Friday Night I Wrote This:
“As I left work (the last worker to leave, by chance), on my way to the door I passed through the gray and disorderly space left behind by people who do boring and/or irritating things for most of the hours and days of their lives. I felt great pity for us all. Cubicle dwellers are the modern equivalent of the millworkers who sweated their lives away for peanuts a hundred years ago.
I’ll never understand how they stand it. I’ll never understand why they don’t rebel, like the more educated portion of the people of Iran are doing now. Working Americans live in “the richest country on earth” (as our media propagandizers never tire of telling us), and these same workers watch on their TVs every night those Americans not incarcerated like them fling money around like water for fun, and destroy peoples’ lives in the process. They accept it all.
I guess the Poor have always done this. My fellow Poor, modern American variety, are kind and friendly to each other as they serve out their life sentences in their little gray cubicles. Maybe they make a statement of a kind by doing that.
But I think it’s more likely that “the most social animals on earth” (as I have heard humans called), simply accept whatever pecking order they live in as natural, without ever thinking about it. They only rebel when society become so oppressive that they can’t kid themselves any more that its structure is fair.”
On Saturday, I Think I Know
How They Stand It:
1. Most go home to families, unlike me, and forget the day’s work as soon as they enter their front doors. During the day, when they’re stuck at work, the knowledge that they have no choice but to go on enduring the boredom and irritation if they and their loved ones are to survive economically keeps them numbed.
2. Many never saw any other way of life growing up, so they never question their working conditions at all.
3. A lot never question the standard American ideology: The USA is “The Greatest Country on Earth.” And we alone have “Freedom”, and “the American Dream.” Moreover, the USA is totally a meritocracy, so we all have the “Opportunity to Get Ahead” and realize that dream.
a. So those whose jobs offer good prospects of advancement know that they are on the right track in doing their boring work, and they buckle down!
b. Ditto those whose bosses have DECEIVED them into thinking that their jobs have good prospects of advancement.
c. And the rest have to conclude, if they’re still sitting in little cells shuffling papers, then it must be their own fault, and they should just shut up and endure it.
4. Some like the work! (I even like a small part of mine.)
5. Some are not smart enough to do any better-paid work, and they know it.
6. A lot know that they are smarter than their work, but also know that for various other, apparently-unchangeable reasons they CAN’T do any better-paid work.
a. Of these, a minority (unlike me) are temperamentally able to accept and live with perpetual boredom and wasted brain power in return for economic survival.
b. And the rest aren’t, so they suffer each and every day of their working lives.
7. And some, of course, are simply people born with a sunny temperament who are not bothered by much of anything.
My personal problem is that I belong in the 6b group.
The problem of America, IMHO, lies in groups 2 and 3. In their thoroughly-propagandized heads, they are still living under the ancient “root hog or die” economic regime that now prevails only in underdeveloped countries.
These group 2 and 3 folks, who I think make up the majority of us, do as they’ve been taught to do in order to live in a world of perpetual scarcity. They ignore the vast sums generated by this society and then squandered on unneeded military junk, and they also dutifully refrain from envying or coveting the vast wealth of their betters.
No “spread the wealth” for them!
So, for a lot of us, no hope of escape from drudgery either.