In a capitalistic society, any gainful employment must generate coin. This is the economic imperative, that to earn money, and to survive, something must be done that another can purchase. Usually this means an employer marshaling their workforce to build and sell, say, widgets.
In the Garden of Eden, men and women just fed themselves off of an apple tree. (Moses misogynistically wrote that Eve unleashed eternal damnation because she gave in to a serpent’s temptation.) There weren’t any bosses, no deadlines, life was very, very simple until the end of the predominant farm economy of the Nineteenth Century.
From labor specialization, as well as a cornucopia of manufactured goods, and trained service providers, came a vast economy dependent on us, ultra-dedicated, worker bees. We run around making sure our time is spent in activity worthy of earning engraved, green, bank script.
In Wall Street, Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gekko, extolls the primary mindset: “Greed is good!” More accurately, greed is great; and avarice, acquiring bank script at any cost to others, adds substance to lives that are essentially meaningless.
Earthlings have become cogs in a machine promising a great standard of living, but ultimately one that can deliver a great deal of stress, because everyone needs to monetize their time. Gone are the days of idly lounging about in a Garden of Eden, or of light labor farming, or gathering, for one’s self and family.
Since Irving Berlin penned I Want To Go Back To Michigan (Down On The Farm) in 1914, and then again in the 1960s, there has been a very strong desire to return to the simplicity of the farm, as we have become divorced from our own subsistence. Everyone is selling something these days, and it’s unrelated to what is directly needed to survive. 8/28/22.