a reply to: Biigs
You are churning out the interesting threads today, Biigs, lol.
This is one of my most favorite ideas that I toy with in my head so prepare yourself for a super long reply, lol. I started thinking about this
actually 20 years ago because of an anthropology class that I took. In that class, our very eccentric professor (who was an amazing lady, btw--very
cool) gave us this study that had been done where they compared the free time of an Australian aboriginal hunter-gatherer to the average American.
Before she gave the study for us to read, she asked us all which one we thought actually had the most amount of free time and which one spent more
time working. Just about all of us answered that the hunter-gatherer was the one that had less free time and had to spend more time working.
We were wrong. The hunter-gatherer actually spent most of their day at leisure as the only things that they needed to do that day was hunt down the
needed source of food for the day and any maintenance tasks for the objects that they utilized. The bulk of the day was actually spent in leisure
activity and caregiving activities to the group's children with all the labor being divided. The average American, on the other hand, had all those
facets of modern technology to "make life easier" like the toaster, the dishwasher, the laundry machine, car, electricity and more to pay for as
part of their daily maintenance of their lives.
Now that's not to say that we should all go run out and become hunter-gatherers but it should give us some amount of pause in understanding that our
lives are a product of our choices. We choose those comforts and amenities and, in turn, have to work to pay for them. It's impossible for us to
become hunter-gatherers here in the US but we can choose how much we're going to vest ourselves into those amenities and goods and strike a balance
where we can possibly become more content (or less resentful).
The thing is that it's long been the case where we have to do things that we don't want to do in order to survive. That's nothing new at all. A
hundred or so years ago when factories were being constructed, did those men, women and children resent having to go into those frequently dangerous
places every day in order to survive? You bet they probably did. In fact, you can be certain of it as both Europe and the US were being rocked by
worker protests to the point of them almost generating revolutions in response. So yep, they were as irritable and irked as we were and moreso
because there were serious dangers in those early factories. Our lives, comparably, are more like a kooshy version of hell. Why?
I think you nail it right on the head. It's not that we don't understand that to survive in the world that we've created equates to doing things
that we don't like. It's because we feel like we don't have any other choice.
We feel like we can't get that nifty electric car because
they tend to be so darned expensive. We feel like we can't do something else for a living because the employment market is so harsh that quitting a
job to do something else feels like inviting destitution and homelessness into our lives. We feel like we can't vote for the other guy that nobody
knows because god knows what will actually be voted in in in his place because we went against the political stream.
And, be it because we have 24/7 access to information and news every day or because things really are turning to crap, we're constantly reminded of
what we're stuck in and it grates us. In the words of Mario Savio:
"There's a time where the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at hurt, that you can't take part. You can't even
passively take part and you've got to put your bodies on the wheels, the levers upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it
Now we may not necessarily feel our irritations so far as Savio did when he said those words on the steps of Sproul Hall that we're going to do such
a thing. However, I think a lot of people can kind of get what he felt there. Looking out at the world sometimes just makes you feel like throwing
up your hands and saying "**** it".
I'm tired. Are you tired? I may not be feeling like throwing myself at those gears but man, I hate feeling like I have so little choices where the
number one employers and safe bets are those corporations, where the only car I can afford is a gas guzzling fume puker and where we keep having the
same old lousy politicians doing the same old lousy things because of the same old problems. It's kind of stupid.
You ever see Rage Against the Machine's video for Testify? It'd be hilarious if it wasn't for the fact that they were complaining about the same
things that some of us are complaining about today now 20 years ago and what's changed?
Nothin'. Frustrating, isn't it?