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How did our lives end up so trivial?

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posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 10:50 AM
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I've noticed something the last few days I've been driving to work. Somewhere during the 20 minutes it takes me to drive the three miles from home to office, I often catch glimpses of the faces of the other drivers - always filled with anger, tension and general negativity. Now I'm sure this is nothing new to any of you, but let's really think about this for a moment. Is this really how mankind was meant to end up?

90% of us work jobs we hate, for 40+ hours a week, we travel an hour to, and an hour from work and we curse and growl the whole way. We wear uniforms we hate to please bosses and colleagues we don't respect. We feign an interest in figures and results which don't benefit ourselves but make our seniors wealthier. And we buy houses in crowded areas we don't particularly like, just to be near to the jobs we hate.

Why?

That question is of course rhetorical. We know why we do this. We do it to pay the bills and build some kind of security for our family.

Yet still, I just can't accept it. Our 40+ hour weeks ensure that our weekends are filled up with the home chores and responsiblities we don't have time to do during the week. So instead we just don't spend quality time with our families and close ones. Our kids are brought up by schools that just don't care (or don't have the money to care). And when we do get a few spare moments to relax, we fill them with mindless nonsense from the TV.

Rants like this are nothing new. The difference here is that I'm not going to suggest that the people caught in this trap are to blame. We always point the finger and say "You! You chose this way of life". But it's not true. The vast majority of us don't have a choice. The average person doesn't have the luxury of being able to not work, and though we all had dreams of jobs we would enjoy, as kids, in reality those jobs are near impossible to attain. So our only option is to take those jobs which bore us, spend 8 hours a day with those people we can't stand, travel those 20 hellish miles to the job we hate, and forsake that family time we've forgotten even exists.

How did our world get this way? How did we get to the point where control of our lives was taken out of our hands? Why do we spend the majority of our awake-time doing things that mean nothing to us? Shouldn't we be able to build our houses, grow our own food, and seldom leave the sight of our loved ones, like our ancestors? In short, when was our freedom taken away? I'm extremely confused as to how our existence became so trivial, how our time is spent on such meaningless pursuits, and imparticular, how we're all so convinced that this is the way it has to be.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

[edit on 16/1/2008 by Cythraul]




posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 05:09 PM
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This is a good topic and it fits well in this forum.

I have some ideas on this subject, but I need some time to give it some thought and some research.

I will point out that people do the kinds of things you describe because they seek a better life for themselves and their families and that is a noble endeavor, but they also do these things because of values that are somewhat overly materialistic.

I hope our members can address this issue and offer some insight into this sometimes paradoxical situation.

Thanks for your participation and forethought regarding this issue.


[edit on 2008/1/16 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 07:13 PM
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from the second we first realized we had life...
we're born on a spit of land on a speck of dust that's orbiting a larger, much hotter speck

you know what, someone else already said it best



[edit on 1/16/08 by madnessinmysoul]



posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 07:24 PM
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I think the OP is speaking more of the lives we choose to live that drowns our highest hopes in a flood of trivial pursuits.

On a cosmic level, surely the blobs of protoplasm on a tiny speck of even tinier atoms seem insignificant to those who are capable of such an assessment.

But, this is not the triviality of our lives. This is a condition of inhabiting infinity.

The triviality of which I believe is the topic of this thread is one that is self-imposed.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 01:17 AM
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i think in a round about way its allways been this way only our ancestors spent all day hunting, fishing, tending live stock, farming, building and repairing tools and weapons, gathering fire wood, gathering wild plants for food or medicine, making colthing and bedding , tending to the shelter. sure they probly spent more quality time with there family and loved ones but then again they were a true community. everyone needed everyone else for survival so the family its self served as a large portion of there security net where as now that security we seek has a materialistic value placed on it. forcing us to strive twords (sp) fullfiilling our needs rather then what we truly desire closeness with loved ones. i dont know i guess there have allways been work of one sort or another and all thats changed is the manner of that work and how much we get out of it. before we had pride for providing a comfortable living for our friends and familys where as now the stress of modern life has replaced that feeling of pride. thats all i have thought of so far i love the question thanx for posting this it gave me something to think about.

[edit on 1/17/2008 by krill]



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 03:26 AM
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Thanks for the replies. GradyPhilpott, I think you understand well what I'm trying to say. And I'd just like to mention that this is my first venture into abovepolitics. I posted this carelessly in ATS out of habit. Thank you mods for moving it to a more appropriate place.


Originally posted by krill
i think in a round about way its allways been this way only our ancestors spent all day hunting, fishing, tending live stock, farming, building and repairing tools and weapons, gathering fire wood, gathering wild plants for food or medicine, making colthing and bedding , tending to the shelter. sure they probly spent more quality time with there family and loved ones but then again they were a true community.

I think this is the absolute crux of my point. I agree, our ancestors have always had to work. I hope no-one is taking my OP as an anti-work rant, because I'm absolutely not opposed to work. The point is that hunting, fishing, farming and building all day is not trivial; it is a form of work that is so close, important and vital to our own lives that it brings about a great sense of well-being. In short, because it is so closely linked to our well-being, it doesn't seem like an obligation, and it has some real meaning to it. Back then, we were slaves only to the seasons and nature. Perhaps that is the way it should be.

But... right now, our perceived slavery is propogated by other people, higher people, a man-made system. I just cannot reconcile this universal concept of spending the majority of our working time doing something that does not benefit us - money aside. How can we be genuinely enthusiastic about dedicating our efforts to the well-being of someone else's company, or even a large corporation. We have no personal interest or emotional investment in that. We just do it... and worse yet, we believe that this is the way things must be.

I just don't understand how we got to the point where we spend the majority of our time doing something that means nothing to us, and at the sake of personal happiness and our family.

Perhaps I could develop the discussion by asking whether this was all a grand plan. Did the earliest powers-that-be deliberately orchestrate a future whereby our freedom to dedicate time to matters that affect ourselves and our family directly would be substituted for a forced subserviance to the interests of others?



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 04:11 AM
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Originally posted by Cythraul

The point is that hunting, fishing, farming and building all day is not trivial; it is a form of work that is so close, important and vital to our own lives that it brings about a great sense of well-being. In short, because it is so closely linked to our well-being, it doesn't seem like an obligation, and it has some real meaning to it. Back then, we were slaves only to the seasons and nature. Perhaps that is the way it should be.

But... right now, our perceived slavery is propogated by other people, higher people, a man-made system. I just cannot reconcile this universal concept of spending the majority of our working time doing something that does not benefit us - money aside. How can we be genuinely enthusiastic about dedicating our efforts to the well-being of someone else's company, or even a large corporation. We have no personal interest or emotional investment in that. We just do it... and worse yet, we believe that this is the way things must be.

I just don't understand how we got to the point where we spend the majority of our time doing something that means nothing to us, and at the sake of personal happiness and our family.



i thought i coverd that part of your question when i said

"sure they probly spent more quality time with there family and loved ones but then again they were a true community. everyone needed everyone else for survival so the family its self served as a large portion of there security net where as now that security we seek has a materialistic value placed on it. forcing us to strive twords (sp) fullfiilling our needs rather then what we truly desire closeness with loved ones"

now dont get me wronge here i dont think its right either. personaly if it were feasable id love to raise livestock and live in a small house somewhere that my nearest neighbor is a few miles off. i think the real problem is that were forced to need money and that is realy only attainable through hollow busy work. now there are some who love there jobs i happen to use to work with a electrician who was the most content man i ever met but that kind of job satisfaction is truely rare these days. and it will just get worse as time goes on as our society become more fast paced and materialistic there will truley be many obstacles to independent living and more people will become engaged in the machine look whats happening to modern day farmers it barely resembles the farming of years past . i hope i cleared up the point i was trying to make. and as for the powers that be theory its always possible but if that is the case then i belive it would have started as soon as production of any items espicialy tools could be done in large quantites because thats when people would have started to become more materialistic and less community oriented.

[edit on 1/17/2008 by krill]



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 04:17 AM
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reply to post by GradyPhilpott
 


i guess i was far too subtle there...

i was actually kind of pointing out that our lives aren't trivial because we're fighting against the odds of obscurity with every breath

sure, we may fighting for needless pursuits... but that's something we have to fight on a personal level. it's not a cultural thing

once a culture isn't fighting for survival as a whole, we tend to turn to leisure or other activities.
it's part of human nature to pursue the trivial while trying to make the individual seem the center of the universe
sometimes, in the pursuit of higher meaning we seek religion...
and then we have religions that say "we're the greatest of all creations and god infinitely loves each and everyone one of us infinitely. now some announcements: the church's coffee shop and christian record store are finally open"
...apparently these churches forgot that thing with the money changers.

if something is around long enough, humans tend to turn it to the trivial.
the trivial is safe
it's not risky
and it's comforting
it's a big win when we succeed, just because it's a success
and it's meaningless when we lose, because it's trivial.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 04:42 AM
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Originally posted by krill
i thought i coverd that part of your question when i said...

Yes, you did. I wasn't trying to dispute or even reiterate anything you said. I was actually just backing up your point, in agreement.

I understand that this system has developed whereby we must all take part in the rat race or perish. And to a certain extent, it seems like a natural progression (albeit a rather depressing one). But surely the very meaning of life is survival, growth (be it spiritual, intellectual, physical) and reproduction (translating as family). So why is the large majority of time completely unrelated to any of these things? Have we all been purposely discouraged, or drawn away from a life that has meaning?

My guess is - yes!
The elite have more wealth and better control in a system that is geared to funnel the fruits of global labour directly to their door. If our lives were spent in pursuit of our own well-being (hunting, farming, building, family), then we couldn't possibly be providing wealth for people we'll never even meet.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 04:54 AM
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i completly agree , and my feeling is as soon as large quantitys of tools and hardware were able to be produced is when it started. heres my theory why. you see humans as long as we have been humans have been tool users, and we used to strive to make the best quality tools we could to make there use more effective and therefore making our lives simpler and better. but once tools became available for sale or barter that were cheaply made but easily replaceable people would have took this as a convience. they would use the tools then they would break or malfucntion and instead of taking the time to fix it or build there own they would instead barter for another cheap and widly available tool. this would lead to the producers or backers of the producers becoming wealthy. more wealth means they could then produce other items at a reduced price such as clothing and the cycle starts all over again ending with them lining there pockets and the common man having substanderd goods and working hard to get them. which is esessionaly whats happening now just on a larger and more advanced scale.



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 03:00 AM
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GradyPhilpott, I'd love to hear that extended version of your thoughts on the subject, if you have time. Is our current situation merely a natural social evolution, or is there something a little more sinister behind it? Should we be angry about it, or should we just accept that this is our world now and there's nothing that can, or should be done to try and reverse our situation? And indeed, is this actually a terrible situation, or is my romantic imagination deceiving me?

Or perhaps someone else some thoughts on the matter?



posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 02:59 PM
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Others have spoken well to the subject, so there really isn't much I can add, but our lives have been trivialized because of our values.

We put status, prestige, and power ahead of love, respect, and service.

We value things more than people.

There's nothing new in this, except that these trivial pursuits were once limited to the privileged few.

Now, compared to those of just a couple of generations ago, we all have the capacity to live mean, trivial, mind-numbing lives and we do it shamelessly.



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