My issue with homelessness

Living in New York City as the case of any major city throughout the world one of the many daily occurrences you encounter is that of homelessness. As I walk into the subway and sit down I expect some person claiming to be homeless and needing some help. I actually see the same person sometimes multiple times a week asking for money. I used to be pretty generous and give money to the homeless(especially if they had a visible handicap) but then one day I asked myself a question about why were there so many people who were homeless and what policy can be put into place to really address the problem.

First and foremost homelessness, particularly in NYC, gets over exaggerated. About less the one percent of New Yorkers are homeless. And to further break the number down most homeless people suffer from either substances abuse or mental illness which inhibits them from carrying out basic life necessities such holding a steady job or maintaining basic hygiene. If you want to alleviate homelessness more mental health hospitals and fewer shelters would prove much more effective. Now can we go around and put every homeless person who we suspect to be crazy and rush them to a mental institution no( at least not exactly) It would best be done through a system where a homeless person breaks a law such as public urination or vagrancy and having a psychiatrist do an evaluation to see if that person is susceptible to go into society and of course getting the person to consent to be institutionalized (unless the person is deemed a danger to himself or others and such consent wouldn’t be needed).

And second, the idea that I am going to give every homeless person who asks me for money throughout my day my hard earn cash to encourage them further to beg doesn’t help anybody. It came to me one day that many homeless people actually are already receiving government assistance through disability and SSI checks that they beg because they know they can get over on people. A typical New York City subway train contains ten cars. So if you were homeless and ambitious enough to beg for money on every subway car and get at least two people to give you a dollar you can earn twenty dollars per train. You hit five trains in a day you can make up to a hundred dollars a day just begging for money(untaxed mind you). So homelessness for some can be pretty lucrative.

If you don’t buy my point look at how the Japanese deal with their homeless issues. Which can best be explained by watching this video–oCVP18A. I myself had gotten a chance to visit Tokyo a few years back and was struck by how different homelessness was over there than it is here. First, no homeless person can ever be seen begging, Second I didn’t encounter any homeless person that reeked of foul odor as is the case In NYC(whole subway carts will be emptied just because passengers can’t take the smell of some the homeless person in it.). Third most homeless people live in these makeshift communities in the Tokyo subway systems.

I do believe that we should help people who are down on their luck for their sake and ours but I just think we’re going the wrong way about it. And that by having an honest and more open dialogue we’ll really help these down trodden individuals.

My thoughts before my birthday

Getting older can be seen as a dreadful experience. When we are young we feel as if things will get better as time passes but then comes that truth for most of us around our mid-twenties that this is not the case. Things only get worse, your body slowly deteriorates, you notice you are not quite as energetic as you once were. I can remember getting up in the morning and going to the park and playing basketball for the entire day. Now such thought I fine to be dreadful. I’m about to turn 28. Now to most that would seem to be a still relatively young age but to me, it’s the beginning of the spiral. The Sought of the optimism that I once had has begun fleeting. When I was younger I felt as if I had a plethora of opportunities in front of me to pursue but not anymore. Can I become doctor probably, if I wanted to start working at 40? Can I become a professional athlete no that ship had sailed after high school? Am I’m going to still be able to talk to young girls(young as in between 18 & 24) and they still find me attractive or am I going to be that old guy pushing too hard?

Now comes the question of whether or not I accomplish anything worthwhile. or have I just wasted my youth. Can I look back as I get older and say I lived a fulfilling life? I guess the answer to that question is both comparative and subjective. In one hand am I comparing my life to other people around or people I see in the media? Secondly, am I comparing my life to an unrealistic idealistic way how my life should have turned out. The true answer is I don’t fully know, but I do feel at times I missed out on opportunities when I was young that I’ll never be able to get a chance at as I get older. I suppose the best thing for me to do is accept the fact that I am getting older, that one day I will die, this is just the process of life, how life has carried on, on this earth since microbes first populated the earth.

Life is just a processes that goes on. People overcome their childhood; to reach adulthood, and get married, and have kids, and then they die leaving their children to continue on to the same processes. Many people cope with this by using religion as a comfort, which is OK I guess but what about us who don’t have a god, is there some alternative for us, some sort of spirituality that can help us as a leading light in this darkness we call life. Are maybe we should just accept a materialistic world that has no real purpose.

To Be human is something I guess you just have to overcome as spoken by Zarathustra. We all cling on to things to help us forget about life, whether it’s movies, watching our favorite television show, following our favorite sport team, reading a thrilling novel, are engaging in an addictive video game, these are all just distraction to the inevitable that someday we are all going to die, and the earth will continue to orbit the sun. just as some person who lived in China during the 12 century in the small city village, had a family, was happy, suffered and died. Yet I know nothing of this person but I’m sure he existed just as trillions of other organism existed on this planet.

But I guess this all doesn’t have to be negative. I recently came across the philosophy of optimistic nihilism, that the mere knowledge of the pointlessness of life can be our refuge. Why does it matter that your boss berated you for doing a bad job, what does matter that you lost that pick up game of basketball, what does matter that you and your spouse of ten years are getting a divorce? Because to the eyes of the universe, none of it matter.

But I suppose these are just fleeting thought that some will embrace, some will reject, and some will be indifferent to.