Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Things We Do For Lack Of Honest Work

        Due to a diagnosed disability,I realized six or seven years ago that the type of work and career that the majority of people take for granted was not going to be a part of my existence. Never have and never will write out the idea of something in that area permanently  But I realized upon the diagnosis that it would've only been fooling myself to think that I could apply the same standards to myself as many other people do. The other night,I had a rather heated discussion with an old friend. One I've had with many others in the past. It was regarding the fact that I had a tendency to avoid conversation about this part of my life. And I realized that left me open to many negative suspicions on other people's behalf. This bought to my mind the question of why was I doing this in the first place? What did I feel so much shame about I had to had it?

          As an outsider looking into the world of people who are heavily involved in their careers and accumulating profit,it's clear to see that many of them view working hard and earning a good deal of money as the only key to personal independence. In fact I've often been told this flat out. This also leads to harsh criticism of those seeking alternative lifestyles,such as followers of the counterculture of the 1960's. It would seem that most people are of the opinion that if your contribution to the world around you doesn't involve punching a clock,working yourself into complete fatigue all day long to earn money you never have time to enjoy than one is simply not contributing. This has lead to a great deal of misunderstanding and sometimes complete intolerance of others.

         For much of the 1990's and the first decade of the new millennium it was clear that the majority of my peers defined themselves almost completely by fiscal considerations. And even for that defined by a complete corporate mentality. It didn't matter if your economic views were more capitalist or socialist-money was always the defining factor. As the economy itself decreased,the worse this (at least to me) irksome personality trait in so many different people increased. It was almost like a plague. And again,those who disliked this attitude wanted to blame something. The 1980's and the Gordon Gecco mentality was an easy culprit for this. But the fact there was no active resistance towards people's unseen avarice indicated it was an emotionally internal matter. Than came Occupy: Wall Street. Than this attitude of defining oneself by their work and money began to change.

       Speaking solely for myself,part of me not pitying myself for being disabled and unemployable,at least as most would understand it,came from learning to see that obsession with work and financial success as a hindrance,not a help to ones internal and outward ego. As Jessie Jackson said famously at the 1972 Wattstax concert one may be unskilled,one may be on welfare but they are somebody! Hearing that put an ending to my own personal understanding of the career defined ego structure. If someone were to ask me directly what I thought of this whole situation I'd say too many people,particularly those of my own generation and after,have traded in their idealism for a chunk of change. When these people ridicule and question me for not requiring the prospect of a jet set career and an enormous income in order to be independent or understand myself,it makes me very sad. And as much as comments like that disappoint me,I realize I am probably not alone in receiving them. And people should not fear the things they might do for lack of "honest work".

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