~After posting my article yesterday I was accosted at coffee later in the afternoon by two young men who had each read my article and vehemently disagree with me.
“Kenneth, I should not have to work a job that is hard work. Famous people throughout the ages were able to sit around and just think all day. That is what I want to do and I should have a right to do it….I want to think, read and write” said the first young man
“There isn’t any reason why I should have to work like a dog. Factory work, McDonalds, working for some corporation like Best Buy, and all those kind of jobs are dehumanizing and nobody should have to do those things” said the second young man
Such coffee house conversations often put me in a precarious position. It’s not my intention to get lost in endless disagreements with people, and the two young men who confronted me about my article were especially heated in their opinion, taking quite a bit of umbrage with what they believed I was inferring in my post.
One thing that often confuses me about the young men who hate the “machine” and the “big bad evil corporations” is that it seems as though their vitriol is rather hypocritical; they want to get all the advantages those corporate machines offer, but they don’t want to work in order for those corporate machines to exist.
In other words; I’ve never met a young adult these days who doesn’t own a smart phone, who doesn’t drive an automobile or use public transportation, who doesn’t use toilets that flush their waste away, or uses all the other modern perks that exist in Western Culture.
How do people think those things come into existence, through magic fairy dust? Smart phones, sewage drain systems, automobiles, and all the other modern conveniences that young adults who don’t believe in work enjoy….have to be built, maintained, and operated by somebody.
What would life have been like 500 years ago if every young adult said to their parents, “I refuse to work on the farm, nobody should have to work hard, I want to just sit around and think”. I’m sure the parents would have laughed at him, and if every young man stopped working on their farms, a massive worldwide famine would have ensued since 99% of all humans used to work in agriculture.
It is odd to me that I am sitting here defending the idea of working hard at a vocational job. This is something I have simply taken for granted my entire life. I was born at the very tail end of Generation X and the beginning of the Millennial Generation so I am somewhat caught in between two very different philosophical perspectives on life.
Younger adults don’t want to work hard. I get it, nobody really would “choose” to work a hard laborious job if given the choice between 8 hours in hard labor versus sipping pina coladas on the beach. But for the younger generation to demand the right to have all the modern conveniences, yet at the same time refuse to work hard for those conveniences to exist seems rather shortsighted at best, extremely childish at worst.
When the topic comes up at coffee, young adults often use the word “dehumanizing” to describe working at a corporate coffee shop, a factory, or other job. What does that mean “dehumanizing”; to make something less human or non human. So what then does it mean to be human?
I suppose that young adults believe working in a factory is “unnatural”, but then how do they justify using smart phones, automobiles, trains, CD players, and all the other forms of technology in their lives? If we are going to live entirely organic and natural lives, than shouldn’t we move to some indigenous tribe in the Amazon and walk around naked all day eating wild potatoes we find in the ground and stealing honey from bee hives when the little dudes aren’t looking?
I love nature. I believe many aspects of Western Culture definitely disconnect us from nature. But I’m also a rational person. I realize that we aren’t the Txapanawa of Brazil. We live in a particular culture, and have a particular way of life. While we should definitely do our best to creating good work conditions for workers, a cleaner environment, and other such things…..we still have to work. We can’t all be Socrates and sit around all day hassling people in the street and rudely accosting people with our lazy way of life; to be human is to work.
The great lie that too many young adults believe is that to be human is to not work. But the truth of the matter is that just like animals, we come from the dust of the earth. Ants, bees, and all the other creatures of the earth work hard, and so should we.
Of course, there is definitely time to relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee, which is what I’m about to do right now,
Categories: Culture & Society