Monday, November 21, 2016

When Work Had Meaning

"Work used to be the way you provided not only for yourself, but your community. You were the village baker or blacksmith, and people knew you and you helped them out and they helped you out.
But now it's just about accumulating garbage in your laughable urban shitbox while corporate overlords solemnly lecture you about how traditional values like family and decency are homophobic and evil.
Basically Americans and maybe moderns in general have no universal, ordering way of looking at life. There is no way to understand how different parts of your life are suited for some greater purpose, which means that literally nothing will satisfy the human need for meaning.
Our system is literally designed to make people feel sad and inadequate so they try and make themselves feel better. Your hair is ugly, so buy this shampoo! Etc. This drives a consumer, consumption fraud economy.
The true nature of man is to be a human who loves his family and his friends and cares for his soul and the souls of others. But moderns try and keep the material and spiritual totally separate to deny and exploit the body.
Sitting in a cubicle doing paperwork for 40 years until you're too senile to continue is no existence. You work in a huge glass tower in the center of a hideously overcrowded, polluted metropolis, you hustle past thousands of other humans you don't know every single morning, you have no zero close friends, you see your elderly parents once or twice a year, you have no children despite the fact you're 30, you spend nearly all of your work and leisure time staring at layers of molecules aligned between two transparent electrodes and two polarizing filters, you are f*cking STRESSED OUT by these illuminated molecules and the various pixels they comprise, your hair turns grey and falls out as a result.
Is there ANY part of this that sounds like something a human being should be doing? If you hijacked a chimp, put a burlap sack over its face and set it free in a lazer tag arena it would probably feel pretty stressed out too."

Seen on Lost generation

Sometimes in my discussions of the world with my husband and friends, while the identity politics seem so important to the left, I ask, "How come no one addresses the problems of work?" It's like all societal progress stopped in the late 19th century when it came to the job and the meaning of work in one's life. No real changes have been made to the hiring process or how a boss has far more control over a worker's life then a king. If society is going to progress, shouldn't work itself change? Why don't even "progressives" discuss these issues? If some do, tell me about them. None of the authoritarianism or strictures of the work world are ever questioned. Not even the things that limit productivity. 

Of course the Republicans want to get rid of unions and the few worker protections that came in. There seems to be this weird idea about work where it's needless sufferings are glorified among the "conservative" set. "What do you mean you want a sick day off? Where's your work ethic?"

When I was young I wanted my work to have meaning, I know this fueled the art teacher foray, and one can find it at rare times, but this guy has a point. Work had inherent dignity in it that is being lost more and more. I found meaning in the art, the "flow" so to speak. I was so enthusiastic when I was young. Isn't this better then being a zombie? I enjoyed some work when I was young, anything creative I liked it. When I made soups and salads for salad bars that was one of my best jobs except for the pay and then the art teaching too. People want to see rewards of their work, some handiwork, something real and tangible. That got lost too in the work world.

I have been been disabled for years but one thing I have noted is people are really unhappy at their jobs, and it seems to be world where no one wants to touch it. No activist [well maybe Barbara Ehrenreich] has said, maybe it's time for the work world to change. No one has questioned the crazy hiring practices, the firing and how many are shut out.

The hiring processes need changing and how people are able to "get" and "keep jobs". What happened to my husband should not been allowed to happen to anyone. Where would society be without the "busy work" and where people could truly give to society without ten dozen hoops to jump through?


  1. I loved that piece from the lost generation! And your input too. They were both really insightful and put a name to what I feel I've been observing in society.
    I also see the art world taking a hit. People would rather buy techno toys than handmade things or things like paintings. They want something cheap and mass produced piece of art to hang on their wall. One that's cool and popular.It
    is really hard for us crafters and artists. I remember in the nineties when people were really into to going to craft shows and supporting local crafters. Not so much anymore.

  2. Very good thoughts! I think about these kinds of things, too. I wonder how people can just go to their boring, stressful jobs day after day, year after year , and then go out drinking or whatever, go shopping at the mall, maybe go to a movie or watch sports and of course, spend a good part of their time on their smart phones.
    What sort of life is this?! It has been said "an unexamined life is not worth living"
    I believe that. We need to have work that has meaning and that adds to the common good for all. I think co-Ops would be a good thing where the workers are part owners of the company. We have a great need for beautiful, hand- crafted things and wholesome food that's not mass-produced. Well, I can still dream I guess.

    1. I agree, what kind of life is it? None at all. Work had some meaning and outcome, something you Produced. One had the satisfaction of making the "bread" or seeing the "house" built, now it's pixels, boring phone calls and a whole lot of nothing for many people. Even I got to see the salads, some art work or student's art work for my trouble. I agree about Co-ops. I think the whole work world needs revamped. We do need wholesome food and hand made things. Even in the 70s there was some return to this but then it was lost. I have been shocked there's been no revival but they have made everyone so broke, they have made it impossible.