Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius is said to have penned Meditations during his time amongst the Quadi people on the banks of the River Danube. Their lands bordered the Roman Empire and Bohemia. Scholars consider his philosophical reflections historically and culturally significant even today, over 1800 years after they were written. Aurelius was born in Rome […]
I listen and read Noam Chomsky regularly. I find his commentary on the structure of social order, economics, and politics right on point. The political establishment in the 60s and 70s didn’t like him very much, but these days they largely ignore him. The mainstream media no longer report his work. I listened to an audio clip of him talking about work. In it, he addresses the idea that people have the right to control their own work.
Their song It seemed louder and deeper than before. Like as if every branch of every tree held a blackbird. Someone told me that because there is so little traffic on the roads and less human activity generally, it means the birds can complete their entire song, not just a small part.
What stood out for me in this book was the constant reference to doing work for its own sake. The value in the detail of the work and its contribution towards happiness seemed immeasurable, and in fact, imperative in the achievement of success. Success appeared to be a by product for the people he interviewed. The never set out to be successful, they just enjoyed the challenge of the work.
I lay in bed last night, and as per usual, I was thinking about work. I had been watching a Noam Chomsky lecture on capitalism and the social order earlier in the evening. I wondered how each of us can go about creating work that matters, something that brings value to ourselves and others without the overbearing and often manipulative motivation to meet market need. I thought, how about…
This survival of the fittest, throw-away capitalist consumerist culture of ours insists our work must have commercial value. It’s killing the creative spirit and makes machines of people. Don’t sacrifice your humanity. Don’t become a machine.
It seems to me, that when others require your compliance, be it for what they consider the greater good or indeed their own good, they are prepared to forgo their humanity. The rules, bureaucracy take precedence.
Once we accept the concept of work is something meaningful, not just the source of a buck, you don’t have to worry about finding enough jobs. There’s no excuse for mules any more. Society doesn’t need them.
What is it you want to say? How do you want to say it? Why bother? I don’t know. It’s a compulsion, a curiosity. I want to know what’s under the surface. It’s a means of expression, an exploration of self, although I understand I can never find whatever it is I am looking for.
From this observers perspective, this gushing all over each other is unsubstantial insofar as it is unsustainable. It is a flourishing of naivety. It is an over-the-top response typical of a global population incapable of holding the middle ground in the event of dramatic change.