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Why do we waste our lives as servants? (maladroit4u.neocities.org)
70 points by j7 1635 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 88 comments

Because life is hard. You might think yourself part of an advanced civilization, but the moment you step out of society, you live in a jungle.

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Illness will come, hardship will come, childbirth will come. Anything you won't be able to handle by yourself, by cause of weakness, incompetence or lack of resources, you will need the support of others to get through it. That support will be available if you're a well-integrated part of society.

I was lucky enough to know illness early in my career. I've been thought by this that I can't cut myself off from society, I can't go very far from hospitals without risking my life.

You are not a servant. You are part of a society, of which you need the services to get anywhere past your 40's. Serving others makes you worth being served.

The OP is not suggesting the rejection of community, he/she is suggesting the rejection of a 'life'style -- the American lifestyle. Clearly community is essential and I doubt the OP would disagree with that.

The "American life'style" ... What a load of uncritical, unthoughtful, anti-American nonsense. So do these non-American countries have air conditioners, plumbing systems, and so on? If so, how did they get there without so-called "servants?"

This is one of those things advanced civilizations really hide from us, so it becomes so easy to think the world is full of roses and nothing to be afraid of.

Rah rah.

So you are sitting in your economical abode eating your economical food with a pleased non-servant grin. And there you sit. And sit.

The urge to build or do will come. Building is better with others. And soon you are back to having to make trade offs to build something you want or people want.

To me, I'm always going to build. So yeah, all I can do is either pick the best masters available to me, figure out how to spread out the masters (client vs customer) or decide that in the name of freedom, I'm not doing anything and try to declare stagnation a virtue.

More like there you toil in the hot sun so that the crop on which your future survival depends doesn't become choked by weeds, devoured by pests, or withered from heat. People forget that agriculture was a back breaking affair and an often unreliable source of sustenance before mechanization and large factory farms came around. It remains back-breaking and unreliable for those in poorer nations not fortunate enough to have found a more high-paying "servitude."

As usual, Bob the Angry Flower says it best: http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif

Who said anything about agriculture? That shit's hard work. Does driving to the supermarket and buying food somehow preclude living off the grid?


You are my guru. I am only half kidding.

It's the supreme luxury to be able to reject society. It's a luxury that's only available to those who are either born to wealth or put a lot of effort into obtaining it.

There are also the "I just don't use money, man" people who are actually just living off the charity of friends.

Completely rejecting society is one of the most self-centered and egotistical things you can do. Only two classes of people obtain it: the very wealthy (basically, FU money) and vow-of-sileince monks (basically, "I'm never going to interact with humanity again").

There is a third way, of being present in the world for your worldly obligations, and being able to pursue your personal/inner growth and experience as well.

You can always reject one aspect of society while embracing another.

I understand how the author here feels. The whole market economy/consumption cycle is dehumanizing and serves those already in possession of excess riches at the expense of the common folk.

It sounds as if he just wants to try living for himself a bit more by being mindful of his purchases. He's more awake than most of the people I know so good on him, regardless of his sentiments towards society.

I agree that choosing poverty as a lifestyle can be egotistical, but monastic silence does not mean never interacting with humanity again. It's more to do with not speaking unnecessarily.


It's much easier to be homeless in a lot of developing nations like Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam. In the US you get thrown in jail/shelter for being homeless, in those countries though many people simply live off the land or work for barter their entire lives. It takes less effort than it sounds, but enormous fortitude to become an expat.

That's funny, because I was walking around San Francisco today and there were lots of homeless people on the streets, not in prison or a shelter.

San Francisco does welcome the homeless with open arms, though. Did you hear the city was talking about paying the homeless a stipend, for being homeless?

In the rest of the country being homeless is usually a crime.

What do you mean? While there are places that may look down on homeless people more than San Francisco, I don't think there is any place in the US were being homeless is a crime. That would be unconstitutional.

Maybe you are saying that homeless people are more likely to be criminals, which may or may not be true. But I can't imagine a place in the US where just the act of being homeless is a crime. Do you have a source or a reference to backup that claim?

You're right, making homelessness illegal would be unconstitutional. According to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-homelessness_legislation#U...):

> The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that there is a growing trend in the United States towards criminalizing the state of being homeless.[6] Proponents of this approach believe that punitive measures will deter people from choosing to be homeless. To this end, cities across the country increasingly outlaw activities such as sleeping, eating, sitting, and begging in public spaces, and selectively enforce more neutral laws—such as those prohibiting open containers or loitering—against homeless populations.[6] Violators of such laws typically incur criminal penalties, which result in fines and/or incarceration.

> In April, 2006 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that "making it a crime to be homeless by charging them with a crime is in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments."[7]

But, while criminalizing homelessness may be unconstitutional, criminalizing all side effects of being homeless is not.

It has been illegal in the past to be a vagrant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagrancy_(people)#United_States

Not to be dismissive of this but oddly enough many of these people would jump at the chance to live in America. Odd, that.

^ Typical american idiot.

You're just name calling. The parent made some claim extolling the nobility of homelessness and making some claims about being homeless in third world countries that I thought were little more than naked assertions and I called them as such. You're just parroting anti-Americanism. :(

I've always been partial to Voltaire's thought on the matter: "Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need."

Even if I had more time during the day to to whatever I pleased, I doubt I'd have the money to do anything interesting. I'd probably end up programming or working on something, which I might as well get paid to do.

I'd certainly rather program than maintain a garden. But I can understand why that's not true for everyone.

Work does not mean that you have to make others rich, however. You could work only to be saved from those evil and still get something in exchange, that isn't making the other party "get much more than you do".

For that we would probably need the biggest revolution we've ever known (thats not happening)

Exactly. I find programming relaxing (when working on projects I want), so If I wasn't working I would be doing that because I couldn't afford to really do anything else.

I also couldn't afford to do anything, probably couldn't afford internet at home either so I would be stuck.

Best of luck not working and instead doing whatever you like.

Who's a servant? I'm exchanging my free time for money in an exchange that I feel is very worthwhile, and the 'servitude' I engage in is intellectually stimulating. If you feel like you're a servant, you picked the wrong career (or you didn't pick a career...)

Not everyone wants to run their own business.

If self-employment is merely a "new boss," then why isn't self-sufficiency? Instead of relying upon the highly-developed apparatuses that society has created that enable one to achieve homeostasis and proceed through life, he is going to "indenture" himself to his bodily needs, creating far more work than in necessary. Is it better to be a "servant" to another than to be a "servant" to oneself? His point is incoherent.

Secondly, he presents this notion of a foundationally-flawed and perverse system, and asserts that he is going to leave it, without presenting an alternative. Suppose that one does reject society and become entirely self-sufficient. Then what? He appears to have no ultimate objective nor any motive other than disillusionment with the system. What occurs after he quits his job and builds a cabin in the woods? I'd rather be a servant to society where I know that I at least have nominal objectives and a context in which to live my life, than abandon everything and hope that a life of solitude (or whatever he intends to pursue, he was pretty ambiguous) is preferable to society.

His plan doesn't seem well-devised, and his explanation offers essentially nothing. Just because social arrangements in society are sub-optimal does not mean that abandoning everything is preferable, or even tenable.

I go through this all time time. Here's one from three and a half years ago: http://matt.io/startup/Hazards_of_Work

A year and a half ago I gave up, quit, sold my car, got rid of my apartment, and lowered my living expenses. I'm quite free of overlords at the moment, but stressfully unsuccessful and technically homeless (without being entirely poor).

Tomorrow I turn 30. This was not in my life plan. Need to daft punk it up very soon.

Sorry to hear things didn't go according to plan, but I did enjoy "Hazards of Work". Thanks for that.

This post really frustrates me. The moral is right and true: If you don't like what you're doing, stop that, and do what you enjoy. Find a way to make it a viable way of making money.

But thinking you can ever avoid being someone's servant... that's nonsense. The President is servile to the whims of Congress. Congress is servile both to each other and their constituents. CEOs are servile to their shareholders, and the shareholders are likely servile to someone else in their lives.

Often, they don't enjoy what they do either. But it's better than the alternative. Crushing poverty is something you're either extremely afraid of, or you've never lived it. Spending some hours on your weekdays doing something so you don't have to suffer that isn't a big deal.

The old equation for a long, happy life doesn't work anymore. With the rate of technological advancement, it probably won't ever work again. Why? Because 4 years ago, the iPhone had come out two years before and smartphone penetration was stupid low. The idea of an electric car getting car of the year was an absolute joke. Things that seem rote today literally didn't exist.

Working at a single company for the majority of your life also doesn't work. For one, people are wise enough now to know it's hard to be happy in an atmosphere that never changes. For two, many jobs barely exist for 3-5 years before becoming obsolete in one way or another, if you don't evolve with it.

But that's okay! We'll get the hang of this, as a society, pretty soon. But that focus you mention, on making your own shiny thing? Finding your own personal passion? Isn't that what our best and brightest have been telling us for at least the past 20 years, if not longer?

Sure, don't be a servant. But don't be stupid and avoid working for "the man" simply because it isn't what you want right this second. Sometimes putting up with a few years of grief can give you just enough leeway to do some really incredible shit with your life.

Yes but I think the author's point is more about giving up on capitalism and joining a peach commune and making your own house out of logs, filter your urine for drinking water, etc.

Wow, this is such a poisonous little screed.

If you hate humanity then fine, go live in a shack, be your own Universe, knock yourself out.

For myself I actually like humans, on the whole. I enjoy interacting with others, I enjoy helping other people, I enjoy building things, I enjoy working, and I think a lot of other folks do too. Work is not implicitly servile. It can be, of course, but it doesn't have to be.

Says the man who clearly put in a few hours of servitude in order to purchase the shiny contraption with which he wrote this essay.

Not even subsistence farmers these days are entirely self-sufficient. They still have to purchase some of the necessities of life from others.

Maybe in this modern world we are all servants, but at least we get to choose our masters.

I, for one, am done. From this day forward I will buy/grow the most economical food. I will buy/build the most economical abode. I will forgo the shiny thing or make one myself at a lesser cost. I'm so very tired of being a servant.

I have lived, or at least intensely studied, all aspects of that premise. While a laudable goal I casually aspire to, it is very hard work with low tangible payoff. I instead write software for others because being a servant - a good valuable one - pays off pretty darned well on average.

Why? Because organization and specialization get things done.

Is everyone going to have their own little farm and make their own clothes from the hides of the animals they raise?

Honestly, because most people have to.

I'm just getting to the point that I can probably work just half or so and sustain myself just fine. This is awesome, but I realize I'm overflowing with privilege. For most, this isn't an option.

Why do some live their lives as masters? Why delegate interesting work to others rather than do it themselves? Why give up that money?

You are not a servant when there is a fair exchange of money for services.

You become a "servant", or rather a modern "serf", when you lose control over such matters. It may seem subtle but it is an important distinction. If you are so indebted financially, living paycheque to paycheque, you are a servant to that debt and the interest it accumulates, you are a serf.

Without such bonds you can view your employer as a peer, a colleague, a contemporary, and not as your master.

Many of the criticisms on this page are valid, but the author's expressed sentiment, taken in moderation, can be very healthy.

I recently cut out a lot of unnecessary spending: Coffee drinks, restaurants, nearly all alcohol. My furniture is patio furniture from someone's curb. I stopped paying people to fix my appliances, preferring to order parts online and spend the hard time tearing them down (and yes, making mistakes). My main remaining expenses are housing and groceries (and since we've learned to fish, we don't buy so much protein). None of this is strictly necessary, I'm very gainfully employed, but it sure makes me feel a lot better about the value of my own work.

And now, the point of all this: I have a 6-month glide path in the bank, to protect against a job loss or other catastrophe. I also have a small sailboat and a small powerboat, which would be even more unnecessary objects, except that this is the one thing that that my wife and I do: We explore the sea as often as possible. In my honest opinion, this is one of the nicer definitions of having the world by the balls, and it doesn't involve being rich.

Sure, you have to serve others, and whether you choose (it really is a choice, and I fail as often as the next guy) to enjoy it is up to you. But you can still win, as long as you're damn certain of why you're doing it, and you do not waver.

I may be going toward a "middle brow" here but this is a lot of jibber jabber. You hear this sophomoric stuff all the time. What is inherently better about being some kind of mountain man survivalist or some commune peach grower? I don't use those phrases to besmirch anyone but what is inherently more "right" about those things? The author is denouncing "shiny things" and claims to seek to make his own "shiny things" whatever that means; I suppose technology is of no interest to this person as probably less than 1% of the population could actually build anything remotely similar to something like an air conditioner or a computer without ... some institutions of "servants" trading time for money to buy said shiny things and shelter. This whole "Working for the man sucks, I'm going to be a monk, the rest of you vain, vapid, shallow people" stuff is sort hilarious to me. It's just this pompous pretention of these sorts of people that claim to be above worldy goods and so on that is just so hard to take; in fact there is a rich history of people claiming to live for a higher purpose in just such a lifestyle, when in fact they were just as greedy and licentious as the rest of us.

So that others can be 'servants' to us?

I am good at making software products, but not so much at repairing my car, so I'd rather spend some extra time making software products for others so I can get someone to fix my car for me.

So much for the pseudo-philosophical rhetoric about the 'deadness we feel inside'. I'd feel dead inside if I had to spend hours on the bottom of my car or out in the fields, instead of doing what I enjoy and am at good at.

Why do we waste so much of our lives as servants to people that we don't care about?

I avoid that situation at all costs. My advice to anyone asking themselves this question is to simply stop working for, or around, people you don't care about. Solving that doesn't require a change in your economics, either.

No, we want to be servants for a large portion of our lives, apparently. We grovel at the foot of a master so that we can try to paint over the deadness we feel inside with bullshit...

There's a difference between being a miserable servant, and feeling enriched when put in a position of service. It really does have to do w/the type of person you are, and the type of people you surround yourself with. There are some people I truly enjoy working for, whether that be due to friendship or respect, or both, and I'll gladly devote hours of my life to their cause if they ask it.

At no time, however, have I drawn the conclusion that OP did. In cases when I've worked around people I'd rather not be around, I simply looked for better people or teams to work with. I didn't change my purchasing or other economic habits.

This rubs me the wrong way. I guess I don't see why doing stuff that makes someone else wealthier, even incidentally, is intrinsically a bad thing.

If someone happens to find their job challenging, meaningful, and enjoyable, learns a lot, enjoys the company of their coworkers, and achieves their personal goals while working for a company or starting a business, why would the fact that other people are benefitting from their work put a damper on their enjoyment?

Or, like other commenters have mentioned, a job or self-employment might provide the income and opportunities to enrich one's life by living in an interesting place, getting to meet interesting people, supporting a certain lifestyle, enabling new experiences, and increasing someone's standard of living overall.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think that it's a bad thing, either, for someone to derive enjoyment from the mere fact that they aren't making someone else richer. And if that's what the author values, more power to him or her. But I really think it's sort of silly that the author is so puzzled that not everyone else thinks the same way.

Has anyone turned an ah-ha moment into a life-long pursuit (and succeeded)?

None that have lived to tell the tale.

Living in interesting places costs money. I'd rather live in an expensive city and have to work 40 hours a week and be able to engage in interesting communities of people than live out in the boonies with fuck-all to do and no one to interact with just so I'll feel better about myself for not "being someone else's slave."

In the end we are all servants of one kind or another. An entrepreneur works at the service of customers, clients, investors, and employees. A rank and file employee is a servant to their boss.

Everyone is a servant to the government, too which you pay taxes.

Even those that don't pay taxes are a servant to their friends, family, it takes work to maintain those relationships.

Even those that don't care about friends or family, or a servant to god(or "the universe" if you prefer).

At the end of the day there is always something that tells us or guides us in what to do or how to act, wether it be nature, a boss, friends, or often times just our own conscience. It's the nature of life... which isn't to say that seeking freedom and greater power, control and independence over our own lives isn't a laudable goal, but it's a balance, and everyone has different priorities that make them decide where to strike that balance.

If you're young, healthy, and streetsmart enough, and the risk is acceptable, go for it. Take a summer and be homeless (or maybe even a year if you're in a survivable climate). You'll have some exciting adventures in amongst all the boredom and misery. And if you survive it, you'll learn a lot. Like why you don't want to live like that and what you actually want out of life. (Also maybe how to explain that gap in your employment at a job interview.) Plus you'll have some cool stories to tell your kids once you get old.

If you're older or wiser, you might want to consider a more positive-oriented way to address a midlife crisis - focusing more on what you want instead of what you don't want, and considering how to get the most value out of your time instead of how to get more time that's not as valuable as you'd like for it to be.

First, indeed fulfulling basic needs is cheap. If you don't take into account taxes! The cost of tomatoes mainly embed taxes. The cost of housing is almost entirely taxes. But assume you move to a low tax country or place. So basically you can live good working only one or two days a month.

But self sustainability (unreliance on other people) could only be archieved with a great population reduction. Yes, ecolodoomsters are right: the planet cannot sustain 9e9 individuals. But it can sustain them, and more, with industrial and efficient systems, like modern agriculture, where only 1% of the population works on food production.

If only 1% need to work to provide food for every body, then the rest of us has only to work 1% of the time to compensate the agricultors.

All the rest is taxes and banksters.

"Fight Club" movie already expressed these "ideas" with much more taste and style.)

The ideas are ancient. This guy feels like he's the first one to invent them.

What a vapid post. What is being a servant, exactly? If you quit your job and start growing all your food, aren't you a servant to the land?

The simple fact is that in order to get the things we need and want, we have to trade something for it. If your skills lie in something like tech (like most of us on HN) it makes sense to apply those skills to earn more money than you would driving a tractor.

And categorising anything non-necessary as a "shiny thing" is a great way of devaluing a lot of stuff. I took a three month road trip around the US. Loved it. I was a "servant" for a long time in order to be able to afford it. It was totally worth it. Was that a "shiny thing"?

The post has good intentions. I suspect this is one of those self-motivational moments that we all have in our lives. Where we want to quit working for the man and do something exotic and different. Like grow vegetables, start a restaurant, climb mountains, build some product.

Most people here are taking the writing too literally. Not everybody is a Wodehouse when it comes to writing. If you want to critic, shoot the writing and not the message. Don't take 'master' and 'slave' literally. Give the author some poetic freedom.

I sometimes wonder what's the least amount of money I could spend if I put a lot of money into capital that would save me money. For example, get a big solar array. Get a Tesla that I could charge at home. Get a hydroponic garden set up that would grow all my food. Save seeds. Dig a well. Solar water heating. Etc, etc. Obviously the upfront cost would be absurdly high compared to just going to the grocery store but it would be a fun project if I ever got enough money to do it.

What about the cool experiences that money can buy? This may not cost a lot, depending on what you want to do, but it does have a price tag. Not that I'm advocating the job treadmill as a lifestyle, but making a lot of money (say, by building a startup) has its benefits. When commercial space travel becomes a reality, I want to be able to buy a ticket to check out the earth from space.

(I'm not disagreeing with the sentiment of the post, but it seems to set up a false dichotomy)

Speak for yourself (duh...that's what the author is doing). I work for others to make good money to support my addiction to hobbies. I, for one LOVE quadcopters, reef tanks, micro-controllers, LASERs, PC's, my electric guitar, and everything in between. The amount of time I get to spend with my hobbies is MUCH greater than the actual 40hr work week. Fair trade.

It really is a societal agreement. We all benefit from it in the end, we can't do it all for ourselves so we divide it up. Just like agriculture allowed us to move beyond basic food survival needs to thinking people, we all do parts to advance quality of life.

It also gives you a sense of purpose. i.e. the power grid guys keep peace as much as soldiers as one example.

Brace Yourselves! NeoCities websites are coming.

Confused rant.

Pick a topic, servant to your employer or servant to pretty things?

Studies show people who are employed are happier than ones who are not. I'm sure the grass is greener on the other side right now, but there's a lot of evidence employment gives people more meaning than not having it, it's why lotto winners don't do as awesome as one would think.

We are only free to the extent of our own self mastery. Those who cannot master themselves, will find masters to govern them.

| We spend at least 40 hours per week working for other people to become richer than ourselves.

Sure, there are people like this. But a great number of people do this as a sacrifice to make their family's lives better.

I find this post boring, arrogant, and narrow-minded. These aren't new problems, and you haven't arrived at some sort of new solution.

We all have to answer to somebody. The lucky ones, answer to other men. The unlucky ones, answer to their conscience.

You might be a king or a little street sweeper but sooner or later you dance with the reaper.

(Go on then, I deserve it.)

The author may be interested in this company that build s super energy efficient homes http://www.seconstruction.ca

$10 Canadian to heat versus the typical $500 using a small "hair dryer" to heat the home in -20C weather.

Yeah but jeez, those guys at that company, what a bunch of servants they are. I bet they work at the company to buy "shiny things" ... we shouldn't support them. :)

It's nice that we can choose who we do or do not work for. Slavery and serfdom were pretty terrible.

I like my job; I don't think my work would be possible without cooperation and a shared environment. I don't mind serving others, if they are serving me too.

Rent. Taxes. The very land your house is on.

Unless you become a master you are required to serve. If you don't find a middle-ground that is acceptable to you, the alternative is to live like a hobo.

Some people actually chose that.

Working as a slave I can afford many more shiny things than I could make on my own. The stuff I buy can be made with professional quality whereas the stuff I'd make would be shoddy, at best.

Eh. If I had the means and the time to not be a servant, I'd go for it. However, I don't even have a business idea that I'm capable of executing on. So meh.

That's his point. He is not advocating you stop being a servant to a boss and starting you're own great company ... He's saying a startup is just another boss and really you should become some sort of acetic monk and live off the land, grow your beats and yams or whatever. You shouldn't even want any "stuff" what's wrong with you??!! It's just crap.

I love my current job. I enjoy going to work every day.

I hated my last job, but I didn't feel the need to have a public existential crisis about it.

Why do we waste our clicks upvoting this crap?

I wish the internet had an 'unclick' button

This may be off-topic, but it was rather fascinating watching that hit counter jump up by hundreds after just one refresh.

me too!! I was fascinated. I never knew hackernews audience could reach 5000 visits so quickly!!

it's on 8K now!! wow!!

It must be really popular. :)

if you work for a publicly traded company and you buy shares in that company, would you not be working for your self ?

I guess it is more like a question of how much time you are ready to spend in order to get money for the rest of it.

In US, health-related costs will easily bring financial ruin to a normal working person.

what does he/she mean by "And don't think self-employment is anything but a new boss. "?

He's purporting an ideology that says by starting your own company, you are simply engaging in your own indentured servitude. You're giving up your precious life to customers, shareholders, whatever just so you can buy "shiny things," anything but participating in capitalism. It's just think kind hippy idealism and moralizing.

Because I gotta get paid. Duh.

For the past few years I've been keeping a low profile here on HN. I visit, I listen to all I can, and refrain from commenting but today I felt the need to break my cycle, if only for a moment.

I have no idea who is behind http://maladroit4u.neocities.org but you aren't the only one who has stopped to ask perhaps one of, if not, the most pertinent questions that I believe touches the lives of many, whether they care to admit it or not today. With certainty I can tell you 1) you won't be the last with these questions and 2) from experience many will look upon your concerns as a waste of thought, don't hold it against them. I on the other hand, will admit for the record, I didn't stop and move on as if I'm contemplating "what's for lunch?" while scanning the pantry. I continue to question this very day and expect it will consume the rest of my conscious life.

Why? It is not only a question for me it is a problem. I simply don't believe there is anyone who is really out to come close to providing/leading viable passage to another way. I have looked and the options available don't add up. This! This is where I have the expectations of a fork forming in the road. After all, how could it be so? It is preposterous to even consider such is the case! However, I'm neither here to tell how you should live or where you should place importance. If indeed you have found your way, I cheer you on while being fully aware I have no immediate value to add to your life on this earth (But that's a lie as I believe it concerns you just the same). If you have not found your way, I have every intension of letting you know at some point how you _can_ live and where you _can_ place importance. I find that to be the noblest thing I can do within my capacity. The most economical is to die, but I've settled on such an arrangement not being very helpful to others in the long run. So I exist, if for nothing else, to see whatever's been within materialize in the hands of those who need it most. Few in life need to create bridges I have no other choice worthy of attention.

I maintain, highlighting the problems are easy, real solutions prove ever elusive. Short term gains, smoke and wind are always in play. Long term views are seen as an expensive liability. It's acceptable institutional policy to induce with wild garauntees that work for a time but fall apart at scale. Innovation is no longer sought and who's meaning holds no further weight. No one stops to question 'til shit hits the fan and life directly impacted. It only takes a crisis to see the climate is every man for him/herself. Last of all, it is so incredibly easy to forget, to be seduced and lulled into the sweet soft comforts of a soothing caress... there are no larger issues ahead my dear, no erosion taking place, let's question no more, be open-minded (hear that?) and live happily ever after.

So I commend someone is stopping to ask the kinds of questions exhibited on http://maladroit4u.neocities.org and agree with the oft saying, "an unexamined life is not worth living". I also felt it important to stress the author expresses a serious issue for some. And high on that list is equity.

I would be interested in knowing what was the author's tipping point.

This bugs me, because it's the cynical negativity that I often feel, but it's one-sided and extreme.

Except for hermits, all of us want services from others. Serving is, therefore, part of the social contract. We work, we pay taxes, and we do lots of work for others' benefit. Nothing wrong with that. To rip from Game of Thrones, valar dohaeris.

In fact, most people rot in a life where they don't get opportunities to help out (i.e. serve) others and become deeply unhappy. They feel unfulfilled.

It's the alienating and creepy institutional experience, the entrenched ingrate upper class, the perverse social demands, and the dehumanizing, corrupt, and capricious evaluation process-- and, in addition to all this, the fact that it has nothing to do with productivity (people could be just as productive, if not moreso, in better environments)-- that make institutional Work so horrible.

People like to do things for other people. That's not a waste of life. That's a major part of being human. Being forced to do things-- often boring, degrading things-- in some subordinate context is what makes people miserable at work.

Let's frame it in the "Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose" happiness rubric.

If you're smart, you level up to Mastery fairly quickly.

Once you're no longer an absolute novice, it's frustrating to spend your days without meaning or purpose. The novice finds meaning and purpose internally when learning. Once learning has plateaued, meaning and purpose come from integrating with society.

This is where the shackles of jobs start to erode your self: the masters at bad workplaces dole out meaning and purpose based on die rolls. They don't understand the connection between what people are good at, what they want to do, and how they should do it. You get told what to do. You have little leeway. When your choices are removed, the friction eats you alive.

Modern hippy startups try to get around the last part by letting people do whatever they want. Those companies can be pretty much counted on one hand though.

In short: companies exploit the Mastery of smart people while forcing you to look at Purpose through double slits and removing Autonomy resulting in your knobs of happiness being broken without you even realizing it.

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