The rice bowl adjusts to the person trying to fill it. A rice bowl could be anything from a 401K to a crack pipe, but filling it is still the base drive of the person in question. You can go all Maslow on me and just call them basic needs, but the case remains.
I've seen this happen everywhere, but it took watching a medium-sized city in the middle of a war for it to really hit home for me personally. A couple hundred hardcore assholes trying to kill anyone who wasn't up with their flavor of hardcore running around in a city of several hundred thousand people just trying to fill their rice bowls. Housewives, oil ministry paper pushers, cops, taxi drivers, college kids, you name it, every last one of them trying to just do their jobs, feed their families, and get by, even with gunfire and explosions every hour on the hour.
That basic zone falls somewhere between "fill the rice bowl today" and "be confident that you will continue to fill the rice bowl for the known future."
There's nothing inherently wrong with that being your baseline. Especially if you're living in first world America without any major issues. Yeah, student debt, shitty job prospects and the like might be irritants, but they don't prevent the rice bowl from being filled, nor do they seriously impede future fillings. They just inspire people to wistfully dream of a better life or post snotty memes about how it's really some other asshole's fault.
But things that actually disturb the rice bowl?
Now that's what really pisses people off.
Moving beyond filling the rice bowl, now that's a tricky part. Because the rice bowl has an annoying habit that I call Comfortable Enough.
(Yes, there are outside forces that may fill a rice bowl and beyond for you. They're rare enough that I'm not going to bring them up.)
Comfortable Enough tells you that working for better options ain't worth it.
Comfortable Enough tells you that taking a step up is more hassle than it's worth.
Comfortable Enough tells you about what you risk losing in an attempt to do more than fill the rice bowl.
In order to move beyond Comfortable Enough, one has to take risks, endure discomfort above and beyond what they're already enduring, and more importantly, risk a state where the rice bowl don't get filled.
It's an aspect of the fact that practices that let you thrive in a certain environment are not practices that let you escape that selfsame environment.
The problem with Comfortable Enough is that when an outside force disrupts either the bowl or the rice, there's little or nothing to mitigate the effects. Personal crises like losing a job, being sick, being in an accident, all of these affect the rice bowl and put us in a tight spot if filling it has been the baseline.
For all intents and purposes, the entire free fucking world has had their rice bowls disturbed. All the rice bowls.
Remember when I said a rice bowl could be anything from a 401K to a crack pipe?
I meant it when I said all the fucking rice bowls.
The biggest effect that's had is that it's narrowed everyone's focus. We're all worried about our own rice bowls and the rice bowls of our loved ones now. So that's an emotional spike.
We're all worried. We're all angry. So that's another spike.
We have time on our hands to one degree or another, so that lets the emotional spikes grow.
Everyone with something to gain from your belief? Their rice bowls are in danger too. So now their vested interest in making you scared and pissing you off has just risen sharply, if not exponentially. Politicians, media makers, Google, Facebook, any entity that has ever made money or publicity from you is now twice as hungry for it.
What was a dull roar goes up to a scream. Whatever you believed before, chances are you're all the more of a diehard now. You got a disturbed rice bowl, a cocktail of fear/anger responses, and time on your hands. It's a perfect fucking storm.
Bits and pieces are different, the huge panic buying of guns being a classic example. Principles get abandoned quick when people realize it's their own family's asses on the line.
But on the whole? Dull roar into a scream.
I'm still seeing people screaming into the void that America was ranked 37 for healthcare in the world and that said care is a human right. Meanwhile, I'm the asshole in the corner going, "Italy was ranked #2 in that same study, how'd that fucking turn out for them? And no, it's neither right nor privilege, it's a commodity. And when it runs low, whoever's stuck with the bill is not on the top of the priority list."
I saw an ordinarily smart and sane person look at the Kennedy Center accepting $25M in bailout funds the day before sacking their musicians, and their stance was that the government didn't give them enough to do what they had to.
I haven't used the phrase, "are you smoking crack?" in 20 years. But here we fucking are.
And of course, any mention of how our nationwide response may be overzealous results in dusting off the old ACA arguments. "You want Grandma to die!"
They haven't even met your grandma, sunshine. But it's still spring planting, and all your virtue signaling isn't going to mean dick if we social distance ourselves into a fucking famine because you're convinced you save another granny with every screech.
And even if you were right, it still comes back to the rice bowl. I'm paraphrasing from elsewhere, but 90%-100% chance of losing the rice, the bowl, and any other shot at future rice because you're not working and holed up at the home you have for the moment vs a 5% mortality rating among people they've never seen? That would make even the kindest farmer Bill go, "fuck your granny and fuck you, my kids WILL eat tomorrow."
Kindly farmer Bill came from a culture that invented the triple-S for a fucking reason.
Disturbed rice bowl. Anger/fear response. Time on your hands. A perfect storm of hiding in a hole and emerging to scream about what someone else should and shouldn't do.
And if the above paragraphs aren't a hint, it's definitely affecting me too. Trust me, I'd much rather be writing about my wizard handyman and his wacky band of acquaintances instead of brain dumping about rice bowls. Happy Tuesday.
A lot of us are holding our rice bowls together with duct tape and prayers today. Some of us are going to need new rice bowls when it's all over. Personally, I'm doing my best to see that there's rice to come, and that I can avoid Comfortable Enough long enough to secure the bowl from what comes next.
Take care of yourselves out there.