Does the first world need stress?

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Does the first world need stress?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:05 pm

I was having a discussion with a friend today and we concluded that the first world actually needs stress in order to maintain its standard of living.

In short, in order to sustain economic activity and productivity on a scale which permits a first world standard of living you need to educate the citizenry to be largely docile and obedient workers willing to surrender 40 or more hours of their week in the service of the economy (this started during the industrial revolution when education systems were designed to produce reliable industrial workers).

The workforce needs to be punctual, reliable and more importantly solely dependent on their employment as a means of earning a living. If they're not solely dependent on their employment for their livelihood then when they get sick of work they'll be prone to quit. Instead they keep working a job they hate because they feel they have to and hence the stress problems of our present day in the first world.

In the case of a third world country, a dysfunctional education system means most people will not necessarily be so readily responsive to supervision from managers, let alone the abstract notion of a schedule, all of which comes with a solid industrial-style education. Not having a punctual, reliable and docile workforce makes it extremely difficult to maintain a first world infrastructure, government and economy. On the other hand with such freedom people might not be subject to the same kind of stress workers continually experience in the first world. They might be poor, but not suffering the same kind of stress first world workers are apt to suffer.

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the benefits of a first world economic and social structure, most people will need to be working nine to five, or something equivalent, continually throughout their adult lives to perpetuate the economic activity needed to have such things like street lights, 24 hour hospitals, well stocked grocery stores, ambulance services, garbage disposal, good public schools and public health departments.

Basically, you need vast economic activity charged by an active though well-supervised workforce in order to have a first world standard of living, though it comes with a price, which is the problem of stress.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:32 pm

Somewhat related thought: I recently had a conversation where we were discussing whether Buddhism was in fact a bourgeois religion. I.e. Buddhism in third world countries (if you're not a monk) consists of one basic practice: "Great Buddha please bless me and my family so today and tomorrow we can get enough to eat".
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:46 pm

I'm not really sure stress is the term I'd use in this situation. It does seem to fit, but stress to me is the overwhelming feeling of 'how do I do all of this and still find enjoyment in my life'.

The first world is in all reality people who are slaves to the I need more syndrome.
As in the competing with the Jones' effect. They have this, I need that but a better version, or that plus this to have more than they do. I see this more in the way the younger generation is acting towards each other than my generation.

Greed.........it is raising it's ugly head higher than I've seen it in my life.
Sure we all like to have nice things and be 'set' for life. A good job, insurance and a retirement plan. That has become a lost hope now for many people in the US, and other countries that are considered first world areas.
There is a major change in the economic world, which in my opinion, means we'll all be in the same boat soon and we'll have to relearn how to function as a society. But that's just my view.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:46 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:Somewhat related thought: I recently had a conversation where we were discussing whether Buddhism was in fact a bourgeois religion. I.e. Buddhism in third world countries (if you're not a monk) consists of one basic practice: "Great Buddha please bless me and my family so today and tomorrow we can get enough to eat".


I've noticed that idea of "you can be anything you want if you work hard enough" common in the western psyche connects well with ideas of Buddhahood in a single lifetime or sudden enlightenment, whereas in Asia most Buddhists are generally not so confident on enlightenment of any form in this lifetime. The idea of "practice like your hair is on fire" is appealing to first world citizens.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:51 pm

Dave The Seeker wrote:The first world is in all reality people who are slaves to the I need more syndrome.

...

As in the competing with the Jones' effect. They have this, I need that but a better version, or that plus this to have more than they do. I see this more in the way the younger generation is acting towards each other than my generation.


Unfortunately the system is established in a way so that you need to be working full-time if you ever hope to have the dignity and security of owning property (unless of course you inherit property), let alone have sufficient funds for other endeavours like travel, university and so on. The cost of housing nowadays takes into account that most couples will have a dual income and the price reflects this. So, short of living in a monastery or co-op of some sort, the cash economy doesn't really allow a person to comfortably live just working a few hours a week and maybe tending their garden. In much of India you can get away living like this, but not in the first world. In the first world the system expects people to be working full-time at a certain average income. Things are priced according to this. Moreover, quitting your jobs when you get sick of them would be economic suicide, too. The whole resume culture supports this.



Sure we all like to have nice things and be 'set' for life. A good job, insurance and a retirement plan. That has become a lost hope now for many people in the US, and other countries that are considered first world areas.


If only the cost of living and property reflected this new reality, then people could voluntarily live simple lives growing much of their food and working odd jobs or being craftspeople to support themselves. Unfortunately you can't pay your taxes in peas and carrots.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Pero » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:15 pm

Does the first world need stress? In your post you've indicated some causes of stress I guess but you haven't indicated why stress would be needed. And I think it isn't in any case. Stress is a thing of the mind, what someone might find stressful someone else might not etc.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:19 pm

Pero wrote:Does the first world need stress? In your post you've indicated some causes of stress I guess but you haven't indicated why stress would be needed. And I think it isn't in any case. Stress is a thing of the mind, what someone might find stressful someone else might not etc.


The first world needs stress in order to sustain itself as "first world".

We don't absolutely need reliable ambulance services, paved roads, stable electrical currents and 24/7 health clinics, though they make life easier. It all comes at a cost though.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:17 pm

Huseng wrote:The first world needs stress in order to sustain itself as "first world".

We don't absolutely need reliable ambulance services, paved roads, stable electrical currents and 24/7 health clinics, though they make life easier. It all comes at a cost though.


There's a not often questioned ideal that "first world" countries, in general, and the USA in particular, must remain "competitive", and that such competitiveness rests in high levels of individual productivity (GDP per capita). Obviously, to maintain the services, roads, etc. does not require "full employment", as we've not had that in some time. But, in addition to the ideal of high personal productivity, there are certain business "models" that are seen as ideal, and those have to do with employing a smaller number of people at 40+ hours a week as opposed to higher numbers of people at lower numbers of hours. All movements by "labor" to change those ideal business models meet with strong resistance from management.

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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:54 am

Huseng wrote:
Pero wrote:Does the first world need stress? In your post you've indicated some causes of stress I guess but you haven't indicated why stress would be needed. And I think it isn't in any case. Stress is a thing of the mind, what someone might find stressful someone else might not etc.


The first world needs stress in order to sustain itself as "first world".

No, it needs hardworking people and the desire of those people to work, whatever the reason. Stress is an unfortunate byproduct of our circumstances. If we were able to view everything as an illusion stress wouldn't exist. And we would still work all the same.

We don't absolutely need reliable ambulance services, paved roads, stable electrical currents and 24/7 health clinics, though they make life easier. It all comes at a cost though.

Sure, no denying that.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby futerko » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:24 am

The three motivators for sales are vanity, fear, and greed.

Pero wrote: And we would still work all the same.

To what end?
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:18 am

futerko wrote:The three motivators for sales are vanity, fear, and greed.

Pero wrote: And we would still work all the same.

To what end?

Uhm well you know, to be able to live. :D
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby undefineable » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:43 pm

Pero wrote:it needs hardworking people and the desire of those people to work, whatever the reason. Stress is an unfortunate byproduct of our circumstances. If we were able to view everything as an illusion stress wouldn't exist. And we would still work all the same.


Work appears to be the main ingredient of both life and becoming enlightened.

Allowing the mind to dissipate rather than to focus must eventually affect its subtlest levels - i.e. it leads to lower realms, in this life at the very least. I can't see an ultimate difference between not working in some way and committing suicide.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:55 pm

Pero wrote:
futerko wrote:The three motivators for sales are vanity, fear, and greed.

Pero wrote: And we would still work all the same.

To what end?

Uhm well you know, to be able to live. :D


If you saw everything as an illusion, would you spend 40 hours a week plus commute time going to a job to earn the money to pay for a consumer lifestyle which promises happiness via purchases?
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby GarcherLancelot » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:16 pm

undefineable wrote:
Pero wrote:it needs hardworking people and the desire of those people to work, whatever the reason. Stress is an unfortunate byproduct of our circumstances. If we were able to view everything as an illusion stress wouldn't exist. And we would still work all the same.


Work appears to be the main ingredient of both life and becoming enlightened.

Allowing the mind to dissipate rather than to focus must eventually affect its subtlest levels - i.e. it leads to lower realms, in this life at the very least. I can't see an ultimate difference between not working in some way and committing suicide.


Hmmm,what do you mean?.. .
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:39 pm

viniketa wrote: Obviously, to maintain the services, roads, etc. does not require "full employment", as we've not had that in some time. But, in addition to the ideal of high personal productivity, there are certain business "models" that are seen as ideal, and those have to do with employing a smaller number of people at 40+ hours a week as opposed to higher numbers of people at lower numbers of hours. All movements by "labor" to change those ideal business models meet with strong resistance from management.


I think plenty of people would be happy to work fewer hours, but commodities, housing and consumer goods are all priced with running assumptions about average consumers working 40 hours a week or more. Housing as opposed to several decades ago assumes a couple is dual income with both partners working full-time.

There are movements slowly forming to detach from the mainstream. In order to do this people need to become less dependent on the cash economy, effectively becoming more autonomous and self-reliant in the process. It starts with growing your own food and perhaps having a craft. Once you reduce your need for cash income you don't have to work so much.

Ideally Buddhists could start forming commune type arrangements where they'd be tax exempt and thus have even less need for money.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Pero » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:48 pm

Huseng wrote:
Pero wrote:Uhm well you know, to be able to live. :D


If you saw everything as an illusion, would you spend 40 hours a week plus commute time going to a job to earn the money to pay for a consumer lifestyle which promises happiness via purchases?

Yeah I think so since there's still karma and I would still posses a body which requires food and I'd still have a family that required support. I work 40+ hours a week now and while I don't see everything as an illusion I also don't do it because of a consumer lifestyle. It's just circumstances and I doubt those would change if I saw everything as an illusion. But I'd be willing to bet that I would feel less if any stress haha.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Matt J » Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:07 pm

In theory, we could run on eustress as opposed to distress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eustress
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:12 pm

Matt J wrote:In theory, we could run on eustress as opposed to distress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eustress


I don't think that's possible because most jobs in the modern world are awful and people just do it in order to pay the bills.
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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby viniketa » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:13 am

Image

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Re: Does the first world need stress?

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:40 am

Huseng wrote:
Matt J wrote:In theory, we could run on eustress as opposed to distress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eustress


I don't think that's possible because most jobs in the modern world are awful and people just do it in order to pay the bills.


But we can change this ....

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