So, I was talking about how it seems we have designed a world that does not give us the time required to be human beings.
Thought I’d elaborate on that for a minute…
…This will not be exhaustive.
The first thing you need to be aware of is the fact that I don’t think there is one, absolute anything. That is to say, all the talk you have ever heard about optimal states or perfection – all that jazz – yeah, I think it’s bullshit.
I do not believe in the commonly held concept of perfection. You dig?
There is no paragon example, of anything.
If I am correct in my thinking here, it follows that there can not be any one, definitive way of doing things. (As there is no one definitive type of existing, there can not be one, definitive manner in which to exist.)
And yet, we have fashioned a modern world that assumes – as a fundamental principle – that there is in fact one, definitive, dare I say, perfect way of doing things; of organizing our lives, of dealing with our emotions, of having relationships, and of living and growing as a human being.
(Now, I accept that all humans share some commonalities. It only seems reasonable since we all seem to have similar wiring. But there are noticeable differences in any two human beings, and that means that – inherently – there must be a significant range of variance in how to be a human being.)
So, now I want you to take a moment and think about the world in which you live.
It’s possible that you are one of the lucky individuals who has the freedom of time, due to the way you make your living, or your age, or your particular state of grace – I have no idea really. You might be one of those people. If you are, take a second to be grateful, and then realize that most if us are not fortunate enough to live in that manner.
There are some common time strictures that we all must endure in order to live with each other inside a society. Most of us recognize those parameters and are fine with them.
That’s not what I’m talking about.
What I’m talking about is the fact that the vast majority of us live to someone else’s schedule. It’s entirely possible that those people do the same higher up the chain, and so on – up to a point. We have classes to go to and clocks to punch. We have things we have to do and deadlines we have to meet.
This, in an of itself is not abhorrent to the human condition. But like anything, let it run off the goddamn end of the earth and it becomes a problem.
I don’t think I need to tell you, but I will, that in our culture, if a little’s good, a whole lot must be better, right?
As it turns out, not so much.
Let’s partake in another exercise, to illustrate the point:
take a moment to recall any time in the last, oh let’s be generous and say, six months where you have needed time. I don’t mean time to get the laundry done, or finish the dishes. I mean time you needed to be human; to rest, to grieve, to cuddle, to figure something out, or to just sit in the fucking sun and breathe an unhurried breath.
I’ll bet all the money in my pocket right now that you can remember at least one. Some of you – quite like me – will have more than one instance, and even now you’re trying to rate which was the most important and poignant.
Now, I know the human brain is wired in such a way as to be able to shove things into the background, to be dealt with later. But that comes from a place of having to be able to deal with immediate and unexpected survival situations.
Somehow I don’t think a work deadline, or class, or take-your-fucking-pick should count as an immediate and unexpected survival situation. Do you? When did some objectively trivial ephemera of our daily routines attain the same status as a mugging, or being chased across the Savannah by a fucking hungry leopard?
(File this under: Just because a thing is possible, doesn’t mean it should be the norm. I mean, we can go to the moon. You’ll notice we don’t make it a daily priority.)
So why is it we have created a culture that makes time for everything else – all these human made constructs – but doesn’t make the experience and process of being human a priority?
Is profit and regularity so important that we sacrifice our piece of mind, our well-being, our very humanity to them?
(I never thought so, but that also explains why I’m not presently rich. Although, I did manage to become dependable, and I have no goddamn idea how that happened.)
And I don’t think I’m imagining this particular state of affairs either. I think most of us working stiffs – and that would be the vast majority of us – are stuck in this culture of “everything else comes before being human”. “Get the job done.” “Get over it.” “The world doesn’t stop turning…” It’s like some kind of sick machismo con game that we all seem to have bought into. We used to say “manly”, but that’s sexist, now we just call it “being an adult”.
If that’s the case, I think we have been listening to the wrong people when it comes to deciding what it means to be an adult.
So, there are some thoughts on that subject.
I told you it wouldn’t be exhaustive…
…Or maybe I’m just exhausted.
Either way, there are plenty of other examples out there to be found.
As Bruce Lee said, “Research your own experience.”
So go ahead and look.
And tell me that I’m wrong.
I’d like to be…