A Saturday Night at Starbucks

StarbucksAn unusual set of family events found me sitting in a Starbucks last Saturday night. It had been a reasonably decent day, but there are, as we all know, plenty of things in this world to be depressed about. And those things, as we also know, are massively amplified by the attention-seeking class. (Bad news sells.) Somehow, the parade of negativity had its effect on me.

Sitting in the Starbucks cured me.

What I Saw

It was a very average Starbucks in a very average location. And the very average people sitting with me were a near-perfect cross-section of the American demographic.

To my left was a middle-aged black man, doing something on his laptop. Just past him was a middle-aged white woman doing the same. Past her, in the corner, were three teenage girls – one black, one white, one Latin – studying something together.

Behind me was another black man with a laptop and piles of papers, and past him was a young couple falling in love over lattes.

At the big center table was a 25ish woman, with multiple piles of paper upon which she was working very hard. After a while, her boyfriend showed up. She hugged him, laid her head on his shoulder, and they kissed. It was sweet. Then he got to work with her.

There were also people coming and going. They were more of the same: A cross-sectional American parade of people behaving quietly and well.

This is the larger part of human life – the life that you don’t see on the news. And they reminded me that all is not dark, no matter how much darkness we see on television and streaming across the Internet.

This is the part of human life that we should be giving our attention to. Watching them, I decided that it would be far better to spend time helping these people than to obsess on all the bad things in the world. These people deserve our efforts.

What Would Help the Bright Side of Humanity?

That, of course, brought me to the question of how to help the bright side of humanity, and I decided that a great start would be to make one point very clearly:

Fear is a brain hack, a malicious and effective brain hack.

When people want to get their hands on your time and money – and don’t want to be bothered with that pesky ‘reason’ thing – fear is how they do it… over and over and over. Fear works.

So, if we want to move the brighter side of humanity forward, the first thing we need to do is to inform them that fear is their greatest enemy. They need to understand – and remember – that when someone tries to make them afraid, they are being hacked.

Second, we need to assure the brighter side of humanity that their way is right… that they have every right to live their way and not abandon their values to screaming political hucksters.

Power-seekers have always been with us, and they can succeed only by getting frightened people to line up behind them. But in order to line up with the fright-sellers, you have to absorb their slogans, respond to their fears, and take their rationalizations into your mind. And that is a mistake.

The problem is that the fright-seller’s ideas are nearly all inferior ideas. They serve dominance, power, and the inertia of archaic models of lordship. They do not serve human advancement.

The people I saw in the Starbucks held a different and better set of ideals. They believed that all people should be treated with respect and politeness; that coercion, theft, and fraud are wrong; and that everyone should be left alone to do what they want, so long as they don’t intrude upon others.

This decent side of humanity needs to know that their ideals should never be pushed aside for the sake of some political cause, no matter how Earth-shakingly urgent it is made to seem.

Let me make this very, very clear:

The people I saw in the Starbucks were morally superior to the powerful and the fear-peddlers.

Such people should understand that they are right to hold to their own values, to hold to their own lines of reason, to believe in their own virtues.

And Once They Do?

Once people of the type I saw in the Starbucks start believing in themselves, the world changes, and massively.

These people, you see – and there are untold millions of them – are productive and cooperative. Their problem is that they’ve been laying aside their virtues at the insistence of a fear-peddling overlord class. We are, as I seem to be saying frequently, living under bronze-age rulership. It no longer suits us, if indeed it ever did. And it is holding us back.

The people in the Starbucks don’t need edicts from an emperor or a priest-king… and they don’t need politicians doing the same thing under the guise of “the will of the people.”

Once the millions of “Starbucks people” decide that all the fear and overlordship were contrary to life itself, they will move into a better age. Any such transition is difficult, of course, but once these people truly believe in their own ways, the ways of the fear-peddlers will pass away.

May it be soon.

Paul Rosenberg

15 thoughts on “A Saturday Night at Starbucks”

  1. There’s something wrong with the share function on your website. I’ve tried to share on facebook for 3 weeks now and only get errors.

  2. The words I live by, Paul, are simple: “Any day above ground is a good one.” And if anyone wishes to get “religious”, the Algonquin Indians once said: “Where you stand is sacred ground. Every day is the Sabbath.” And I refuse to believe that any other human being, no matter title or status, knows more about my life and desires that I do.

    1. Speaking of Sabbath, have you heard of the new Stryper cover, just released. First composed and written in 1971. First perform by Black ______. I would posit the guys from Birmingham (not AL) had something over the Algonquin ..

  3. Starbucks would not cure me. It would only remind me of the summer of 2008, when I worked for Wayport/AT&T Wifi. Wayport provided internet access for Starbucks, via AT&T (Wayport is no more since 2008. It is now fully AT&T Wifi) Wayport had just taken the account from T-Mobile the year before. Starbucks was slated to add 500 new stores nationwide and internationally.
    It was apparent by the summer of ’08, Starbucks was not going to add those stores, in addition was going to close several existing. In Austin in the following months and years, Starbucks would close half of their existing stores. I was riffed (reduction in force) from Wayport that summer, and that
    fall Wayport was fully acquired by AT&T laying off even more the
    following months and years.
    Besides, Austin has far better local coffee shops to Starbucks, with far superior Time Warner Cable served internet. Starbucks could never compete with Mozart’s on the Lake, or even Flipnotics when it was still open. Whenever to you see live music in a Starbucks?
    I started at Wayport in the summer of ’04. That October I had to foreclose on my lakeside home in Lago Vista. I was laid off from my most lucrative job at CSC in ’02. My income had dropped 40% in that time span. I was forced from a 4 bdrm house, 2 car garage (2000 sq ft) into a 1 bdrm (800 sq ft), single car port. (It was not a divorce) Things improved somewhat through the summer of ’12, but since that time I have been force to live with my elderly parents in Houston.
    I am currently in an interview process with VMware for six possible positions, of which I have received and inside referral. When you are 55+, unless you are a true “top gun,” you get nothing without referrals, and they must be from inside the company. But moving into Nov., things are slowing down, as historically hiring does at this time of the year. I have gone through this type of long drawn out process since ’08, more times than needs to be discussed here. Start my own company? Please don’t make me laugh. Maybe it was more feasible 30 years ago. But we are in a comparative twilight zone now.
    Some financial talking head recently stated:
    “The system will eventually purge itself”
    To which I replied:
    The USSR would have probably imploded on itself without any help. It was
    literally hemorrhaging since ’85, but dying via a thousand cuts. (In
    same/similar manner as the USA is at this very nanosecond) Instead of
    1990, it could have been 2000 or even 2010. And how many more people
    would have starved and died in the gulags? Would Solzhenitsyn been able
    to go back to his mother land and die with honor and recognition from
    his head of state, if not for certain actions begun in 1980 via a sworn
    There is more than just a system at play here. This is a war between
    ideologies. And one side must prevail. Both sides can theoretically and
    mathematically win, but one side must take the initiative to cause a
    win-win. This has happened before. It happened in ’90. There is
    historical precedent for this — win-win. And via the very same
    architects, one of which is alive, well, and working 18 hour days to
    effect this paradigm shift.
    There is economic terrorism involved here. Someone caused this. Any
    system does not just purge itself, due to someone throwing a monkey
    wrench into the “system” without that someone being identified and
    eliminated from the equation. Wars do not end of themselves without both
    sides literally destroying each other. In that end, there is no victor.
    Only losers.
    https://app.box.com/s/hfgvcqg7gqh7i27at6sv53ywu87lwarp (Read Me First)

  4. 10/20/15
    Dear ‘Freeman’—
    You, and many like you, have chosen to observe the “Starbucks People”. Those who have behave in a normal way. They can afford the $5 coffees because they have jobs.
    I would like you to observe, and report on the 50 million +who are not employed, and living by their wits with a handout from the government to keep them from rioting.
    Go on the streets, and into the ghetto if you dare. There you will find another truth.
    Year after year the number of disenfranchised grows.They aren’t slaves for slaves work. They are chattel of the rich and they keep having children who are born in recurring poverty.
    Now I ask you, Mr. Freeman: “Whacha gonna do with all these people?”
    As always, I await your answer. Best regards,
    —Steven J. Conners.

    1. I made a specific point, Steven. Try looking at it sympathetically, rather than trying to find fault or drag it back to your pet issues.
      And, FWIW, I have spent time in ghettos. This isn’t my first time around the block.

      1. Paul–
        Didn’t say you didn’t know, but to hope that the “Starbucks People” will overthrow the powerful is wishful thinking. In the past every king or baron surrounded himself with an aristocracy. Not too different from todays “technocrats” who meet at Starbucks and support
        Their corporate Œbaron’ or Œking’ and his fiefdom. They are provided for and protected.
        “Whatca gonna do with the rest?”
        Contrary as always,

        1. I wrote nothing about overthrowing anyone. Nor do I want to “overthrow” anything.
          I’d like it if people started believing in themselves and stopped believing in barbaric domination. I’m confident that if they did, they’d simply stop endorsing and complying with the relics of an unevolved past.
          As for “the rest,” I have no position to do anything with them or to them. No one does. They’ll have to see to their own lives, as do we all.

    2. “Whacha gonna do with all these people?”
      Steven, what makes you think that anyone has the right to do anything with any people? You make it sound as though poor people should be herded one way or another.
      What were you trying to say?

  5. Paul–
    I’m sorry that you are so sensitive, I have a friend in St. Louis that feels as you do. “Education will heal
    all and eventually, after the people are enlightened, the oppression will disappear peacefully.” I consider this
    “wishful thinking”. Historically there have always been revolutions to upset the powerful. This comes, usually, when the people have been oppressed too long and not allowed their freedom. Mankind naturally wants to be free from oppression and usually has to fight for it. Nothing seems to have changed. It’s cyclical. Are we due an uprising? I think we have a smoldering desire to free our shackles and long overdue. Just my pragmatic opinion. —Steven.

  6. How many of them were hacking into another’s computer over the wi fi network and stealing passwords?

  7. Paul
    Thoughtful and well written. Looks like many of the commenters reinforced your point for you. Don’t stop writing and believing, we need people like you to counter the fear mongers.

  8. Right on target about fear. Fear causes us to obey the petty dictates, which are harmful to our own life. We end up enslaving ourselves.

  9. I generally like your articles, but this one demonstrates the whole
    struggle of understanding “too much” of this world in general ->
    feeling the pain, and then trying to escape it. I understand that the
    psychological burden of “being awake” is sometimes feels too heavy to
    bear in everyday life, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to fall into
    comfortable delusions about your average fellow “starbucksian” citizens.
    fine “productive” people at Starbucks behind their piles of paper are
    the CORE problem, what keeps this ponzi bullshit world going. (and
    really not the couple thousand evil banksters…) They are like
    religious fundamentalists believing in MSM crap, fiat money, and “just”
    war and they forcefully ignore the obvious real world around them. (what
    is quickly turning from a barely tolerable mess, into a massive meat
    Without them being weak, coward and ignorant to the real
    world, wouldn’t be this mess. They believe in their “jobs” like that
    they pushing some papers mean anything. It doesn’t! The 44 year (or
    maybe 102? ) massive misallocation of productive capital made most of
    the jobs completely meaningless.
    They are the ones that are
    propping up the dead system! They are viscous, stupid, agressive
    zombies, who will “eat your brain” when the corrupted system grinds to a
    halt and fails even to provide them with the basic comfort they are
    used to.
    They are playing a zero sum game since decades, it
    should be obvious to them every day when they go to do they fake jobs,
    but they refuse to see it, and they usually even put “pressure” and try
    to ridicule those around them, who see it.
    They are not “morally superior” to anybody. They are real “the enemy”! They must be waken up. Most of them, will try to keep the bullshit running as long as possible, to avoid facing the grim reality, then they will collapse or turn into real murderous monsters.

Comments are closed.