A joyful path to criticism - We Op-Ed - A Community for Political News and Civilized Debate
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We Op-Ed - A Community for Political News and Civilized Debate

There are many ways to apprehend the abuses our economic system inflicts upon all of us. One way will be explored as I discuss the feelings most American people place upon leisure and idleness. I will borrow much from the 19th century Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche; in fact I will paraphrase from his aphorism named, "Leisure and idleness."

There is something of the American lust for gold and the breathless haste with which we work for monetary gain, that has created a distintive vice manifest in the continued spreading of a lack of spirituality. A lack of good feeling mostly due to a sense of shame arising from one deciding to be idle or behave in a leisurely fashion as in relaxing and taking it easy. Any prolonged reflection which interferes with "gainful employment" causes one to have a bad conscience.

This illness of America has caused the perverse behavior of people thinking with a watch in one's mind, even as one eats one's midday meal attempting to learn the latest news of the stock market; one lives as if one always "might miss out on something." "Rather do anything than nothing." this principle, too, is merely a string to throttle all culture and good taste. This illness has resulted in the constant removal of form and beautiful imagery, the feeling for form itself, the ear and eye for melody of movements are also perishing.

One no longer has time or energy for ceremonies, for being obliging in an indirect way, for espirit in conversation, and for any leisure itself. This living in a constant chase after gain compels people to expend their spirit to the point of exhaustion in continual pretense and overreaching and anticipating others. Virtue has come to consist of doing something in less time than someone else.

People have become more and more ungainly, unsightly and ugly, to borrow a phrase from song writer Bob Dyland, " The rainman gave me two cures and said jump right in, one was Texas medicine the other Railroad gin, and like a fool I mixed them and it strangled up my mind now people just get uglier and I have no sense of time." Just look at the style of letters and written communication of any given time or era. Look at how we communicate by texting and blogging, and typing as I am doing right now. The style of letters and the spirit of letters will always be a true" sign of the times."

Our present sociability and art, if it offers any delight at all it is the kind of delight that very weary people who are over-worked devise for themselves.How frugal our-educated and non-educated people have become in regard to joy! How people are becoming more and more suspicious of Joy! More and more work enlist all good conscience on its side; the desire for joy already calls itself a "need to recuperate" and is beginning to be ashamed of itself. "One owes it to one's health"- that is what people say when they are caught on a joyful trip into the country. Soon we may well reach the point where people can no longer give in to the desire for taking a walk with ideas and friends without self-contempt and a bad conscience.

Formerly it was the other way around; it was work that was afflicted with bad conscience. A " good person" of "good" breeding use to conceal the fact that he was working if need compelled him to work. "Doing" itself was contemptible, this was healthy. Now we have such a perverse ethic that a world wide commerical from NIKE is admired because it states: "just do it."

How impressionable the American wage worker has become always participating in their own exploitation while denying this. The wage worker projects his own feelings of being exploited upon other pathetic workers like himself with such statements as, "well I would not let this happen to me." This same sentiment becomes manifest in the common phraseology of Americans such as, " I don't get mad I get even." This critique was addressed by Richard Pryor in his "You just messed with the kid," routine.

Work is indeed a four letter word.

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