I was talking to my Mom about my Dad retiring from the workplace in the near future. My Mom thinks my Dad is ready to retire, but once he does he’s going to miss work because work gives him a sense a purpose and he’s always doing something so now he will have all this time on his hands when he retires.
This got me thinking. First, this is a white privileged conversation because not everyone gets to retire, but second, the defining of us by job titles in the workplace in Industrial Civilization is one of biggest reasons why life on this planet is at death’s doorstep.
The importance of what we do for a living is grinded into our thought process at a young age. It’s to get us to submit to the paradigm that nothing is more important than the economy.
I think if we asked each other what makes you feel alive instead of what do you do for a living we would have a better mindset on what’s really important in life. Something tells me our answers wouldn’t be buy a bunch of shit and long for material possessions in hopes it fills a void we have in our lives. Our answers would include things like love, laughter, community, and exploring the mysteries and wonders of the natural world.
Most of us have jobs that once you get hired you’re trained on what to do and what not to do, and at that point you have a simple choice do what you were trained to do or do not do what you were trained to do. This is what makes you a good or bad employee. If you want to bring some innovation or creativity to the job you’re going to have to ask your boss if that’s ok. Most of us have someone we must answer to, to make sure we work in a certain set of rules. And this what we want to give us purpose? This is a big part of what defines us?
When we ask someone what they do for a living we think their answer gives us a huge insight into who they are as a person. And a lot of people think their job is their life’s work hence why we ask the question “what do you do for a living?” We believe the answer to this question is what will be the key that unlocks someone’s character.
This thought process is so ridiculous. I am not going to let that answer which gives you insight on how I survive in this set of living arrangements define me. I’m not saying don’t enjoy your job or be happy at it. I am challenging you to bring something to the table that fosters creativity that you created on your own, that makes you use your brain, that goes against the grain of this destructive society, that makes you feel vulnerable because you’re daring to be different, that makes you bare your soul to life and love, and that excludes being tied to monetary value. This should be your real life’s work.
Industrial Civilization does not encourage the things I mentioned above, it puts fear into us. It makes us “play it safe” because Industrial Civilization is the ultimate micromanager. It makes sayings like “nothing in life is free” and “you get what you pay for” come to life despite its need for death. Its need for death silences creativity that promotes love for nonhuman lives on this planet.
Industrial Civilization tells us: what time we should go to bed, when we should wake up, what we should do before we go to bed, what we should do when we wake up, how to get ready for work, what to wear to work, what colors to wear to work, what colors go together, what colors do not go together, what are considered “good jobs”, what are considered “bad jobs”, when to eat our meals, what is acceptable to have with certain meals, what products to buy, when to buy those products, how your appearance should be, how your appearance should not be, younger is better, older is irrelevant, who to love, who not to love, who to accept, who not to accept, everything and everyone has a price, technology will save us, entertainment is more valuable than intellect, and it even tells you how to spend your free time hence the concept of “hobbies”.
I could spend the next several hours on this list but you should get the picture. It’s a very simple concept… think about what you do because you feel pressured or were told to do or you do for acceptance. It’s depressing how much Industrial Civilization micromanages us.
Industrial Civilization forces regimen upon us, anything we need to do to maintain health for us or health for the living planet requires is to develop a “routine”. This regimen of routine developing is forced upon us by Industrial Civilization because part of surviving under its micromanagement does not include setting aside ample time for your health or the health of others. Look at all of the people in this world who neglect their health or do not even have the opportunity to address their health.
A lot of the things we do are because of the pressures Industrial Civilization applies on us to survive because it thrives on death.
So in the face of a culture of death I am asking you to figure out what makes you feel like living?
Derrick Jensen looks at the natural world as a symphony. All life on this planet needs to come together to learn their proper role on playing their part so we can make beautiful music. Those of us that defy Industrial Civilization got out of the audience, rushed the stage of the symphony, learned our proper roles, and then started playing our parts. The symphony may not be as big as it once was but it’s still here. So come join us and figure out where in the symphony of life you belong while you’re still able to join.