It hit me today, in an existential moment, not for the first time, but quite sudden and forcefully. Man, I really don't like working for a living. Many years ago I came across "The Abolition of Work," by Bob Black an infamous screed that is either hysterically tongue-in-cheek or more serious than a dozen heart-attacks. It begins:
"No one should ever work.
Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you'd care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working...
The degradation which most workers experience on the job is the sum of assorted indignities which can be denominated as "discipline." Foucault has complexified this phenomenon but it is simple enough. Discipline consists of the totality of totalitarian controls at the workplace -- surveillance, rotework, imposed work tempos, production quotas, punching -in and -out, etc. Discipline is what the factory and the office and the store share with the prison and the school and the mental hospital. It is something historically original and horrible. It was beyond the capacities of such demonic dictators of yore as Nero and Genghis Khan and Ivan the Terrible. For all their bad intentions they just didn't have the machinery to control their subjects as thoroughly as modern despots do. Discipline is the distinctively diabolical modern mode of control, it is an innovative intrusion which must be interdicted at the earliest opportunity."
As I am in the process of changing jobs, I realize that essentially, it is illusion to believe a "better job exists." Oh, undoubtedly some pay more than others, and for a lot of people, that is its own reward, but really, all jobs have an essential and obvious common feature. You have to work for someone else in order to have money to survive. And even if one has their own business, there is still a need to rely and worry about money that must be taken from other people.
But back to my existential moment. Maybe it was because the job is so new and I haven't totally integrated it into my being to the point of systematic mechanical repetition, but for a moment I was struck at how working jobs to survive is the definition of purposeless. Even the jobs that had been "cake" (as well as the ones that were quite hard) we still marked by a pointlessness that was depressing. Even though we all have been trained to get our heads into our jobs after we shake off the nausea we experience when we realize how utterly hollow, meaningless and absurd being a wage slave is just to be able to live as wage slaves hopelessly attached to this predatory capitalist system. We have all given permission and consent to be enslaved like this, making an unconscious mockery of any sense of "freedom" we Americans so enjoy to trumpet to the rest of the world. But anyone who is employed knows on some level is somewhat aware of the fear of succumbing to the system that lies nestled in the back of their brainpan, that we have consented to be trapped and locked into our jobs without gaining a handle on how to change things.
How did the trap become so alluring? Why did we not see what made the trap so fiendishly clever was its circular nature?
Perhaps it blossomed within the mythology of American exceptionalism and programmed into children through the Pledge of Allegiance dubious and highly fictional history books along with a well-meaning phrase that was in reality a trap, and was introduced into our being without ever being questioned:
"Life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."
Which, according to sources, evolved from the leading lights of the 18th century Enlightenment, such as slave master and Founding Father George Mason, who drew up Virginia's Declaration of Independence, writing;
Of course, this sounds like good common sense that verges on the Utopian, but was not, unfortunately, only taken seriously by the members of the elites. It was always a rhetorically rich-sounding and deceptive ruse because that phrase only applied to them - not to the drones and worker-ants of the system that profited them. The "pursuit of happiness" in the 20th century has been transformed into the question of how many electronic toys one has or how many friends one has on Facebook."That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."
Sounds cynical? You BET! But going back to the original point in this blog, the reason why I left my previous job was because I reacted to being sent home for being three minutes late. But I'm not mad now, as I am simply grateful for the nudge to do something either more lucrative or interesting (my new job(s) potentially pay twice the amount I've been making - but it's still just another wage - slaving system to gobble up my time and energy while giving the right to buy my survival. I can't tell you how much I resent this.
So I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself that I carry resentments for having to work pointless, repetitive jobs that have left me feeling unfulfilled and exploited.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to live in resentment for participating in an economic system which exploits people's time and energy for having to acquire money in order to survive.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself in blaming others for the way we have chosen to live this way where we exploit and rob each other of time and energy in order to survive.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to blame others for the human stupidity that cannot see this current system is unsustainable and threatens to drag us all down into being erased from existence.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to be distracted by work and by the thoughts of going to work, what I will be doing after work and how work will get me the money for things I need and want to buy.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to see the trap for what it is and still not do anything about finding a solution except for resenting working in a capitalist economic system.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself for resenting my bosses for not being smart, not knowing what they were doing and blaming them for things that went wrong.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to blame the staff I was supervising for not taking their job seriously by fucking around too much.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to resent going to work, being at work and having to drive home from work.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself for dreading to update my resume in order to look for a new job.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself for having to contact potential employers about job openings.
I forgive myself foe accepting and allowing myself for dreading filling out endless job applications.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself for dreading to take those stupid personality profile tests because I don't know how to answer them.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself for dreading the interview process where I have to act like a grateful jackass and pretend that I really want what I know will be, a crappy job that won't give me enough money to do what I need to do.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to resent the money I do make because it never seems to be enough.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself for resenting being a wage slave.
This is opening up nicely. Part 2 tomorrow where I will finish this self-forgiveness and self-corrective statements because, um... I have to get ready for work.
TO BE CONTINUED....