Thursday, December 16, 2004

Day Two and I am quickly slipping into the other Universe

I must blog before I forget. Already, I see myself slipping back into the same rut that always dragged me down in office jobs. Walking home from the station like a zombie already! Grabbing something to munch on as soon as I've walked in through the front door, just to remind my animal self that I have a sensory existence! Wondering how to get more money, how to get more challenge, how to get more out of life, and how to find some joy.

So there I was, sitting alone in my office all morning. No computer ID yet, because hey, that's the efficiency of outsourced I.T.! And rather than be bored, I just sit peacefully, with only a shadowy view of a grey cloudy sky, under flourescent lighting, surrounded by old-painted magnolia walls. I'm studying the files that I'm supposed to file, even though the subject matter is alien to me, and although I feel no passion for it, I am still able to maintain enough interest to absorb the facts.

And it occurs to me, why couldn't I just get on with business like this when I was at home with so much time on my hands? I couldn't. I tried. I found I could never ever be a self-employed person, because I just could not bring myself to do it. Was it lack of motivation? No, because I needed an occupation, but that was not enough. Was it lack of interest? Well I'm not interested in Social Services either, but that doesn't stop me in my new office job.

It really must be just that I'm getting paid, or that I KNOW I'm getting paid. I know it's enough to live, even if it's not enough to live well. That security is enough, that in my own time, I feel I can apply myself to seek a task and aim to achieve something productive from it. At home, unpaid, no enormous carrot held in front of me can be my guaranteed reward even if I should struggle towards it. I can expend effort, but in the uncertainty of risky outcomes, I know that I might have nothing, absolutely nothing to show for it at the end. Is this the true essence of the chains that hobble a Wage Slave? I am surely a wage slave, then. Much as I may despise my condition, I am the quintessential wage slave.

I wonder how much of this is childhood upbringing, and adult habituated conditioning, or how much is inherently genetic? Centuries of civilization based on wage slaves must surely have an effect on the evolutionary selection and success and numbers of my kind! I blog this question for my future consideration, and any hope of finding a way to break my chains. I have admired self-employed people, particularly your work-a-day tradesman, for a very long time, and I must know why I find it so difficult to do what they do.

By the afternoon, signs of future despair were already showing. I had saturated my brain already with governmental systems that I found to be predictably bureaucratic and wasteful. Eager to find something concrete to do, I was relieved to finally get my User ID. Soon after, my usually absentee boss, who dropped in, found me a tedious job which will easily last me a few days.

The key word here is tedious. I've only gone into this temp job to experience the novelty of earning money again, and to benefit from the external social contact, and the external discipline it puts on my life. Yet instantly, the job she has dumped on me becomes clearly and obviously tedious.

Never mind the fact that I'm supposed to be intelligent, educated and above all this kind of work, blah, blah, blah. That's a simplistic and trite analysis, and not correct anyway. I judge a task to be tedious if it takes more time than is warranted by the benefit it brings to the world.

The question to be asked is, "At what point in time did my mercenary professionalism become superceded by my altruistic idealism?" Whatever I do, what ever task I should undertake, why should I concern myself with its permanence, and its beneficial effect to the world around me? I am supposed to only concern myself with taking my wages home.

This altruistic idealism is the characteristic that conflicts seriously with my wage slave dependency. Without it, I could surely have spent 20 years in the same job/company, like people I've met who I used to think were insane, moronic, or space aliens. Without it, I might have had the patience to reach a cushy little fatcat executive level, and sit there, and be the kind of person that the Talking Heads hated. A person who would finding myself at the wheel of a large automobile, with a beautiful wife, and a beautiful house, but not asking myself, "How did I get here?"

The very opposite type of person to me, and you've met many of them too, I'm sure, is entirely mercenary. They can be completely oblivious to whether their actions precipitated the destruction of the entire human race, the planet and all its plants and animals.

Could I be a little more in the middle? I'm not sure that the altruistic idealism is entirely caused by a fundamental Catholic belief that Good must always guard against Evil. I think some of it comes from an analytical and systematic perception of order. Where everything is eventually reduced to a mass of black boxes each with only input and output. A belief in Utilitarianism, brought down to Boolean principles of logic. Spock.

And I blog this, that I should remember to guard myself against it, for I need to be more mercenary.

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