Work harder, you dancing monkeys!

As we ‘progress’ in our wobbling civilisation, there seems to be less and less leisure time. Which seems odd. Surely the idea of progress is that it enables us to do more of the things that increase our well-being (I was going to write what those things were and I suddenly realised that I didn’t really know! Perhaps another post is required to list them).

Well, more leisure time is surely one. Okay we don’t have children working in factories for 12 or 14 hours a day or whatever insane time period it was, but if you exclude the Victorian vision of hell you will probably find that prior to that time, periods of leisure was more common than today.

This year has seen a massive dip for me financially but counterbalancing this, I have had more time to indulge my creative interests and also to just do nothing and reflect on how things are done in society (usually very badly when you look closely).

Being busy has its own unconscious satisfaction; you can be busy digging out earthquake survivors or trafficking human beings into the sex trade, it doesn’t matter, being busy prevents reflection and philosophising. You get on with the job and if you’re making money as well, even better.

The problem is that we have been brainwashed to value only financial success. The idea is that once you have earned the money, you spend it in your leisure time. But of course all the things that are sold to us as ‘leisure activities’ require money. The more desirable an activity seems, the more it costs. The result is the hamster paradox; the faster we try to climb the ladder to more desirable leisure activities, the harder we have to work.

The truth is, in the developed world, we need only a fraction of the material things we aspire to. If people dispensed with the exorbitant leisure activities peddled to them by amoral companies – the alcohol, the holidays, the restaurants – they could live off a fraction of their salaries and work for only a couple of days a week.

Now get back to work you monkeys and don’t reflect on what’s been written here.

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