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Old 02-14-2023, 09:31 AM
Location: Phoenix, AZ
20,382 posts, read 14,656,708 times
Reputation: 39467


I think that Covid and economics are both big pieces of the picture.

Because I can recall having been in the HABIT at times in the past of, for instance, going out to eat. I fell out of the habit and now (for years) I almost never do so. I have food at home. I don't see the need. And especially since I began working from home, which I still do.

I used to go out a lot. Parties, gatherings at bars/pubs, concerts, and travel. I got out of the habit, partially as my financial priorities changed and partially because Covid limited those things in 2020 and 2021 mainly.

Some people are still very worried about getting Covid.

I am not intensely so, and I am willing to go to concerts and things, but my HABITS have changed. And I tend to fall into a kind of comfortable inertia. I got used to going without that stuff that I've done in the past, so if I consider the possibility of doing it now, I'm like...well...or I could just not...and look at the money I wouldn't spend!

Which brings me to the economics.

With various forms of inflation having hit various people in various ways, a lot of people are trying to keep their spending down. I mean, we live in a country where some economic rag will in the same breath shame people for frivolously buying a latte or eating avocado on toast and then wring hands anxiously about the same exact people killing big spending industries like travel and entertainment? Like let me try and get this straight, you're upset that I did spend $3.95 on a coffee drink and also that I did NOT spend $2,000 on a vacation? And you are acting like these things are in some fashion interchangeable? What??

Not that I go out for coffee. I have perfectly good coffee at home.

But that's my point, a lot of people have found out what we can certainly live without. And with a goodly portion of the powerful who make the rules we all have to live by, believing that the best solution to all economic problems is to beat the poors with a stick until a prosperous nation falls out somehow, I don't really see that changing much. Some folks have gotten pay raises, sure, wages are going up...but for every dollar that a family brings in, there are ten vultures hovering around trying to snatch at it. And we are told that it's all our own fault because lattes and toast.
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Old 02-16-2023, 08:44 AM
24,093 posts, read 14,879,963 times
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Originally Posted by digitalUID View Post
I recently watched BJ Novak's film, Vengeance, and the character played by Ashton Kutcher had an interesting take on this. In reference to the perception that the folks living in the rural Texan town were a bunch of depressed bumpkins, Kutcher's character expressed that they were not depressed or dumb, but rather creative and intelligent beings who just haven't found an outlet. I'm not doing the quote justice, but it certainly was one that resonated with me.

I have a lot of things that I'm passionate about, but I don't always have the resources to pursue them. Life finds a way to get in the way. I'm pursuing a grad degree that I am becoming very dispassionate about, but it feels like something I "must do" in order to better my lot in life. I have tons of bills related to my home and lifestyle, and they keep going up by absurd amounts while my income stays relatively flat. By the way, I used to live very comfortably on what I make now as a single person just a few years back. Inflation has all but routed that comfortability. There are things I'd love to do more of, but I don't have the time or money for all of it at once. I'd love to travel more. I'd love to take a gap year and just live somewhere else. I'd love to read more. I'd love to eat out at nice restaurants more. I'd love to bike and hike more. I'd love to buy season tickets to the local NHL team. I'd love to spend winters in a warm, tropical paradise.

There are lots of passions that I'd like to pursue, but c'est la vie for those of us not born into wealth.
That almost sounds like a line Ashton Kutcher wrote himself. That just sounds like something one of his movie characters would say.
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Old 02-16-2023, 11:24 AM
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
5,480 posts, read 3,923,585 times
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Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post

I have a feeling there's a direct correlation between this lack of passion and average sperm count dropping by HALF since 1970.
I have a feeling there's zero correlation between those two phenomena, to the extent that either of the two phenomena are even describing actual verifiable trends in the world. Personally, I'm inclined to somewhat agree with the OP regarding a loss of passion in the world. Regarding the purported halving of sperm counts:

'In her book, Dr. Swan suggests that sperm counts have plummeted largely due to the rise of endocrine disruptors, a class of hormone-mimicking chemicals found in everything from shampoo to TV-dinner packaging. (She also cites lifestyle factors like obesity, alcohol, and smoking.) Dr. Swan has shown in previous studies that exposure to these chemicals in utero can alter male and female sexual development.

Dr. Richardson and her co-authors suggested an alternative explanation: Perhaps sperm levels naturally rise and fall over time and within populations. The question has not been explored by reproductive researchers and cannot be answered easily, as global sperm counts before 1970 are largely unknown.

There are other possible explanations, as well. Sperm-counting is a tricky business and notoriously prone to human error, Dr. Pacey said. (“I say it from the point of view of someone who spent 30 years counting sperm and knows how difficult it is,” he added.) In a 2013 review article, he noted that as methodologies for counting had improved and been standardized since the 1980s, sperm counts had appeared to fall. In other words, it may simply be that earlier scientists were overcounting sperm.'

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