I always hated work, the way it was constructed, fixed hours, for pay, usually restricted to a ‘place of work’, restricted in resources and opportunity, mind, spirit and understanding of the historic and oppressive construct on which the whole rotten edifice of work is built (a model designed in the Industrial Revolution for exploiting labour [factory workers]).
Nothing about work was planned and organised for life, it was a contractual agreement between a payer and a payee mostly for the benefit (profit) of the payer.
It was restrictive, suffocating, dehumanising, uncreative and uninspiring and withholding and restricting money, the means of our survival, is routinely used to force compliance and obedience to government and corporate will.
Is our system of work and pay the only possible system to ensure the means of our survival as human beings or to express ourselves in the meaningful use of our time? Of course not. But you could be forgiven for thinking it was carried down by Moses from Mount Sinai and written in stone.
Frankly, it’s a mean shitty system with few essential life benefits for most people. It’s a transaction, not a life enhancing, holistic, experience and yet we spend the majority of our quality waking time working for many decades of our lives.
And in the end, what do we have to show for it? A house, perhaps? Animals do better.
I was extremely fortunate in ending up in vocational work and, even though I am retired now, I continue to work because it is life fulfilling and meaningful. Yet, whilst I was in paid work it was frustrating in the extreme because everything revolved around resources to which everything was, ultimately, answerable and subservient. And believe me, this was a relatively good job, as jobs go. It was in the public sector and it had been shredded, from Thatcher onwards, because it wasn’t financially profitable. It wasn’t a drain on finite resources, there were (and are) resources in abundance, it was entirely restricted for manipulative political reasons and we damned well knew it, and yet I mainly worked with vulnerable young people.
I am an educator, first and foremost to myself, I have developed the habit of enquiry over many, many years, such that learning excites the hell out of me. The process of enquiry, the investigation, seeking and searching, the sorting of the bits and pieces that emerge, demanding my attention, questioning the relevance of each and every part and the moments of intense, wonderful, breakthrough, when some new thing becomes clear and as complete as it may be at this time. But nothing is ever off the examination table, ideas change over time, new insights come, as do the benefits of the work of dedicated others, following the same or similar processes and enquiry into whatever their chosen field.
Like science, knowledge and understanding are tested against life, nature is the final arbitrator of all knowledge, including our most destructive inventions, bombs and weapons. A few nations (eight or so) of the world have detonated 2,056 nuclear test explosions, plus the two used by America against Japan, to demonstrate just how destructive they can be. Very, is the answer.
We live in a mad world and it’s getting a whole lot madder, daily. Our glorious leaders are taking us ever closer to Armageddon and, it would seem, the majority of people are only too happy to vote for it and to have their thoughts and opinions shaped for them, via the media and the one eyed monsters that dominate most households, in particular.
The voices of dissent are few and marginalised and I am more than happy to be counted among them. The future is in doubt as never before. No one knows what the world will be like in even 20 years time. Things, as they say, are rapidly coming to a head and Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and most world leaders are anything but the solution. It is the status quo that needs to change and they are not doing it, preferring to tinker with more of the same until the wheels fall off, which is exactly what’s happening on a daily basis. If you don’t care or you think that it’s a done deal and nothing can be done, then stop reading now. All you have to do is wait and, perhaps, see, but it might not be televised.
From my little position, here on the fringes, way out on the fringes, I would suggest getting very, very excited about life, this incredible gift we have each been given by nature, and learn to appreciate it and celebrate it more and more each day, because if there is a human solution that can possibly make a difference, we, the people, are it. Nothing of any worth is ever going to come from the top down, or the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Guardian or Sun (in the UK), or the one eyed goggle box. It is going to come from us being excited and exercised to infect and change by example.
What gets me out of bed every day is a deep. abiding, excited and relentless love of this glorious gift of life. I’ve worn the long face, I’ve written the letters, I’ve worn the tee shirt, had the stickers printed and stuck them, I’ve eaten the daily bread of their cluster fuck and it made not a shred of difference to them, not even a punctuation mark in their worthless lives.
I have the only resource available for change, and that is my mind and body, this cancer battling, determined and awed by life, mind and body carrying life in every particle of my being. It rattles my cage (a real cage, I’ve been bludgeoned to occupy most of the years of my life and not easy to deal with) every moment of every day, it’s a deep love and yearning that shivers my moments. A want and desire so deep, I feel like a stick of rock. We all wear the establishment chains to a greater of less extent, the danger is in thinking that we do not. The chains we wear have been laid down for centuries, we didn’t just get here in our life times, we are educated and steeped in the culture of chains. Just watch this and feel the power of this epic performance by the very aptly named Kate Tempest .
Feed your hunger, it will get you wherever you need to be. Consider that hunger holy, it is only there because you are alive, give it full rein, let it gallop ahead of you like a holy crusade and follow it excitedly and feed lustily and juicily and give yourself permission for more constantly. Be kind enough to yourself to open the door widely and seek whatever you need to live as meaningfully as you can dream in your wildest dreams and infect others like a virus.
Will we make it? Who knows? That’s not the issue, the issue is now, being here now. The future depends on right now, every moment of right now. Finding whatever we need to be inspired, there’s plenty of it about. You know the expression, you are what you eat, well, you become whatever you put your attention and focus on. This is not a time for dismal warriors, this is a time for inspired changers.
If you think you have nothing to offer, change your mind and find your own resources. Find and join others, or get therapy, get help even if it terrifies you. I did, and it did terrify me and I still persisted. I did not get were I am today without the most monstrous struggle, I was a drunk for 25 years, not the best route I could have taken, but I survived and the hunger never left me. This bastard cancer tried to kill me and I am still alive and hungry and in love with life and I will be until the last breath in my body and I will do all I can to be as infectious as I possible can.
If we want to live, let’s learn how to do it better, much, much better than this world has achieved thus far. I am 69 and I have never worked as hard as I am working right now, every single day, because I want to, choose to, desire to, with every atom of my being. Seek life with all the hunger of a lover and live it with everything you have.
KOG. 09 September 2020.