I hate work.
I really do.
I think most people do too.
And by ‘work’, I mean essentially any situation where you would not be there, doing that task, associating with that place or those coworkers, if not being paid for it.
That creates a pretty clear distinction between:
- careers that really challenge ourselves to grow, expanding upon our own potential, rewarding our efforts and investment of time and talents…
- jobs we do to pay off debts and otherwise serve as a checkpoint in life because we were told this is how to be an adult.
This is an important difference, but so often do we conflate ideas under one broad label. Just as we mislabel ‘work’, we confuse ‘success’ (equating personal fulfilment with competitive materialism) or ‘confidence’ (equating liking yourself with pride and vanity).
Okay, so back to me despising work …
Living in a capitalist society contributes to people internalizing values and priorities which foster stigma at people or philosophies that hate on work.
Much of this conditioning process happens subliminally, such that we will assume these beliefs are our own opinions (Inception-style).
Sure, it is common small-talk to complain about your job, or your boss, or coworkers, to repeatedly tell others how tired we feel, how little money we are paid or how much we need a vacation away from this 9-5 routine of cubicles, traffic, paperwork and computers.
But how often do people actually go beyond that litany of casual complaining to actually try to do something about it?
And no, this is not where I jump onto a soapbox to shame you for not “wanting it” badly enough or where I direct you to my book “You Suck: I can help”.
I am doing the opposite, to say congratulations for acknowledging your unhappiness.
The 21st-century capitalist lifestyle of “work-consume-debt-die” actually depends upon all of us remaining dissatisfied enough that we continue to consume things to cheer us up from work that we do to pay for our debts accrued from consuming!
For more on this Jedi mind-trick, click here.
But challenging any of this results in a 3-step recipe from the status-quo:
- Choose a label with negative connotations (communist; hippy; parasite; welfare; millennial; spoiled; lazy; burden; etc. etc.)
- Apply this label to anyone who actively disagrees with the system or who is otherwise already too fucked-over by the system to defend their reputations
- Keep these stigmatizing labels vague enough so that it can theoretically apply to almost anyone, thus ensuring we all worry about being called that name
For the reasons above, it took me a good while of my life to get comfortable with
a) honestly voicing my contempt for the capitalist model and
b) trying to create a real-life situation that slowly untangles me from work altogether.
And this was not my own doing but, like everything, was about learning from others – which in this case meant learning how to subvert expectations and redefine your life
(5 valid reasons to be a quitter).
Untangling myself from work and the capitalist-work mentality has required a lot of attention and effort and is something I personally still work at maintaining.
But here are 3 important revelations for embracing an anti-work lifestyle:
- Everyone has value.
You, me and everyone else should never need to defend our right to exist.
Self-worth is not conditional to how much or how little we “do” today.
Capitalism infected us with the idea that we have to fight to live on this planet.
- Effort is relative.
Genetics, ability, talent, time, money and other privileges all impact us differently. Not only is it easier for some people to adhere to the dominant capitalist-work lifestyle, but only some talents and skills are rewarded financially while many others are considered unprofessional and so are discouraged.
Education systems teach us all to learn only some skills and to do it at the same pace as if we are not all unique and that uniqueness is a strength for humanity.
- Life is not a goddamn competition.
We’re not competing.
We’re not rivals.
All that rat-race stuff is nonsense, told to us at such a young age that we forget it is ingrained with our basic goals in life.
We’re encouraged at an early age to step on others to get what we want but discouraged to see the wants of the community as the same as the individual.
We are taught to view the origins of the human species as a “survival of the fittest” and not survival by interdependence.
Or we are taught to view the history of the human species as a “might makes right” war-mongering mentality, where scarcity economics makes us think that we need to fight everyone if we want to protect infinite things like happiness and love.
It is with revelations like these that I am pursuing life as an artist, trying to write as much as I can while working as little as possible.
Every time I write I am succeeding at life.
This form of self-expression, communicating a shared experience via written word, is not a job because I do not do it for money but because it is enjoyable and challenging.
Nor is it a coincidence that writing also happens to nurture qualities of imagination and creativity that are so essential for visionary politics and human empathy.
None of these skills reinforces the status quo systems of oppression and exploitation.
The responsibility of every artist and writer is to use our talents to undermine archaic beliefs through art – to tell stories and illustrate the potential for new, fantastic changes, to help imagine ways of truly transforming reality for the better.
So this is my blog, to help me share my writing, my art, with the hope that I …
- Continue to try to inspire revolution, from large-scale social rebellions to small-scale personal revelations;
- Continue to try to articulate and echo the voices of those deliberately silenced, including people, animals and ecosystems alike;
- Continue to try to offer examples for others to realize our own courage within and all the many ways we can use passion and talents to bring awe and change.
I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics.
I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living.
That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.
Thanks for reading ❤