“We’re caught in a trap”
Indeed. Elvis was right, and didn’t figure it out. The result was picturesque, to say the least. The trap, my friends, is the trap of modern society. Not just materialism, but the whole thing.
We start out life not working. Yes, our parents support us, but that’s not the point. Like all living things, we need to work to live. Humans have developed a very interesting method of having other people do work we don’t want to, for which we in turn do work they don’t want to. It’s clever. But here’s what’s happeneing now:
“We can’t walk out”
We get to the point where we get a job. It’s a good job, doing something interesting, and it pays well. So, we buy a car, so we can get to work in style. And now, because we have a car, we can commute, meaning we can buy a house in the ‘burbs instead of living in an apartment downtown. Now we suddenly need that car, and when it breaks down, we pay to rent someone else’s car.
“Because I love you too much baby”
Now we’re feeling a bit down, sort of like we have to keep this job. We have to pay for the car and the house, right? So, in order to make ourselves feel a bit better, we do something our parents used to do. We buy ourselves a toy. A computer, a new cellphone, a big screen television. And the cycle continues. Now you have to work so that your boss can reach you on your cellphone while you’re driving home to your television in that fancy car of yours.
It’s a horrible trap, and it probably doesn’t need to be that way.
A series of unfortunate mindsets
The idea of maybe having less, in material terms, appeals to me on many levels. Recently, while watching H2G2, I was reminded of this. At one point in the film, Arthur is asked by Trillian, whom he’s just met, if he wants to go to Madagascar. He says no, which she questions. His motivation for not going, it appears, is his job. She asks him why he can’t just get another job when he gets back, and it was at that point that I started wondering.
There are people, right now, who live on sailboats. The spend their lives sailing leisurely across the globe, plying the seas and seeing sights that most people will never see, and having experiences that most people can’t even begin to dream about. And they are doing this without the benefit of a job. When they run out of money (a resource they require very little of in the first place) they stop at the next port and pick up an odd job doing something someone else is willing to pay them for, and they do it till they’ve got enough money to continue on their way.
They work to live, instead of living to work.