The bare necessities, Calvinism and the “Anti-Work” movement …
This post is inspired by ermine at Simple Living in Suffolk, who reminded me of his own post today. I am rather pleased to note (Schadenfreude, Surio? Tut Tut !), ermine’s post was also inspired by Financial Samurai’s “gung-ho” (my post containing link to Sam’s original). What is nice about ermine’s write-up, is that unlike others who’ve restricted themselves to solely deconstruct Sam’s flawed arguments, Ermine takes a different stand and attacks the very core of the problem! Nice one, Guv. He points out that underlying all this angst and insecurity behind the (stale) arguments, is the brainwashed spirit of Calvinism, sometimes popularly referred to as The Protestant Work ethic (PWE). In a nutshell,
To put it succinctly, for me, the PWE means you have no worth (in society, your family and to yourself) unless you are productive each and every day and you get all your work done before you take time to play. The trouble is there never is any time to play because there is always more work to do.
I am willing to take a bet. EVERYONE OF YOU that read that piece were nodding silently in agreement, right? Especially the last line, right? :-P Ha Ha! Got you there, didn’t I? So, tell me, why do we persist with that pointless work ethic claptrap? No,seriously, Why?
The answer was of course my self-evident truth…BECAUSE IT IS. Everyone knows work is good, that you need to work to get ahead, to earn your rightful and esteemed place in society. No one likes a slacker or those free-loaders living off the sweat of others.
So, that’s why. Hmmm, that reminds me of an old Calvin and Hobbes strip:
Hobbes: How come we play war and not peace? Calvin: Too few role models. Calvin: I’ll be the fearless American defender of liberty and democracy… and you can be the loathsome godless communist oppressor. We’re at war, so if you get hit with a dart, you’re dead and the other side wins, OK? Hobbes: Gotcha. Calvin: GO! (WAP-WAP they shoot each other simultaneously) Kind of a stupid game,isn’t it?
Indeed, it is a stupid (and pointless) game. We work ourselves to the bone, lose out on everything life has to offer, then wonder while we are old, where did time fly? All because, we don’t know any other way. We’ve been told that, that’s the (right) thing to do. We were told to CHOOSE LIFE!. And we did too, because we simply don’t know of immediate role models for the other side
Solution: A Mascot, a spokesperson, a memorable figurehead is needed to defend the Down with the “Pointless Work Ethic” movement!
Which neatly brings me to the point of this post! Many will recognise from the blog post’s title the famous song(*) from The Jungle Book film, which was sung by the lovely endearing bear, Baloo…. Now, before we go further, I request you to watch the clip….. Go on…Go on….Go on….. (*) in which he tells Mowgli how, if you know the tricks, you can live off the land and still have a life of leisure. Now that’s a life! Here’s part of the song. Tell me, aren’t those lines simply profound?
The bare necessities of life will come to you
They'll come to you!
So just try and relax, yeah cool it
Fall apart in my backyard
'Cause let me tell you something, little britches
If you act like that bee acts, uh uh
You're working too hard
And don't spend your time lookin' around
For something you want that can't be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin' about it
I'll tell you something true
The bare necessities of life will come to you
Show the video to the most hard-boiled “careerist” (as I have). You are guaranteed one of these two reactions:
- A wistful smile comes up, followed by a gentle shake of the head, followed by a “I wish we all could do that” (you’ve planted the idea. They’re pliable in the next round of discussions )
- A violent, sputtering rejection of the video (on account of a core self-evident belief being challenged; carpet pulled underneath)
Nothing in between. Guaranteed! Through my own experience. So everytime you take time out, but feel guilty about not “doing something”, take a good look at the bear. Listen to his words carefully. You’ll realise why he’s wise and we are stupid. So, three cheers for Baloo! And a “Salut!” to all those that have decided to kiss “wage-slavery” goodbye, ASAP! You may not realise it now, But in the long run, you are the smart ones. So, my question to you is, what did you think of when watching the video? Let us know
Historic Side note:
I was part of the generation that grew up collecting soft drink bottle caps for the “Gold Spot” Walt Disney Jungle book….:-) This post brought back Happy memories! And look here! The man responsible for the campaign is on the web too. Small World indeed