Jun 1, 2005

protesting the protestants

You know what, I'm not a protestant
I don't even have distant relatives or ancestors that were protestant
and you know what else?

I think the protestant work ethic is for crap

Wikipedia defines the protestant work ethic as such: - also known as the "Puritan work ethic" - is a biblically based teaching on the necessity of hard work, perfection and the goodness of labor. Protestant preachers preached on the goodness and the necessity of labor and its efficacious effect for humans personally and on Christian society as a whole. Protestant preachers saw this as a salve or a correction for original sin.

Damn Puritans.

I mean, I drink coffee and alcohol. I engage in a variety of sins that puritans probably never even DREAMED of.
Without shame.
Publicly. I'm a heretic and a glutton and a slut by puritanical standards, damnit. Oh, and yes: I curse. I do that, too.

So, why, please tell me, am I supposed to believe that endlessly toiling, as quickly and consumingly as possible, for the sake of toiling, is going to lead to my salvation?

Am I even seeking salvation?
Are YOU?

Now, lets get things straight: I think people should work. I'm all for making every endeavor to assist the world with being a happy, healthy and bountiful place. And there is, most, certainly work to be done.
The lands must be farmed and the houses must be built. And, honestly, people have needs that aren't being met.
I won't give you my "people are starving on the streets" speech, you've heard it, you know it, and you know there is work to be done.
But when most people think of going to work, and they think of a "work ethic" and how it defines them as fine upstanding citizens, are they really thinking about what they are contributing to make more people comfortable or less people hungry? Are they contemplating cleaning up the planet or even producing what they consume?
Are they imagining how they can be of use to solve the myriad of problems that face us and keep us in fresh veggies and warm safe places?
Or are they thinking of something much more processed based as a means of proving their worth and showing their neighbor how "good" they are?

Does it go "today I contributed to the world in (fill in the blank) and earned my 13.79 an hour because thats what such a valuable contribution is worth."
Or do people want me to get early to bed, so I can be early to rise, so I can be healthy, wealthy and wise enough to catch the 7:15 bus to work on time, because thats just what you do?

Am I helping the world? Myself? Or just demonstrating that I will live up to certain, possibly ingrained and antiquated stanrds, to prove my value?

And then think about this: for thousands of years we have been creating more and more efficient methods to produce the things we need. Think of the damn industrial revolution, the technological boom. Should it take less time to do certain things now, and thus require less work? And yet, somehow, we are expected to work even longer hours, and we don't even get a damn siesta anymore.
I mean, if my grandfather slaved away to create an assembly line machine, shouldn't that earn me a damn nap?
And to top it off, there are the unemployed. People who can't find jobs. Theoretically, there isn't enough work to go around, but somehow 9-5 became 8-5, and in some worlds the last one standing at the end of the day is the first one to look to for guidance.
Pay attention to that man! He's a hard worker! He's got his priorities in order!

So I'm going to assert something, and then not stand by it, because frankly, I can't afford to lose my job:

If everyone wants to start trying to solve the worlds problems and we find it takes us ALL over 40 hours a work to get this shit done, then fine.
Early to bed I'll go.
But until then, I'm just going to fundamentally disagree with the notion that we should be working 8-5 to produce more useless crap while telling others in the unemployment line that there is no work to be had.

See, as it stands, I think we should get naps and long vacations and take time to produce beautiful music and art and share the load. I think we should eat slowly, drink happily, and arise when we feel most refreshed.
I think we should engage in many wanton and purifying acts and spends lots and lots of time gazing into the sunset and climbing mountains and telling jokes to our friends and fucking like happy little bunnies. And I think we should go to work when we feel there is something important to do, do it for as long as it takes to get done, take breaks when they will help us focus, and then go gaze at more sunsets, climb more mountains, tell more jokes to our friends and fuck some more.

And I think the effort that we make to enable others to experience this kind of prosperity, the work we put into increasing the joy, happiness and peace of those around us,the appreciation we know for the life we are living, and the humility we display when sharing the load and the fruits of our labor just might be the "redemption" we all need.

8 comments:

Dave said...

"posted by daff0dil @ 4:28 PM"

Seems like you really wanted to get out of work 32 minutes early!

Why so angry at the christians?

They have sucked for thousands of years.

Did anything specific happen or are you just tapping into free flowing bitterness?

Bjetsey said...

I think she was set off by my emailed complaints about having to get back to work after my mexico vacation: "Why don't we have siestas in this barbaric country? Is it the goddamn founding puritans? because i'd like to say that I was never ever ever, even when I was a grain of dirt, a puritan. I just know that I have always been lazy and always (until this lifetime) had a siesta daily. WTF?"
I think it riled her up to remember how suck ass no siestas are. Be careful what you email, the lorbrain is always cranking over!

daff0dil said...

yep
that set it off (and for the record, I stuck around until well after 5)
but I've also had this riling frustration with the guilt people feel at getting up late, or going home to their families. I'm all for ambition, but I dont want to make my entire life a competition over who can work the most, get the most done, or "do" the most in general.
I'd rather ambitously attempt to enjoy, explore and create things that will make the world...well, better


sigh

Anonymous said...

well, you CAN do that quite easily, go on, quit you damn job. you just have to give up creature comforts and security, and maybe wind up ONE OF THE HOMELESS PEOPLE THAT YOU SEE. pros and cons, the carrot and the stick.

since i am lucky enough to have a relatively lucrative skill ($40-60/hr freelancing) and to have toiled in a way that would have made puritans proud to get myself vaguely on the toehold of being halfway in thei neighborood of "established" in my chosen career, i have in fact been following your dictum of working less and doing it at my own pace, and doing other things more, and it has in fact been a part of a general upswing in happiness on my part. so i guess i would say your theory is good :)

chris pez said...

i still find it interesting that the only prejudice allowable amoung the lefties is one of religious intolerace towards western christianity.
not directed at you at all my non-protestant friend, but more at responder #1.
save the hate for those that truely deserve it, brother.

daff0dil said...

understood
pretty much lower income caucasians and christians are the only fair game left
I don't know how I feel about that either, as financial disparity is becoming one the biggest handicaps, and in general, hating any one group tends to be problematic in some way

Dave said...

I hate to threadjack, but I also dislike being misunderstood. I’m not prejudiced against western christianity in particular.

I hate all religions more or less equally.

I suppose I have a particularly burning hatred for christians because I’m surrounded by them all the time and they are constantly rubbing my nose in their stink.

I might hate hippy idiots who want to replace the (admittedly shitty) government of Nepal with a theocracy more, but it’s close.

chris pez said...

hey man, if you're comfortable in your bigoted skin, don't let me stop you.