Thursday 16 August 2012

Work and Virtue

I have never been an advocate of hard work as a virtue.
Labour and effort are part of survival,
but should never be considered virtuous.
Our culture has placed an unnecessary weight upon our collective shoulders.
And it is making slaves of us.

I blame capitalism in part, because it creates the incentive to delve into greed.
We are encouraged to indulge our selfish desires.
More is better, and society rewards those who take more than they need.
The wealthy are held in esteem.
The Canadian dream is not to build a vibrant and healthy country.
The Canadian dream is to win the lottery.
And while we could be using our experience and innovation to relieve the burden of labour, replacing it with intelligence and skill,
instead we dream of the day when we have more money, so that we may climb that impossible ladder of supposed success.

Of course, this is a sweeping generalization.
But, the pace of life and work is undeniable in this part of the world.
It shows no sign of slowing.
We work harder to invent time saving devices,
only to use that time to create more work opportunities.
And a wasted effort it is.

I am not suggesting that we should all live a life of unmitigated leisure.
But the need to change the meaning of success is becoming more imminent.
Excessive wealth should be the target of derision.
And so it seems to be among those less fortunate.
But the lottery is a sure sign that the lower income families yearn to raise their status.

And so success is weighed by capitalist balances.
Drive and ambition to reap the benefits have become revered.
Work is considered to be a virtue,
regardless of the outcome.
Acts that contribute positively to the human condition should be considered virtuous.
But work in and of itself serves as a purpose and has no intrinsic value.

The results are exemplified by class warfare.

Natural resources are rendered into economic value.
Then traded for labour and skill.
The mechanism of wealth captures our resources and skills.
In theory, economic health is predicated by exchange.
But accumulating economic wealth is hoarding.
One person's gain is another's loss.
A division is created, and the social fabric is torn for no other reason than greed.

The American dream is the biggest lie.
So many souls aspire to great wealth through hard work and enterprise.
In reality, those with an advantage remove the capacity for others to succeed.
It's like the lottery; not everyone can win.
The lie culminates when those who have hoarded the country's wealth goad those who have not by suggesting that the disparity is direct result of insufficient hard work.
Strangely enough, this motivation harnesses the energy of the human spirit,
and channels more skill and talent into economic value.
Which in turn is needlessly sequestered in the vaults of the hoarding class.

Equating work with virtue is like a mantra for a slave.
And so we enslave ourselves.
The lie that we all believe.

We work so that we may live and survive.
Casting the mattock down is not the solution.
But caution is deserved for whom we work.
Allowing ourselves to believe that toil will elevate our status, financially or socially
is the true formula for slavery.
Stop to rest.
Observe the true value in home and family.
They say that money cannot buy happiness.
How has that fact become so elusive?

1 comment:

  1. One of the biggest lies is the tale of the self made millionaire (or billionaire). That if you are rich it's because you earned it through hard work with no outside influences, and if you are poor then it's because you haven't worked hard enough. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a great read about this myth.