Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Get a Job

The song was recorded by The Silhouettes in 1958, the year that I got a job that turned into a 37 year career. In the 1950's the expectation was that you would work at your career, build your home and family, retire on your pension and spend the rest of your life relaxing. By 1964 Bob Dylan recorded - The Times They Are A-Changin'.

Perhaps you have to be as old as I am (72) before you realize that, far from being synonymous, 'Standard of Living' and 'Quality of Life' can actually be in opposition as they are in my case. We live at a frenzied pace for a working lifespan that is now tending to last until we are entirely unable to function . . . then we die. The ideal of retiring, sitting down and relaxing has apparently been abandoned in favour of acquiring so much "stuff" that we can never find it or figure out how to use it. This shifting of values has resulted in MY Quality of life declining since at least 1980, perhaps since the late 1960's.

So, the imperative to consume, pushed on those who live in the industrialized world by corporations and the governments they control, requires us to work longer hours for less pay in poorer working conditions and . . . LIKE IT! Regressive politicians build their election campaigns by claiming that only through the growth of the status quo, guided by their skilled and loving hands will we be able to "Get a Job" and fully participate in the "Abundance" of the Holy Democratic Capitalist Society   —   BULLSHIT!!

The icons of the industrialized world - Capitalism, GDP growth, Free Trade, Patriotism, Competition, Globalization and most hideous of all, Consumerism have added up to such a decline in the Earth's resources that humanity may well be on the cusp of an inexorable decline towards extinction. When the unmentionable evidence of our excesses is exposed as it was on September 11, 2001 and we glimpse the manifestation of our actions and pause . . . . . we are exhorted to "Go shopping".

Our over-the-top lifestyles and refusal to think about change and even 'degrowth', a non-word which will take its rightful place soon enough, causes the insanity to continue as we rush towards the edge of the abyss. "Get a Job" is the mantra of success, even though you may have to get two or three to be financially viable as wages and benefits decline and full-time careers are consigned to the history books.

No one seems to be very interested in how many GOOD and LONG TERM jobs would be created by the building, operating and maintaining of a complete infrastructure for post-fossil fuel energy. Such infrastructure will, of course, be absolutely required at some point and might be very nearly impossible to build if we wait until so little fossil fuel is left that we cannot use existing construction techniques and equipment. For me, the choices are to start the transition now or wait until it is too late and we have used up the last of our options.

Perhaps the most damaging effect of the frenetic pace of life is the way it impedes our ability to think about anything important . . . like humanity's place in the Cosmos, happiness as opposed to survival, natural vs artificial and most importantly the relationship between needs and wants. Popular uprisings like the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement happen because some people take the time to look objectively at their world and search for progressive alternatives to the Status Quo.

If you are in the habit of dismissing the counter-cultures that arise from inequity, oppression or elitism, take the time to THINK, THINK and THINK again. The human experiment can only continue and improve through progressive ideas and actions - anything else will bring stagnation, decline and ultimate demise.

MY WEBSITE   —   ANewHumanity.CA

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