We are Losing the Fight for Ourselves
To me, everything and everybody has a value. Even the non-working things have a value to work out why they are not working and at least an educational value, if nothing else. My life has been one of trying to work out ‘why?’ How did something get to this situation?
Much of our lives are conducted in public, with some people operating only in public. They mostly have ceased to be in private, only mirroring or echoing the public viewpoint, so can only be happy in constant mass adorations and only taking pleasure in constant ‘bites’ of various kinds. Happiness is to have a self-worth, not requiring other people to give it to you, if they will. Many won’t, and deny that they have. But you buy into what system you decide on, valuing yourself among others by having the latest iphone or electric car probably not being a stable basis, as it can be a short-lived gratification. Consumer society and fashion has made many people subject to disastrous ‘company revaluations.’ The material against the immaterial world. The Zoroastrian concept of ‘good thoughts, good words, good deeds,’ being questioned with ‘yes, but is it profitable for me?’
We tend to get the society we design by our attitudes. A caring mind prospering a caring society, a callous and grasping mind prospering a callous and grasping society, with all the ills designed into the system. You get what you design, so before simply denouncing what is happening, you need to think of what you and everybody else did before it. Nobody is independent of this, whatever they decide is their version of the truth.
Gone are the moments of solitude where a person’s own voice can emerge from the shouting of those around them, so they no longer consider, ‘is this right, or is this good?’
So, people think not, and perform similar unthinking based actions, dismissing consequences as inconsequential and unimportant. Time alone for them is time wasted, the ‘fame’ being the goal. So evil acts can be easily performed without any due consideration.
The origin of the need for solitary thought, basically your own independent and private voice, was well known by Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Plato, as well as greats such as Pythagoras, indicated by such authors as Emerson and Orwell and versions defined by philosophers like Wendt, with the Viva active vs. Viva contemplative.
Contemplation and solitude have for most of societies existence been seen as the reserve of the unhinged and antisocial, ‘not a team player,’ used commonly as a damning insult for somebody who may think ‘outside the box.’ So independent thought and consideration is seen as offensive to the regimented and ‘well-ordered’ society we have become.
Much of our lives are based on pretty meaningless tasks, especially at work, where the mundane routine gives it little personal value, labour being seen as an endless run of the worthless just to survive, work being just a definable quantity. But, many employers, especially big ones taking the view that people they employ are ‘just production units,’ with no vital spark, skill or value above which they perform, except only in their fulfilment of their employment. There is no value seen elsewhere, so it is easy to discard without much thought as to the effect on other areas. Friendships quite often are viewed this way, ‘what do I personally get from somebody being my friend?’ rather than seeing friendship as a great worth all in itself.
Wendt segregating labour, work and action, but none of them really being separate and discrete entities and all interconnected, interdependent and interrelated. We have Caecus extolling ‘each man is the architect of his own fortune,’ but we are limited by how we are valued by those around us, much being lost in ‘value judgements’ based on little knowledge or experience of them, Homo faber vs. the homo ludens, with the emphasis on pleasure and enjoyment over and beyond valued work.
Modern life has this basis, similarly regarded in the past, but fewer having the option then, where people who can afford leisure being valued much more than those who need to constantly toil, in a Brahmin vs. Untouchable style, art though degenerating into a form of ‘that which is profitable,’ not that which requires skill and effort. The idea that how much you get in remuneration gives whatever you do value, rather than how well you do, is something has proliferated and saturated most areas of life. The mantra ‘do as little, for as much as you can get, or force’ being your worth, is the modern marketing and unions dream. Good business, but poor for self-worth, and that person who doesn’t value themselves has trouble valuing other people. ‘The bland leading the bland.’
But even the basic mundane and ‘worthless’ tasks have a value, the principle, not, ‘just do the job and think of better times,’ but to do the job or anything as best you can. Wash dishes, clean streets, perform complicated laboratory experiments, think of scientific or philosophical advances, they all need a duty of thought to be performed as best as they can be by yourself. ‘This will do, or be adequate’ being dismissed from your mind. ‘This is the best I can do with what I have,’ being the choice that should be made. Even when dismissed as unimportant, taking a pride in what you do, just going that one more mile, not to get adoration, just because you want to and do the job properly.
I have worked in many areas, a lot of them very mundane, but I see those around me constantly who regard diligence as wasted effort, ‘they don’t pay me enough to bother,’ being more important than ‘I will do best I can.’
Physical toil is as important as mental toil, the thinkers regarded as much ‘superior’ to the labourers, but the practicality of physical labour being seen as unimportant, where the theoretical falls down and actual, technique, and skill, being the reality of the situation, not the fantasy ‘angels on a pin head version’ of the theorist that achieves little.
Quality in industry is one of those areas, where now ‘if you’ve got the right documents’ is more important than ‘creating the best it can be,’ many processes being poor because constant expansion is seen as the marker for success, rather than getting the process as near to perfect as you can. I have seen the quality standards become little more than paper exercises, as over regulation and legislation missed the point of the whole exercise.
Old firms knew this principle, though many becoming quite hide-bound, the owners and originators degenerating into simple managers and supervisors, the quality of their products reducing as the importance shifted from ‘providing the best product or service,’ to ‘providing the product or service as cheap as possible,’ maximising the sales/demand, quality/quantity curves for optimum returns and the ideology of the mediocre. Economists rarely understand quality, except in theoretical rather than practical terms.
Quality doesn’t come cheap, neither does self-worth; thought, diligence, concentration and effort providing that. You get a long-lived result. So far I have never heard the comment ‘I am disappointed with this, they made it too well.’
Or do we live by ‘chuck out as much as possible for as much money and fame as possible?’ The consumer and discardable society, planning to consume ourselves, the workers, friends, family and any product out there quickly and cheaply, discarding anything and everything when it doesn’t work well.
We need time for contemplation and solitude that needs to dwell on what you did right, not what you did wrong though. Mistakes will be made, ‘a person who doesn’t make mistakes doesn’t make anything,’ but accept other people’s mistakes, as they, like you, are imperfect.
‘Today and tomorrow are days to start anew and do better if you can,’ not dwelling on the past; ‘they did and thought things differently in those days.’ Today’s society seems obsessed with what went wrong in the past and making the view of it ‘acceptable or palatable’ to the modern sentiment, so many people are constantly and vigorously unhappy with it, coercing all their judgements and how they initially view things, projection and pre-decided bias abounding. ‘We will put in rules so that it can never happen again,’ all the time the rules of the time probably being the reason why it could, and the new rules of this time guaranteeing that people of the future will think the same way of us.
Happiness is rooted in the present.
Think: adequate is only good enough for the mediocre. Today, make a difference. Everybody has a computer in their heads that even the best multi-billion pound supercomputers cannot match, and may never do. Most are regarded as worthless by others, rather than the wonder and complication they are, with just one single replication beyond all the riches of the world. The brain and mind: Use it wisely; use it well.
Luke 12:24-27. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Saint Jerome of Striden: For, in sooth, what regal purple, what silk, what web of diverse colours from the loom, may vie with flowers? What work of man has the red blush of the rose? the pure white of the lily? How the Tyrian dye yields to the violet, sight alone and not words can express.