I am impelled to write this because this morning I was woken up at 6.30am with a text. This is the time my children get up to go to work and this is the time when they are able to communicate with their dad. Once in work they are chained to their desks, or whatever they call desks these days. They get home too late and too tired for me to talk to them. My children are no exception. My nephew calls me before 7 in the morning while driving to work? I ask myself, ‘is it normal to work such long hours in the richest and most civilized countries of the world? And yet, laughably we are always on the look out to implement freedom and human rights in other countries. Is this a human right to work these insane hours?
The profit makers will tell you how lucky you are to work so hard for the greater glory of capitalism. I saw the other day a Soviet era poster in which a long suffering woman was striding forward with some implement and the text said, ‘You are now a free woman, help build Socialism’. What can I say? plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!
Socialism, Capitalism, Communism, Democracy, Slavery, they all have someone wielding a whip-hand. Only, in a corporate state, the whip-hand is hidden behind a cloak. The robot behind the cloak only comes scurrying out when some outrage hits the fan and the share prices are in free fall and it is time for the rats to change ship.
And what is the motivation? What is the end result? We wear the goodies we buy or carry them around in our bags so we could play with them. The houses? They are left empty to collect dust which we clean at weekends.
What is it but human nesting instinct and the instinct to hoard against famine that makes us work all the hours in a day? I have no answer but I can only go back to the time when I was at work. I was lucky to work “normal” hours. Going back even further, when I was training, I lived in the same building as the Nursing School. I woke up at 8.55 and was in class by 9am. Don’t ask! Now I feel like a grandfather telling children about the good ol’ days.
The above poster is from the Soviet Era. The text reads “The better we’ll work, the better we’ll live”. If you can subscribe to that view without any irony on your part, Stalin would have loved you.
As I said before, I have no answer to this conundrum. All I can hope is for us to occasionally stop to take a rain check. We have to think what we are about, if we are not all to go tumbling around eternally like rats on a conveyor belt. Most of the questions in life have no clear answer. Solutions are just choices we make.