I just read the book “The refusal of work – The theory and practice of resistance to work” by David Frayne. One idea that he is talking about inspired me to get a little bit clearer about my own thoughts with this post. And that is the question whether we as a society could actually accept a work-free life, if technology would take over all our work. I would guess that many people are in the same place mentally as I am. We have been broad up with much of our time devoted to building our employ-ability. The main focus of education has been to give us the particular knowledge we need for a job. Learning for our own benefit and inspired by our own interests has become very rare. And even outside of education we have continued to “work” on our employ-ability. Learning social skills and doing activities that serve a purpose in our CV.
|Teaching work-skills has become educations main purpose|
Why is work so important to us?
Many of us have now a twisted notion of which activities are worthwhile and which are not. We will rarely pursue long-term activities which are not related to work. This shape our society and living environments in a much deeper way than we might first think. Many fields of knowledge are largely forgotten because they do not serve any economic purpose. We design our lives almost entirely around our jobs and work-requirements. We are willing to abandon relationships, move to other areas, take long regular commutes (daily or weekly), destroying the environment in the process and many more harmful behaviors, only to pursue our careers.
And because this behavior stresses us out, we fall victim to all the advertisements we see throughout our lives and spend our free time, consuming and spending, flying to exotic places, all in the hope of make that little bit of free time that we have as worth-while as possible. The increases in productivity are not used to increase our freedom and free time but to increase our consumption and thus keeping us work as much or even more than before. Advertisers are constantly creating new desires in us and without the knowledge of what is going on a grand scheme we easily spend our money while never getting whatever hopes the advertisements created in us.
How work influences our actions and society as whole
I believe the reason for our actions lie in the way we have been broad up. And the only solution here is proper education about what is going and the knowledge of the alternatives. If most of your days activities served the purpose of work, than it is difficult to give value to any other activity. Realizing that this has been going on consciously or unconsciously your whole life, helps you to see work in a new light. Most of us highly over-rate the value of work and therefore stigmatize the people who actively pursue less working time and more freedom.
In that way it is difficult for us to accept a future with less work. Even if we could have a lot more free time, we are driven to keep amount of work, from two sides. Advertisements create new desires and possibilities to spend our income. The indoctrination we have been living under, has turned work into the only valuable activity to shape our lives around.
I am highly interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. So please share your ideas with me in the comments.