obedience is the best, no, the only way to go forward in life. You can't show that you are different in any way if you are to be accepted in society. Macedonians love their status quo more than life itself! It has been so for centuries. So, you can't really blame any ruler for taking advantage of this irrefutable truth.

What's even worse, in the odd occasion when someone voices an opinion, he's automatically dismissed. His words are credited to the opposite party, as if the only way to speak is if someone gives you a script! Here it's believed that everything said must come from the mouth of a political leader. No one is capable of thinking for himself - that is what they'll try to tell you. Don't believe them.

You are a citizen, my son. Modern society guarantees you choice, freedom to express your opinions, and the possibility to voice your discontent with any government, for whatever reason - even if you helped elect that government in the first place.

You were born free, so don't let anyone silence you. Ever.

Love,
Dad

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No Matter How Good It Gets!

Hi David,

Tonight you scared the living shit out of me. I'm sure that you'll do it many times in your life and it'll probably be a lot scarier than this one. But, at this point, it was something that stopped my heart for a few seconds...

That's why I decided to write you another letter, late at night, and again, maybe someday, you'll find some wisdom in it. Maybe.

You probably remember one of my previous letters, in which I told you how my childhood was stolen in Macedonia. I was telling you how bad things can get, and now I want to say a few words about the good times.

After I found myself at "point zero" (which in all fairness was probably way down on the negative scale, but let's be optimistic for once and call it that), I stopped, took a look at my life and decided to move forward - by any means necessary. So I did. I started working hard, and a lot of the work was done for peanuts or sometimes even less, but it wouldn't divert me from the one goal I had in mind. I got stuck in front of a computer screen, working on literally anything I could get my hands on.

As time went by, I managed to get better and better assignments, but it was far from ideal. I had to work very long days, at times 20 hours per day, just to make some headway, and have a chance for a normal life. And you know what? I did. With my own two hands I managed to build somethings. I wouldn't go into any further details here, but I was satisfied.

Now this is very important, my son. Even when you think you are on top of the world, you need to stop, take a look at yourself and re-evaluate your life, your goals and see if you are really going where you want to go. Not everything is as it seems, and thinking I could skip this step - life bit me in the ass.

I allowed myself to be betrayed by people that I considered friends. I didn't even see it coming. And you can't even imagine the disappointment that comes with being stabbed in the back by people you've trusted, but who obviously didn't deserve that trust. You're not actually mad at them, but rather yourself. And you can't get any madder than when you're upset with YOU! Please don't ever let it happen to you, my son! Or if it does, at least be prepared to deal with it a bit better than I did.

Remember - no matter how good or bad it gets, don't let anything go to your head - not failure and certainly not success.

Till my next letter, love,
Dad

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How My Childhood Was Stolen

Hi David,

It's me again. I've decided to write you one more letter. Just a few more words, one more story, which might teach you something new... I personally learned that the only thing in this world that can't be destroyed is an Internet archive, so here you go!

You might remember from the first letter - I told you how beautiful the land of Macedonia was. It still is, but this time I wanted to tell you a story of how this land stole my childhood and my youth. Never let that happen to you, my son.

I was born in a different time, and a different country all together. It was towards the end of Socialist Yugoslavia, so luckily it was not enough for me to feel all the "freedoms" given to an ordinary nobody. I can't tell you how it felt to wait in queues to buy bread and milk, or to search for these basic products through dozens of stores so you can feed your children... You'll need to ask your grandparents that! 

Then, we gained independence. Macedonia was born as it's own country, for the first time. Really, nothing changed. Well, it did. Now, there was everything to be bought, but no money to buy it with. Bare in mind, this was the time that was suppose to be the happiest in my life - I was suppose to grow up without a worry in sight. I was to have everything and play and go to school and live life, you know, as every kid should. I can't tell you how many nights I couldn't fall asleep worried that my parents wouldn't be able to provide enough to buy me books. No kid should ever experience this! 

If you take a look at any stupid teenage movie, you'll know that "the teens" are a time to find yourself. High school, making friends, going to parties... oh, how beautiful life is. Or, it should have been. Unfortunately, our country had one more change installed for us. Nothing really changed in how the country was governed. The second communist period got exchanged for a third one, but this time with a Nationalist tone. You could imagine how this led to a war, can't you?

I can't tell you how bad it felt to be a couple of kilometers from were all the bombs fell and the fighting was rampant. Again, I was a teenager worried if everyone I knew and loved would make it home alive, or if the entire country will be enveloped in the flames of war.

We survived and the second communist rule was back. At least there will be peace - they said. You should know that the Macedonian people will go to great lengths for "at least [fill in gap]." The Macedonian people have been terrified of getting something worse than before, for as long as history has recorded, so they are always willing to wallow in their own filth, much rather than try and accomplish something, get somewhere. How else would you explain 5 centuries of Ottoman rule? At least there was... fuck it, you got me there mate, I have no idea what could have been worse?!

The second coming of the second communist rulers was marked by their fear of making a mistake, so they didn't do anything. Nothing at all. We were in the same place for years, with no effort to go forward. So, it was no surprise that they got changed again - for a reincarnation of the third Communists, but with a twist. And many people saw a ray of hope in them, a new form of energy. Oh, how everyone was wrong!

Communism doesn't simply leave a country. It might change it's name, it will change it colors, it will definitely change all spots and stripes, but never it's methods.

And while Communism wouldn't leave, my childhood certainty did. I was now an adult, with no happy memories, no perspective and no hope for the future. I though I had my voice, at least, but that was a lie as well. And I'll tell you some more about it in one of my next letters to you, my son. Until then...

Love,
Dad

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