The Modern Job
Everyone has experiences of them, some pleasant, some not. "Job" is the name for the kind of work that keeps the modern society thriving, at least according to its own goals: to grow upon and on itself, seemingly developing but in the end, wallowing in the same old waters that stagnate and grow more tainted every passing day. That is wholly natural: such is the course of life of human cultures. First they flourish and morph as they do battle with their surroundings, trying to adapt to the daily challenges. After they have got the upper hand, the fundamental core begins to form within the group, now a blooming civilization. That heart thumps for a moment until it grows black and dies, leaving an empty husk, which is still being worshipped as the only truth, the cornerstone of that dying civilization. Its priests and their flock do not see that they stare into the Abyss itself with their enthralled eyes - the black hole within draws us into a downward spiral, wedging us away from what we first sought to comply with: the world.
The center of the Western civilization is individualism, the idea that every human is an equal unit with correspondingly equal rights simply because they are all individuals - separated. That is, a standardized form of human being. Perhaps it was the introduction of Christianity that started the downfall by giving rise to mass-revolt when the exoteric side of its ideals rooted into the European people. Thus, our numbers increased that in turn disrupted inter-communal relations, diluting them from a few strong, many-threaded and vivid bonds into innumerable shallow handshakes no better than a quick glance would be. All vivaciousness lost and differences swept under the yoke of a linear truth of inherent value within human beings. Life is given a definite value and by fixing that attribute, quantity remains as the sole variable of this equation of society's overall happiness. Do you know your neighbors?
As they say, "eyes are the mirror of the soul". I feel the same applies to the appearance of societies: its features practically scream out the contents of its heart. If we take one aspect of a given group of people, it is irrelevant how far fetched the matter under scrutiny might seem: it bears a piece of the group's soul, being a facet among countless others. Job, or modern work, is one such facet but as its origins have already been dealt with, a question remains: how the "job" links with the modern soul; what are its practical and grassroots features that give it away as bearing the mark of the Western society's ruin?
Considering how the bonds between people have been broken to achieve an individualist society - unwittingly and without direction, I may add -, a jumbled mass of units, it must surely show in the face of work as well, no? Much like the lives of the modern people, the job itself is distanced from its surroundings and is bonded to only one thing: money. How could it be otherwise? A mass of people, severed from the soil and set off alone to the despairing seas, doomed to get lost; what connection could they possibly have to the work they choose to slave under every passing day other than the slim straw of what they themselves yearn for? The desire for freedom is what plagues their minds but they cannot attain what they crave, for other units long for the exact same thing and their desires keep each other down. This society is based on the whims of the abstract individual: a downright miserable compromise for everyone involved.
Standardized, pushed into norms, regulated! Day by day, excluding forgotten weekends, it is the eight hours that you commit to your quest for freedom, which looms in the unreachable, foggy distances of your mind. In order to control such large masses of people at least somewhat efficiently, they must have uniform schedules, as well, and function rigidly like some binary switches. Through the tepidity of morning traffic you drive, seeing hundreds of faces whose features won't stay in your mind for even a second; there are simply too many of them. In the cubicle, factory, workshop or various sites in need of repair you spend your hours only to return home empty-handed, through as fervent, swarming a traffic as in the morning. You are rewarded for your work with the de facto tokens of exchange that signify your power in the society, giving you control over material within the human sphere (excluding savages who don't know of such tokens, of course). To be more able to buy: that is what you sweat for, and "freedom" becomes mere slavery to material as you cannot buy the inspired visions of poets nor the immaculate bond between lovers; the abstract individual is not aware of but the very base, the imminent reality, the material.
Were one to remove this aberration of once noble work from our midst, the surroundings would surely morph since the job is essential to the continued progress of the individualist society, that is opposed to transcending mere materialism. To work for something else than solely individualist ideals is antagonistic to the modern society as it suggests of higher ideals than simply chasing material comfort, and asserts a bond between the worker and his environment, which he influences by his meaningful toil.
As man had begun to search beyond the "mere" sustenance that the soil provides for him in exchange for hard work; to flow only by a riverbed of the least physical resistance, and thus lose his vision of truly Living by the fruits of earth, materialism rose, and by the opposite direction it also shall fade and sink into oblivion. Although on principle, changing only a single facet of some gigantic heap of problems wouldn't solve anything, the way we work is so important that if it was to morph one day, certainly the rest of societal structures would follow very soon. Certain matters are essential to our survival and thus the core of any society, and sustenance surely is not the least of them, quite the opposite. However, the significance of this also works contrary to what the writer of this would hope for: it would require tremendous change in how people view their existence, and what their priorities regarding sustenance are.
Thus in conclusion, one is faced with the dilemma: how to change the nature of work, if it is so tightly tied to the general spirit of people, and vice versa? Like our society came to be what it is now through technological advancement, resulting in a definite change of our habitat, we need a similar kind of shift in our surroundings. What that change would be, one cannot tell for sure; natural catastrophe, nuclear war, or perhaps a violent takeover. What is certain, however, is that cosmetic changes are not enough to turn the course, and we must go through the painful way of adaptation to once again to realize the simple, yet decisive value of a patch of berries waiting to be picked; the thrill and strain of hunt; the sight of rain clouds over thirsting fields.
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