Silly Things in my Life (an Autobiographic Essay)

Life often is a series of foolish acts. That's why it is interesting.

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My first foolish act was my birth in Ukraine in Soviet times, but I hadn't been asked. My dad was around 50 and he somehow persuaded my mom to give birth to me at her 37. We lived in Kyiv, the capital.
There was no division then for Russians, Ukrainians or Jews in Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, but on default Russians were considered as "the elite" and Russian language was "urban" and main one. Ukrainians were reputed as the "rednecks" with their "rural" language. Both nations a little despised the Jews, although that was not officially welcomed.

In my youth I went in for sports, visited a lot of Ukrainian cities and began to distinguish 3 parts of the country - western part (main city Lviv), eastern part (main city Kharkiv) and central part, where I lived (city of Kyiv). Every part of Ukraine has its distinct people and if Ukraine will fall apart one day, there will be 3 parts I defined in my youth.

I always envied the ability of Lviv residents to naturally switch from Russian to Ukrainian and back. My older son now switches like that between Russian and English and I envy him, too. English is my poorest language. I need to make some mental efforts to speak Ukrainian because of lack of the practice, but I'm quite fluent in it and even can edit Ukrainian texts. My native language is Russian, but I never lived in Russia for a while, so I'm "neither this, nor that", an internationalist. When I wrote the commentaries for Russian and Ukrainian on-line resources the Ukrainians called me "Russian spy" and Russians - "Ukrainian traitor".

In 1982 I graduated from Kyiv Civil Engineering Institute (a mechanical engineer) and decided to make my second silly thing - working for KGB. I passed quite strict selection procedure (I remember the details until now) and then had to head to the KGB High School (I graduated from the institute as an officer). At that moment I officially worked at the military factory in Kiev as a mechanical engineer and needed just to get a positive reference from my work for KGB School, if...

If I wouldn't make my third silly thing - I married my pregnant girl-friend and decided to leave for a week or so for a honeymoon. I asked a permission at my work, but they refused, so I left without a permission. After they sent the reference to KGB School which I would not be accepted even to a jail with.

Then I joined the army just to get to Communist Party there and in that way to enroll in the KGB School to embody my dream which was my second silly thing as I found out later. It was impossible to do without membership in the CPSU just like you cannot get to any powerful position in the US bypassing Democratic or Republican Party. I served in a Soviet army as an officer for 2 years, was not accepted into the CPSU and returned home in late April 1986. Chernobyl disaster occurred on April 26, 1986 and our leaders took their children out of Kyiv, assuring us that everything was all right. I brought my wife and a child to Krasnodar (Russia) to our distant relatives.

My service in the army taught me a good lesson. I like to belong to myself, but in army (or in secret service) you have to be available 24/7. So my marriage accidentally prevented me from building my KGB career. The desire to become a KGB officer has completely gone after serving in army which was very good. In 5 years the USSR collapsed and I would stuck in the middle of the KGB service ladder just like one friend of mine did without a power and prospects to get higher or quit. Then it was better to be either at the top of the hierarchy to convert the power into money or at the very bottom to easily leave the system.

In 1989 I left my wife with the son (it became clear that we couldn't get along well) and began to work in a quite new then field - a private business. I helped to hold art exhibitions, sold theater tickets, traded furniture and did advertising. Then I earned my first 1000 rubles (about 600 USD at the official rate) which was great comparing to an average monthly income of around 250 rubles. I walked along the street, squeezing this thousand in my pocket and did not understand how it could happen.

The USSR was falling apart and nobody saw that, it became simply more and more difficult to buy a food, but everyone was busy with his own stuff and lived without paying any attention to events around. In the meantime there were a lot of global changes then - Warsaw Pact was collapsing, revolutions in a few socialist countries have occurred, the Berlin Wall was demolished in November 1989 and the Iron Curtain in Europe began to come down.

Centrifugal moods were also growing in the USSR. Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare its independence in March 1990. The Soviet republics sprawled out, the center in Moscow weakened and in August 1991 an attempt had been made to take control of the country from Mikhail Gorbachev who was the President of the USSR and General Secretary of the Communist Party then. The attempt failed and I can now call it the real end of the USSR. We watched the events in Moscow on TV from Kyiv with perplexity and interest because something like that couldn't be possible to imagine before. There was a smell of big changes in the air and really Ukraine declared its independence from the USSR on August 24, 1991, and the USSR was formally dissolved in December 1991.

Then the predatory privatization began everywhere. The USSR was quite a rich country despite the poor population, everything was state-owned, even people's dwellings. And people rushed to privatize their apartments, and the rulers did the same for plants, factories, land, newspapers, TV channels... The war of all against all has started for redistribution of material resources of the dead empire, the collapse of the economy, hyperinflation... The Ukrainians ripped Ukraine apart, shot and blew up each other, the police existed only formally and was completely corrupted... The most adventurous and risky former Soviet people - communists, KGB and military members, policemen together with the appeared out of nowhere bandits of all kinds - surfed the waves made by the ruin of the USSR, and many of them later found themselves in high state offices. The word "killer" came into use and raider seizures flourished. That was a complete mess in the country and that time was called later "the dashing 90s".
Approximately the same things happened in Russia with the only difference - one clan came to power there while several ones did in Ukraine.

That's when I made my start-up capital.
It was probably in 1994-95. I earned about $100K then, but the real value of money is relative and depends on what you can buy with it. For comparison: my income as a head of a little enterprise was then $50 a month, my car (old one though) costed $300, I bought a 2-bedroom apartment in Kyiv (not in the center) for $10K.

The Ukrainian currency at that time was "karbovanets" - just a loose fiat money, and the real although half-legal currency was the U.S. dollar. My friend and I did a foolish thing - we asked for 2 quite large bank loans, expecting to get just one. However, we were given two. Hyperinflation was approaching and nobody knew what it was. In spring or summer of 1994 we saw how the hyperinflation worked: once on sunny Friday evening the US dollar costed 7500 karbovanets, and on rainy Monday morning - 19500. We invested our loans in computers and copiers for reselling before that shock and fortunately our money did not devaluate. We easily paid back the loans, the wages to our employees and shared the rest.

After leaving my family in 1989, I did another silly thing from my mother's point of view. I stopped getting married. I had some love adventures, of course, I even lived once with a woman for about 4 years, but each time I went back to my "home, sweet home". I concluded that women, of course, give some pleasure, but they ask in reward too much attention, money, nerves and time... That is why I always sent my beloved ones home for the night and paid for the taxi or airplane, just to get rid of. Theoretically I understand that prostitutes in this sense are by far better. It is easy, honest and cheap relationship, but for some reason couple of times I started to set them on the right path, they ultimately repented, but sex was already ruined. So I've got in and out of different relationships and ultimately learned a lot. Now I can even teach how to get married correctly. It is not complicated, but a lot of people struggle emotionally with their partners for a long time with no chances to understand how the relationships work.

In the middle of the 90s, I took a great interest in esotericism. It was next foolish thing, because it costed me a lot of money. One of my acquaintances (as it turned out later - a witch) brought me to the school of bioenergetic therapy, then I studied Chakra system, I Ching, meditations, listened to Osho sannyasins and wizards, read esoteric literature... And my friend - a witch, who launched this process, became one of the best students of the famous Ukrainian wizard Vladimir Yaremich.

About witches.
This friend of mine could correctly diagnose a patient on stage while sitting next to me in the 10th row. She healed my skin disease with herbs and incantations. Once she blocked the bandits on the way to my office, although it might be a coincidence. She said once she was levitating, but I haven't seen that.
I found out for myself that witches are not "bad", not "good" and there are quite a few of them around. Sometimes they don't realize they are witches - did you watch "The Witches of Eastwick" movie? The word meaning "witch" came into Russian from Old Slavonic word "to know".

These are people of high sensitivity, who are gifted with a subtle perception, and if they are also observant at the same time ... So they know a lot of things that normal people just can't feel, they can see much further than everybody else and thus can predict the future (which is not very complicated thing, by the way). They can heal. Or kill. What to do, it's a second side of the same coin. That is why they were burned at the stake in the Middle Ages. And for their beauty, of course, too, because they are usually very beautiful women. There used to be a lot of beautiful women in Ukraine. Once I found and brought another witch to my next esoteric school. She was able to do contactless abortions in particular. How? I asked. She imagined the scraping out the patient's uterus with her hands. A couple of days later the patient started bleeding, the fetus came out and everything closed. The gynecologists said after: "A miscarriage". That's it.

My writing began completely unconsciously in Ukraine from the silly thing again. Well, it is silly to write a book and not to publish it. For some reason, I was eager to spill out on paper what I had in mind about Ukraine, and I did not think about publishing at all. I wrote a few small drafts about the political situation in Ukraine which were actually read by 7-8 of my friends. I often thought later - why? And long after I understood - I wrote it for myself. I explained there so well the hopelessness of living in Ukraine, that apparently completely redirected my thoughts to leaving the country. Since everyone is a little bit of God (this absolute truth I took from esotericism), everything was relatively easy realized.

So I made the next foolish step in my life - I moved to the US in 2009. It was silly too, because the US was quite expensive country to live in, but Ukraine was quickly getting worse. The Ukrainians have been impoverished by their rulers and began to really hate each other because of the impossibility to live normally in their country. The worst thing was the Ukrainians could not understand what was going on and why. That was hopeless (actually, it is still hopeless) and I left. Unfortunately, I was right - in 2010 a former criminal Viktor Yanukovych came to power in the country, 4 years later the Ukrainian Revolution removed him from presidential office and a strange undeclared Russo-Ukrainan war began...

While living in Ukraine I got interested in a statecraft. It started from the attempt to find a country where people could live more or less happily. I have read treatise "Arthashastra", "Leviathan" book of Thomas Hobbes and found them very correct. I contemplated USSR, Ukraine, the US and realized that out of 200 countries on Earth about 90% simply rob their citizens. Now everything works in the same way as it did in ancient Egypt 5 thousand years ago despite some technical progress and the emergence of democracy, which in most countries has been turned into aristocracy. Thomas Hobbes was right. The states are invincible monsters that devour the lives of their citizens. USSR and the US in that sense are mirrors of each other and I am glad that I had the opportunity to observe them close by. I have already seen the collapse of the USSR. I think that I will also see the collapse of the US relatively soon, although I do not know exactly when. Why do I think so? There are too many inner latent problems and conflicts which have been accumulating in the US for some time, but now the enmity between Republicans and Democrats, the ignorance of the people and coronavirus made them critical and accelerated the process of decay.

Now I live in Florida with a partner and 2 children, a self-employed property manager who tries to earn some money by writing. It's hard because I’m not a specialist in any field of human knowledge and have no scientific degrees. I even do not speak English fluently.
I call myself “an outstanding mediocrity”. "Outstanding" because I know that I'm nothing special at all. A lot of people do not know that and therefore they are just "mediocrities".

My conscious writing has started around 2017.
A few previous years I followed the world news and began to pay attention that the governments of almost all countries did everything wrong and usually to the detriment of their people. Then I realized why - the interests of elites and people are opposite. I understood that the people of almost all countries in the world have given the governance of their countries to the elites, who were just frauds, and people do not understand why they are poor despite it is so obvious. I wrote a couple of small books, not on these topics, but on how the world works in general and placed them on Amazon. It was silly, too. The result is: 2 guys have bought one of the books in a year.

Now I know that to write a good book is probably 10% of success. The remaining 90% is the ability to sell this book.
I am a bad seller, besides it is very difficult to realize in a sea of very mediocre books written by many mediocre authors. And I'm doing the next silly thing now - I try to sell my works somehow. It's all about money because I'll be kicked out of the house if I don't earn some.

I started looking for an opportunity to show my works to a bigger number of people - I sent my articles to The Guardian, The New York Times and Atlantic, created a blog on Substack and my site... And nothing happened. At around 2019 I found Medium, wrote a couple of dozen articles and comments here, and nothing happened, too.

In the summer of 2020 I came across "Illumination" publication and was very impressed by the attitude of its owner Dr. Mehmet Yildiz. Actually, an idea to write this autobiographic essay belongs to Dr. Yildiz, I would never do it myself, because I sincerely believe that my life is not interesting to anyone, besides, in my opinion, the things I write about are more important than me.

About Medium.
I never passed their algorithm. In the beginning, it was interesting to read that "people turn to Medium to help them understand the world more deeply and find worthwhile ideas they can apply in their lives", and that Medium is "looking to fund more great editors, writers, and publishers". All my articles are about "understanding the world more deeply", but they did not see my works for a year. It means either I'm a bad writer, or rich Medium rests on its laurels and really doesn't need "great editors, writers, and publishers".

Perhaps the most striking of my conclusions of recent years is the fact that right now someone on Earth knows the answer to almost any question that any person may have. "Who we are", "why we are here" and "where we are going to" questions are ready to be answered, not to mention smaller, but also important ones like "who to vote for in November" or "is Kim Kardashian really pregnant again". Unfortunately, the majority of people in the world are too busy with their daily survival and don't ask themselves the questions, which means they won't get the answers. The consequence of this is the inability of the people to properly articulate their demands to their rulers, so uncontrolled national elites (the previous "face" of the US elites was shameless President Trump) behave like spoilt children, leading their countries to nowhere.

My wife thinks that my writing is a silly thing too, because people want to have fun, and all my articles and books are about "we're all gonna die...". That's why almost nobody reads them. However, I believe that clear vision of the perspectives (whichever they are) eliminates a fear, makes life easier and allows a person to really start living here and now. People who have seen death closely stopped being afraid of it and their lives were getting filled with new meaning, and this is what I think a lot of people lack now. Many people do not see the purpose of their existence - Americans live to work, Ukrainians - to struggle with each other.... However, my wife is probably right, judging by my earnings on Medium. I constantly see articles about "How I earned on Medium 100 (1000, 3000...) dollars in 1 (2, 3...) month". I have earned about $5 in total on Medium since September 2019 for my subjectively very profound articles. Now I’m trying the same with Substack the second time. I continue to hold on to this foolishness of mine, i.e. writing. Apparently, because I love it. So I'm going to write until my wife will kick me out of the house because of the uselessness.

An old age comes when you can't afford to waste energy on silly things. This is true - look at the puppies. But I still can afford the silly things to happen, so I'm not old yet in my 60+. Let's see. So far it's interesting to watch my movie.


P.S. Dear Reader! I am very much interested in your opinion on the subject of this article. Please, write a comment or ask a question if you want to clarify something.
Igor Chykalov
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