At the basic level, work is the expenditure of energy.
In everyday terms, work is an activity done for someone.
But the theme of this blog is that of subversive indoctrination, so I am referring to our indoctrined definition of work is an where you perform an activity for someone else for money.
You see how there are two deviations from the everyday definition of work :
- That the work must be for someone else
- That it must be paid for
We are so heavily conditioned to see work in this way that it blinds us to many of the real values humans can offer to the World. One of the very very basic examples is that of a ’Housewife’, a demeaning term for a fundamentally crucial role. Normally a female role, because there is no direct payment for the service of bringing up children, caring for the home, shopping, and preparing meals, we treat it with way too much disrepect.
I have personally been proccupied with guilt on too many occasions when I take my daily or twice daily trips to coffee shops. I do recognise how very lucky I am to do this. But that I am merely lazing around, and ‘obviously’ not working is also a reflection of a global indoctrination.
Let me give you an example.
A friend I have acquired via these cafe visits has been struggling with his life lately. I have chatted with him, giving him emotional support, and some guidance gleaned from some of the many books I have read. he was sufficiently grateful to hug me. Twice.
Yet to a bystander, we wee just idling time away. At best, I was being a good friend. But no way was I deemed tyo be ‘working’. Yet in a very real sense, I was. I was expended energy to help him. I was working for his benefit. Because I was not qualified, employed, or paid to be a counseller, then what I was doing was not work.
So I was only ‘not’ working because of arbitrary labels. If I did the very same things as a counseller, I would have been deemed to be working.
More subtlely, I was applying knowledge hard earnt reading books. So when you see me reading in a coffee shop, rather than see me as ‘just’ relaxing, it may be more prudent to see me as both relaxing and researching – extending myself for the benefit of both myself and others.
One of the sad things is how much of my 51 years I have been oppressed under the weight of such indoctrination. I am trying to peel away these layers and give myself the credit I deserve for doing what I do, paid or otherwise.
This process is very similar indeed to that I went through to liberate myself from religious indoctrination to become an atheist, albeit one who respects religious people.
It is only in the process of addressing the indoctrination that you first become aware of it. This itself is an enlightening exercise.
The catalyst to this article was this anti-indoctrination article : http://www.anxietyculture.com/purpose.htm.
When you think about people toiling away at work, just realise that the capitalist mechanism, underpinned in many ways by competition, results in many many people duplicating in large what their competitors do. This is fundamentally wasteful – each Insurance Company has their own suite of extremely expensive computer systems that do pretty well much what their rival systems do.
Imagine what we could do without that duplication of effort?