I think about it when I wait in line at 7.34 am to get on the bus with a whole line of people. Everyone seriously stands in a line as if they were about to be reprimanded by their kindergarten teacher. Or maybe they do it for a reason worse than social reprimand, maybe they do it because it's easier.
And the whole scene reminds me of the issues with capitalism. The bus-lady cog picks up the line of other cogs to take them off to the factories to make widgets. But before that, we sit in a line on 405 with all the other coggy-cogs heading off too. And some cogs are more important than others, but a lot of cogs just seem interchangeable.
I think about it on days (like today) when I feel like saying, "You seriously expect me to reply to emails and put a smile on and update the schedule and create another excel spreadsheet and make copies and just go about business when I should really be a. under my desk crying or b. at a therapists?"
I think about this whole 8 - 5 thing. We spend - at a minimum! - 40 of 168 hours per week (only 167 this week - thanks a lot Ben Franklin!) working to pay for the rest of it. That's 24%!! An approximate 29% is then spent on sleeping. So once you add the "time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet"* and the commute... we get to spend about 40% of our time on life. Real life. And that's when capitalism does feel like a contract saying "I will be your cog for a quarter of my life so that you can give me paper that I can then trade to fulfill my needs." [Josiah, if you're reading this right now, you probably hate me... Sorry.]
Then we went and made the whole thing worse. Someone had the brilliant idea to make a machine to make the work faster. Let's build a computer. First binary computer - 1936. Fabulous. Then in 1982 - the world wide web. Why web? Something a spider uses to catch its prey. The Internet with a capital I (until Apple made it lower case). Great - we can email. Do away away with memos. And, they seriously thought, people will spend less time working. Perfect.
But then it got really messed up when someone thought - lets make it portable. So circa the year of my birth we got "lap-tops." But they wouldn't stop there. Now, 2013, you're expected to put Outlook on your iPhone and you get to never really stop working. [Ugh... now my secret luddite sympathies are coming out too.]
I say all of that to intentionally mis-quote Churchill -
[Capitalism] is the worst form of [economy] - except for all those other forms that have been tried.**Sorry for the rant... I'm getting "back to work" now. But I can't wait for an economic revolution. Even if it was just a group that would stand for Monday - Thursday 10 hour days with a 3-day weekend. Even if it was startup who's motto was "we're artists, not cogs." Even if it was a group who danced to Billie Holiday while waiting for the bus. Life is too short to accept the monotony! It's too precious to spend it as a coggy-cog!! God made us for more than settling a paycheck so we can accumulate more stuff that will tie us down to a system we never agreed to.
Join me in the revolution! #refusetobeacog
*taken from TS Eliot's "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" - which is a stunning piece on the "cog-ness" of modernism
**Originally "Democracy is the worst form of government - except for all those other forms that have been tried."