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Is Work Holistic?
Work-Life Balance. Evolution of Work. Did Work Change? Who Are You? WFH? WTF?
This post has been a long time coming. I’ve had to live like this for awhile to even get to a point to start to explain it. Permission to use an analogy? Let’s call it the tree house story.
Your kid wants a tree house. You think, ok I can build one. You watch a video. You go get the stuff. You build it. The kid climbs on it. It collapses.
Kid’s ok, but the tree house sucked. Is that a fail? Yeah probably.
Question: did you try to build the tree house? Or did you build it? Yeah, it sucked, but at least you know how to do it better the next time. So, not a fail?
My point? Thinking about doing something is trying to do that something. We get so lost today talking about trying, as if trying is a replacement for doing. It’s not. Or maybe it is. Maybe it’s just a cheap replacement in this day and age of superficial social media existence.
Just tell yourself, yeah, I tried. If tried means that you took a hit and considered getting off your ass and the video game. But nah, that shit’s too hard. I don’t do that shit. Nope, I don’t work like that. See there? I tried it, and nope, not for me.
So mere thought becomes definitive action - the try is justified. Effortless extra credit. Give that kid a trophy. So much of what we argue about today is right vs. left. What we should be arguing about is right vs. wrong.
Fire Burning. Water Running. People Working.
Sometime around 1885, a Miner built this structure and called it home. How and Why flood my mind, but Freedom and Liberty dam that flow. Upon further reflection, this could just be a late 19th Century expression of the origins of work.
Another example in the long lineage of the Work from Home Movement, which stretches from the dawn of civilization to the present day.
Britannica has a clear succinct expression of a massive concept history of the organization of work history of the methods by which society structures the activities and labour necessary to its survival. Work is essential in providing the basic physical needs of food, clothing, and shelter. But work involves more than the use of tools and techniques. Advances in technology, which will always occur, help to extend the reach of the hand, expand muscle power, enlarge the senses, and multiply the capacities of the mind. The story of work is still unfolding, with great changes taking place throughout the world and in a more accelerated fashion than ever before. The form and nature of the work process help determine the character of a civilization; in turn, a society’s economic, political, and cultural characteristics shape the form and nature of the work process as well as the role and status of the worker within the society.
This piece from Bloomberg argues that it will, with fully 75% of the labor force clanging keyboards in chonies going forward. I’m pretty sure that the Miner that lived in the house below didn’t work in his boxers!
That Miner could see the mine shaft from the doorstep. He didn’t need a mule to commute, he needed it to load his ore out. A view down the hill puts him at the doorstep of society, such as it was in Calico.
I shot this image with my back touching his door. That explains the why. But the How? Show me the individual that built this and I will show you America.
Cubicles Are Collectivism
I’ve been thinking about this post for quite some time now. It kept reframing itself with every new gig I worked or hustle I created. The process of work and how humans came to engage in it is endlessly fascinating.
As the title of this post implies, humans at this juncture in the arc of civilization find themselves in the recurring struggle with and nature of work. And what work means to a person as an individual versus what it means to society as a whole.
Individual labor moves a brick. Individual thought moves a movement. Which is more useful? Organized labor requires freedom of thought and power of agency that is denied to the individual laborer. I prefer Organized Thought, thank you nonetheless. Resistance relies on refusal to submit to collectivism.
A visit to Calico Ghost Town this past weekend unleashed so many thoughts and images about work that were graphicly displayed in three dimensional reality. Real work, and the real achievement it brings, from an era that would be unrecognizable today without the specific labor applied to the natural environment.
The Utopian Society places the Custodian on the same pedestal as the Surgeon. The Teacher equal to the Celebrity. The Cabin Boy is Captain. A Peasant a Priest.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I value each of those valued professions. I just wonder where the discarded organ goes, or the discarded child. Not to mention who steers the ship on a drunken binge or directs the demons during duress?
Each and every one of your material wants and needs and desires are met, without financial implication to you. You do the job you want to do. You have to do a job. But beyond that, every impulse is met. But you love your job.
You went to school forever to learn that job. You got a lot of nice things because of that job. Because of that job, you got more things than others. But, what if everyone had all of those things? Whatever job they had. No matter what?
Sure, a Custodian might experience less formal education than a Surgeon. But he lives next door in Utopia. One with greater learned experience cannot disdain one with lesser learned experience. Can one?
Utopia: a perfect society in which people work well with each other and are happy.
Switching Gears Radically!
I love breaking rules. I just do. Probably why I went to Prison. The faster the better. The harder the better. The more the better. The everything the better.
I break so many writing rules I drive my editors nuts. They redline me so hard I scream Ouch! But I keep breaking them rules! Almost here, one more ! and I’m fucked. Three in on paragraph! Damn!
So why does this keep happening? IM BLOWN AWAY!!!!
Shoe Horn to Success
Because of you, I talk about me. I talk to you. I talk about me talking to you.
YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU.
I wanted to give credit to the people that make my interpretation of work possible.
I know you heard this before. Because I say it all the time. And I hear people, like Jim, saying shut-up. But seriously, listen to this one. Like I didn’t ask you to listen to every other one. It’s a gift people. I’m cursed and you’re blessed. Just listen and satisfy that urge.