Um. Thanks Capitalism. Black Friday is approaching, and I’m concerned about your safety. All of you. It’s the one of the days of the year when, apparently, homicide is totally cool so you can snatch up that tv for less! It’s impressive to see the level of ignorance North America displays when it comes to consumerism. I must admit, I’m totally guilty. I’ve been talking about what to reward myself with this year. For the past week, I’ve been looking up the best deals on the Xbox One. Why? What did I really do to deserve it?
We have a kind…of…warped reality over here. We think we deserve these things because well… we work hard. I read something a short while ago that I think explains what I mean better than I can:
“The 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.”
In the famous words of my best friend: “ding!”. And 8-hour workday is generous. Really, it’s more like 10-12 hour days depending on travel to and from work, what kind of work you do, etc. But it’s not all that bad, right? You can always find what you love. Find your passion and work a job you don’t hate. Follow your dreams and you won’t have to work a job you hate. While that’s true, you can pursue whatever you wish. Try, fail, succeed. Any number of possibilities. The reality is that unless there are a certain number of specific circumstances and occurrences that allow for that to happen, you will more or less end up working a job that isn’t your dream job. There aren’t enough “dream jobs”, “opportunities”, and “$$$” for everyone to be on an equal playing field. That’s how the “free market” works. That’s how capitalism works. You want to make a lot of capital, well… you’ve gotta have it to start. While there are exceptions to this… not everyone is going to be the next ______ (insert rags to riches story here).
It takes a lot of guts to take that approach. Give everything you’ve got to the thing you love the most, and all the while you’re kind of just winging it. I believe in the possibility. I believe in the infinity of possibilities, so I guess in way I would have to believe that somehow it would be possible for us to all coexist in some utopian society. I’m kind of conflicted. Duality! Does there need to exist bad for good to also exist?
“No one knows the state of the Lord. The Yogis, the celibates, the austere penitents, and all sorts of clever people have failed. Pause. In an instant, He changes the beggar into a king, and the king into a beggar. He fills what is empty, and empties what is full. Such are His ways. He Himself spread out the expanse of his Maya, and He Himself beholds it. He assumes so many forms, and plays so many games, and yet He remains distinct and detached from it all. Incalculable, infinite, incomprehensible and immaculate. He has misled the whole world. So give up all your doubts; prays Nanak, O mortal, focus your consciousness on His feet.”
Even though this sounds super religious, my interpretation of it is the significance of connectedness between everything. Life on earth. The interconnectedness of water, earth, wind, fire, animals, plants, humans, everything here as an impact. My actions today impact someone, and their actions impact someone else… there’s so much that goes on every day between us all, between everything. It is assumes many forms… in the universe, this force. Whatever it may be… it’s in all of us, in everything, impacting everything all simultaneously. At any moment, things can change. We are in a constant state of flux. We have to relinquish control, all the same time, we have to take control. It’s that duality again! We have to give up the fears, the doubts, the anxieties… we have to focus on the now… the idea that this is what it is right now, in this moment, because that is the only truth there is.