Thursday, May 24, 2012

I was looking for a job, and then I found a job. And heaven knows I'm miserable now

In the movie American Splendor, Harvey wakes up from a nightmare to his comforting reality: "I got a job! I got a job!"

For me "I got a job" is the nightmare from which to wake.

Most people seem to treat a job as a necessity. They wish me luck in finding gainful employment. They treat it as if I'm missing out on something.

I do not see it that way.

Work is not a necessity. Work is usually only a means to fulfil other (real) necessities. Satisfying work may also be a luxury.

Further I submit that no woman or man is truly free who needs to do work for someone else in order to eat. I realize I'm speaking of an ideal world and not the reality we currently exist in, but I do believe that almost no one is truly free in our world (for this and any multitude of other reasons).

If you are forced to do the work that another commands, just so you are able to survive, then you are a slave. Even if work is inescapable in life, a free person would at least do work according to her own will, not the will of others.

I think most would vehemently disagree, because most feel they need their jobs (and they pretty much do, because they're enslaved by employers and a society built to avoid making it easy to not work), and the thought that "this is how reality is" is easier to accept than the thought that "there are many other options, but they're kept from me." It is more comforting to believe that we are in control of a reality with many inherent limits, than it is to accept being controlled and limited by others.

Until things change (and they will, whether in a hundred, or a thousand, or a million years), it seems the only way to escape the "work is a necessity" mentality is not just a change in attitude, but some combination of a change in lifestyle, luck, ... and hard work.

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