A friend of mine recently made a comment about just wanting a job that he didn’t hate given the US job market which values scientific, technical or engineering skill over other abilities.
My reaction was, why does anyone need a job? I like asking questions like this which seem to have obvious answers… Here is my edited reply.
You only need a job because this society goes out of its way to prevent you from living self sustainably. You can’t live anywhere unless you pay for it. You can only pay with money. You can only get money if you get a job (with a few exceptions). If you want a job you have to pay for an education. See how it loops? Vicious circle. Add to that the whole indoctrination that in order to be happy you need a car, a nice PC, a big TV set, blu-ray disk, brand name clothes, i.e. stuff that only multinational corporations can make, and it becomes impossible for people to imagine that it is possible to live a clean, happy, healthy, rewarding life without any of that stuff. Some of it is nice to have, but it isn’t essential for even a high level of comfort and happiness. In fact, it is irrelevant, irrelevant in much the same way that the difference between wearing Levis and wearing Levi knock-offs made at the same factory is irrelevant. It is only a matter of perception, what you believe.
My friend said, “im not a mathemetician, engineer, computer programmer type of person which are highly valued in the US in terms of salary anyway. I just want a job i dont hate thats my not so simple request.”
If you share those sentiments, then you will be happy to know that as someone who is not a mathematician, engineer, etc. you are actually, evolutionarily speaking, very well adjusted. It is the society that is messed up. My theory, borrowing largely from Jared Diamond, is that the number of people who actually fit into the laissez faire capitalist consumerism infinite growth society that we’ve created, or any other major hierarchical system, is always a extreme minority. You have to understand that humans have been here for 200,000 years. We have only had “civilization” with leaders, followers, domination and submission for the last 10,000 years of that, in other words 5% of our existence here. For the other 190k years we lived like some indigenous people still do today. In those societies, nobody has a “job”, nobody has to get an “education”, they eat well, have much more free time than we do, and are generally much more happy with far less stress and mental illness (when left to their own designs and not interfered with, that is). They also, in fact, have a much higher average IQ than we do, because their environment demands it. What I’m saying is if you could get over the grass skirts and eating live bugs part (supposedly they taste really good….) you would fit right in and probably feel much better. You are supposed to feel better there, because, and this is the point, we humans *evolved* to live exactly like that, not as we do now. The last 10,000 years of “progress” is too fast for us to change in a major way evolutionarily speaking except for some disease immunity here or there and some skin color changing back and forth or what have you. So deep down inside we all want to live like the “natives” but we have been indoctrinated through fear of disease, discomfort, death by wild animals etc. that that lifestyle is brutal and short. It is not.
The natural state of a properly evolved human being is to have no ambition to achieve anything beyond health and happiness, which, if you change your perception, you can have right now without changing anything in your life. Why aren’t you happy? Because just maybe deep down inside you don’t really have any ambition. But because society, your family, or your spouse expect you to achieve something, get a better job, be respected, or what have you, you feel guilty about that. And so you push yourself to achieve, to acquire, to please. That is a recipe for unhappiness. First and foremost, make yourself happy, because only when you are happy can you truly support others to become happy and to make a positive difference in the world. The way to do that is to accept yourself just as you are and not judge yourself by the standards of others. You don’t need goals, you are perfect already. There is always room to grow, but it is enough to grow inside. You don’t need to grow materially. Go ahead and let go of everything in your life that isn’t absolutely essential to survival, and you may just find that simply lightening the burden of daily existence is all it takes to allow you to discover what it is you really want.