Jack Saturday

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 284-285

If, like me, you go to work each morning and sit in front of a desk, you belong in the professional lineage of Sisyphus, the mythical figure damned to roll a massive boulder up a mountain, only to do it all over again when the rock rolls back down. After all, do you really make any substantial difference from your cubicle? Even if you carry a lot of weight in your office, does it matter, in the big picture, if you move 10 percent more units this quarter than the last? For anyone living a conscious life, office culture inevitably brings the onset of a mild sort of existential despair. Call it the blahs if you’d like: What am I doing? Am I just flushing 40 hours a week down the toilet? And unless you’re a heart surgeon or something, the answer is generally a resounding “yes.”

But you need that paycheck. You need those benefits. Your only hope, then, is to live in the moment, keep at it as an animal might, with consciousness tethered securely to the present. Don’t think about pushing that rock back up the mountain, about the brown-nosing yes-men eclipsing you, about the dehumanizing nonsense that presses in on every side, the petty tyrants in upper management using you as a salve for their shabby, wounded egos. Shut all that out. Just keep at it, left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, moving cell by cell across that endless spreadsheet.
The Drone Ranger
by Franklin Schneider
Washington City Paper
Aug. 26–Sept. 1, 2005

It seems to me that what you're advocating in BEYOND CIVILIZATION is that people live as parasites on civilization. I can't see what this has to do with living harmlessly.

Daniel Quinn:
"What you seem to be saying is that living as cultural predators (as we Takers do) is GOOD, but living as cultural parasites would be BAD. You need to realign your thinking about how creatures in general make their living.

Parasites and predators BOTH get their food from feeding on other organisms. The difference between them is simply that parasites feed on organisms that are LARGER than they are WITHOUT KILLING THEM (at least immediately--if ever). Predators, by contrast, typically feed on organisms that are SMALLER than they are--KILLING THEM OUTRIGHT! So tell me, how does it come about that creatures that feed on larger animals without killing them are BAD, but creatures that feed on smaller animals killing them outright are GOOD? What sense does it make to think that the farmer who kills the chicken outright for dinner is GOOD, whereas all the parasites that live in and on the chicken WITHOUT killing it are BAD?

This is the choice I'm offering in BEYOND CIVILIZATION: if you don't want to CONTRIBUTE your energy to the behemoth that is devouring the world, maybe you should consider DRAINING AWAY some of its energy by living on its back like a flea. Who lives more harmlessly in this case, the person who makes a living by contributing energy to the behemoth or the one who makes a living by draining some of that energy away? Personally, I vote for the flea."


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