Oh God, I had such high hopes for this story, and here I am at the end of it feeling empty and down. You know why? Because it is a long and polished explanation of how shitty labor represents, actually, one’s destiny.
Let me explain, please.
Nobody should do those “labors that are necessary”.
In brief, we as a society are simply too lazy to outbid our birth conditions. We do not work to advance from a world where everything is work, towards a world where everything is leisure, although we, all, each one of us, hate work.
I think the best metaphor describing this hate towards work is that from the story of Abel and Cain. Work is the punishment Cain got for the fratricide, and it is beautifully described as:
When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you, said God
That is, only with sweat and labor can we get anything done. But that is a damn curse folks, not something we should cherish and over explain.
I get the idea of the story. It is OK to stop and weigh carefully what you can actually do in life. For example, I could decide that I love writing more than I do making software for the Web, but, upon close consideration, at my age I cannot last, on biscuits and water, the years it would take me to become a future writer who earns as much as I am paid today for my current skill set. I think that, doing web thing for fifteen years, I worked my way up, and as a writer I’d require another fifteen years to get to the same level. See, it is not only about skills.
It is not only about skills. It is also about the starting position: who do you know, who knows you, who runs the place … where you are in regard to the place and so many, many other factors.
So, in my mind, the ending of the story cast aside the good intentions laid at the beginning.
We’re doing people an incredible disservice by telling them they should seek, and pursue, what they love. People usually can’t differentiate what they really love and what they love the idea of.
I should have seen it coming, my disappointment, from the fact that, in reality, only the second sentence above is valuable, while the introductory one is an empty assumption.
People should be told to seek and pursue what they love. That is how you end slavery, all the forms and shapes in which slavery is manifest: in the mind, in the work or in the soul of a human. You cannot do anything of significance unless you seek and pursue what you love.
The only caveat of seeking and pursuing what you love is to be careful how you earn a living and just be freaking responsible about your life. Don’t refuse work because it is “below” your level of awesomeness. It. Is. So. Easy. The blabber outside is justification for: wasted time, wasted talent and wasted energy.
But to go as far as to believe:
You are doing what you came here to do.
by doing the things that “someone has to do”, you delude yourself. Remember Cypher in the Matrix? He thought the imaginary stake was better than the real beans.
Is that person robbed of a life of passion, because they had to choose a life of skill and purpose?
A lot of times YES. Not a simple yes. A big Yes, yes to the power of all the disenfranchised folk who MUST choose a life of skill and try their best to find purpose in it. By ignoring the greater and better mission of moving beyond this system of master-slave metaphor, a mental model which we’re redefining every hundred years or so, redefining which transformed it into an exquisite web of social assumptions, we humans are simply loosing our main asset as a species: unity.
The real joy of daily work is in what we have to give. We are not fulfilled by what we can seek to please us, but what we can build and offer.
Again, the first part, sure! You are surely defined socially and spiritually by what you give, yes to that. But, fulfillment! Fulfillment comes, I guarantee you, from a lot, and I mean a lot, of the things that please us, if we happen to find them. Seeking sucks, but once you find what pleases you, fulfillment will not wait. Sometimes, fulfillment comes from what we build, and on rare occasions from what we offer.
This whole offering thing is such an easy advice, oblivious to the unfortunate situation: people will not simply take what you offer, even if it is in their best interest, even if it is better than other things and, many times, even if it is free.
The whole rhetoric of being complete by giving yourself away may be encouraging at a lot of low points in life, but as professional advice, well, it sucks.
Your gifts are not random, they are a blueprint for your destiny.
Not really. One’s gifts may be tools to achieve their destiny, but a blueprint? What is this, zealotry? What, you should accept your faith and know your place? Well, damn then, lots of us didn’t sign up for this Brianna Wiest, did we? 🙂