For the mindful god abhors untimely growth
"Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture.... in our bourgeois Western world total labor has vanquished leisure. Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for nonactivity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture -- and ourselves." (Josef Pieper)
I was made redundant 15 June 2018CE from a computer programing job that was destroying my soul and not helping my body either. Why did I continue to submit to this until they unemployed me? Because I needed the paycheck and the medical insurance (I needed a pension, too, but no luck there even if I had stayed employed; and don't tell me about 401K's because I needed to make ends meet). Each night I went to bed hoping I would not wake up in the morning. That is surely something a cutting edge transnational corporation should be proud of being at the forefront of, yes?
Anyway, ever after, I have been perusing the "help wanted" ads (they have more euphonious sounding names when the human resource being solicited for is computer science graduate degreed still breathing Prime hominid on the hoof, of course). One of the pervasive themes running thru many if not all of the want ads is that the organization is looking to recruit people who thrive on and are eager to work in a fast-paced environment. As one neo-cannibal (wannabe "head hunter") informed me: "When the boss says: 'Jump!' you ask: 'How high?'" Why should anybody want to do that? Do bovines plead to be prodded?
I think I know one reason why, besides intimidation (people having no better options, since everywhere is the same), employers can get away with this: Because many persons as children, including ones who go to college at Harvard and Yale, were childreared and, especially, schooled to hustle. No, not prostitution or running numbers, but excited behaviors that are highly honored by America: Body contact competitive sports. I went to a "prep" school (day carcel for rich people's male offspring) named after Saul of Tarsus -- not the famous such school. The administration and faculty were far more interested in goading on a winning lacrosse team than in humbly thanking their Lord and Savior who got himself nailed to a cross to redeem their sins (but why should they pray forgiveness for anything, except as good PR? They were all immaculate, self-righteous teaches!).
They held "cheer rallies" which differed from Nazi political rallies mainly in the smaller number of party members in attendance and the absence of swastikas 卐, to pump up the testosterone of pubescent males to: "Beat Gilman!" Once, on the television, I watched the opening of a professional football game: The big hunks all thundered one-by-one onto the field to roaring shouting from the crowd. A minute into the game one of them was crying in merely mortal pain and while being taken off the field on a stretcher due to a severe knee dislocation. This need never have happened if the violent quasi-voluntary activity they were all pumped up about had never got off the ground. Why do I say "quasi"? Because they too had make a buck and to pay their bills.
From "locker room" public nudity fanning the flames of aim-inhibited pubescent hormones in the high school locker room, it's a short step from locker room teen barbarity to: "scrum" [that is not a mis-spelling of: "scums"] a cult in the corporate world for computer programmers with advanced academic degrees to get hopped up to go hurry up and write computer code to make an entirely arbitrary ship date for a product that perhaps nobody really needs. (There is a difference: even before I learned about the Holocaust, I was repulsed by the "shower" in the "boys'" (pubescent males) locker room at the school I attended, with its cinderblock walls, no windows, and exposed plumbing pipes. In corporate America, computer programmers "scrum" above ground in white-collar office meeting rooms with air conditioning and windows (the latter often cannot be opened, however).
I apply to job postings to continue to collect unemployment benefits; there are stern warnings that each recipient must do at least 3 different job search related activities on different days each week or suffer consequences. This is similar, of course, to trying to make it look like I was working on something that made no sense to me, to keep a supercilious manager from being distracted from his inane but he thought cute telephone twitting with cronies (girlfriends? who knows?) noticing me in the work office. (I once worked with a Data Center manager who earned himself a remotion to 3rd shift manager by telling his boss: "If you tell me to dig a hole, I dig a hole. If you tell me to fill it up again. Anything you want, Sir.' He was an old military man who made the mistake of resigning from the service after 19 years (20 gets a pension).
Why cannot the want ads ask for wisdom and depth of reflective thinking? Maybe they think that's a freebie they should not have to ask about or remunerate? Or maybe they are all day traders of Ph.D. degreed (USDA Prime) still living and breathing human cattle carcasses, and they don't even know what the word "wisdom" means except maybe for having to pay an oral surgeon to extract 4 out of each of their kid's mouth ("wisdom teeth")? Traffic safety signs that say: "Slow down and live" are clearly stupid and destructive/self-destructive, or aren't they?
One day after I had "graduated "(in liters or quarts?) they added a big display case to the entrance hall of the "upper school"building. They did not display enemies' shrunken heads, just varsity sports victory trophies. For the mindful god abhors untimely growth? Indeed, you can't have you trophy before you've played the season. And they don't give trophies to the losers for their honorable service in making the winners be winners. Things take time. We did have "sacred studies", but that was a 1-credit course joke; I remember nothing of what we did there except that the school chaplain was a sort of mixed-bag of part prig and part who knows what (some of the other teaches were pure prig, if not in the case of a couple outliers, some indeterminate stage of Alzheimer's sinecure). The closest anybody came to leisure was compulsory study hall, but, as Prime meat (close to straight-A student), I was permitted to go to the school -- yes, they actually had one, library, with a female vaguely middle-aging librarian even --, where, of course I did not study or read books, but I could at least look at pictures in The Illustrated London News. What a trip!
There even were a few co-pupils who were close to teratomas. One was a real ass-kisser (toadying, not sexual). Another was mentally challenged who, when he heard the chemistry teacher say nobody could really believe in God in the 20th century, caused the only religious act of censure in my six years at the school: the chemistry teacher was reprimanded, I believe, for saying that in front of the mentally challenged student. One thing we did have at St. Paul's Episcopal school, was religious freedom: I myself because a rabid atheist [today I would say: "anti-theist", a word I did not know then], which was highly unfortunate, because what I shold have been learning is nuance: agnosticism, since no Deity had personally interacted with myself (which is my current, rational belief at age 74 years) → but how could I not wish Saul of Tarsus had hit his head on the roadbed a lot harder when he had his epileptic seizure and fell off his horse on the road to a place I had little idea where it was; Damascus (Syria)? Better for a man to marry than to burn? What's that all about? As far as I was concerned, I still don't understand why they don't castrate themselves and everybody else and get over it. A pox on all prudes!
Back to that chemistry teach: Mr. Ron Mraz, Yale B.A.graduate (supposedly). He came from money. I once visited his apartment [atop the Emersonian], which was fit for Last Year at Marienbad, where he and his boyfriend spied on each other from opposing penthouses of these pre-World War ii grand dames (false: I think only Mraz's was actually a penthouse; the other dude's place was just an apartment on the top floor of his building, The Esplanade). raz had only half the penthouse, with his baby grand piano stashed behind one column in his entrance hall which was big enough to give piano recitals. In any case, he was caught stealing antiquities from his employer (St. Paul's School, again), who did not like that. After he left the school, Mraz moved into a lovely little Federal Period row house ion Georgetown, Washington D.C., across the street, I think, from Dean Acheson's residence or maybe is was some other Secretary of State, I forget. But that leads me to the treat I had a few times after college, of visiting Mr Marz and having lovely Coq au vain at Chez Odette's restaurant around the corner from his Federal Period [albeit, only rented'] house.
And history continues....
Well, my reader (if you are still with me?), you can see that I do not remember much from my childhood and early adolescence because there was little memorable in it, and only a few times was I threatened with bodily injury of some other really serious material punishment which would leave a mark. Ban me from attending my High School graduation for trying to sabotage the school's year book? No problem; I didn't like so have to sit and squirm in a chair in long staff meetings even before I had my first paying job. I do not want to offend anyone by making constant analogies to Nazi or Stalin's concentration camps, so let's split the difference (between that and all the Pollyanna prigs who think I should say I had a great childhood), and call it my stalag internment (it might have been less worse if I had been officer rank POW). I think that's a fair compromise.
What do prisoners of war try to do? They try to escape. I could not reasonably do that. If not escape, what then do they try to do? The try to work the system, to make their situation less bad insofar as they can. I wasn't good at it, but I tried. I was the only "bright" student in my class who didn't take French. I smelled that "ne cest pas" or whatever it was was going to be bad syntactic news; so I took the foreign language for dolts: Spanish. I didn't epect top learn any language, anyway, because that's not what resulted from completing foreign language classes. Want to learn a language" Learn it in the cradle, or if not that, to some place where you have to speak it to find a toilet and get your eats, not give a teach a chance to "grade" you. . Advanced Placement American History teach Louis Clark(e?) smelled really bad. (My reader, please do not misunderstand me: I presume these prigs deployed advanced technology chemical underarm deodeorants; I am talking about use of petty power to hurt or just not care about persons "beneath" themselves: doing unto others as they get indignant if others do unto them.)