Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Luke » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:08 pm

Thrasymachus, have you thought of saving up some money and traveling to Bolivia? That's a pretty radical, leftist country which you might actually like! :D

Here's an excerpt from an interview with Noam Chomsky in which he tells his opinion about Bolivia:

"Chomsky: I think the most democratic country in the world right now is Bolivia. So the United States is trying hard to undermine it. But if you think about what happened in Bolivia in the last ten years, it's pretty astonishing. The most repressed population in the hemisphere (the indigenous population), which happens to be the majority, and has been totally marginalized for 500 years, ever since the Spanish, they managed to get themselves organized, active, and elected a president from their own ranks. Not some rich guy. They elected a poor farmer. They developed programs, and the programs are serious, everybody knows what they are. You're not waiting for some leader to tell you, "Here's the programs." On crucial issues: cultural rights, justice, multiculturalism, control of natural resources, really basic things. And furthermore, election is just one day in an ongoing process. On that day, you push the levers, but then you go back to the struggle you were part of before, struggles against privatization of water, and all sorts of things. That's real, functioning democracy. So of course, the old elites are trying to break it up, and the U.S. is supporting it. We don't know exactly how much because USAID will not release information on who its funding, but you can be pretty sure that it's funding the quasi-secessionist sort of mostly white elites in the eastern provinces to try to break up the system of democracy."
http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20090513.htm

But no country is perfect. As long as there is samsara, there will be injustice and disappointment...

Try to maintain a stable daily meditation practice, so that your mind isn't dragged down in a negative direction by every new internet news headline.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Clarence » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:14 pm

Seems like you come across as way more jealous and judging than people with more money to spend.

I think you should do 1 practice: rejoice in other's wealth.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby KeithBC » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:12 pm

I aspire to live a less consumerist lifestyle, but I am not particularly successful at it.

On the other hand, here is a video of a couple of good friends and former neighbours of mine who are the real thing, living off the land. They live off the grid, in a house that they built themselves from materials on their land.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phhBu5O0Lcs

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Nemo » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:38 pm

seeker242 wrote:I think how you hold your mind is much more important that how you make a living. As long as you are not engaging in "wrong livelihood" of course. With the right state of mind, it's quite possible to be within the "worker-consumer" life while at the same time being free of it. Just like the Buddha when he got enlightenment, he still lived in the world for many years but at the same time, was free of it.

That is not what the Buddha did. Monks were not even allowed to touch money, wore clothes that were recycled corpse wrappings and begged for all their food.

Capitalism unleashed is a truly revolutionary force that consumes everything. It is like fire in it's power. At it's base it derives it's power from greed.The more it stokes the fire of greed the stronger it becomes until it becomes a self sustaining cycle. It has conquered the entire earth now. I have been a dirty hobo and lived off grid for a few years as well. Eventually you get hungry, have health concerns or want some comforts. It is hard to undergo hardship like that as you age. Better to become a self sustainable island and to do that you will have to play the game for a few years.

Livelihood is a very complex choice. I think the thing to have in mind is an escape plan. Most people don't have one. What is your escape plan? Most people end up with aiming for a small pension and using purchasing power parity to live out their lives some place more amenable. If anyone has better ideas I would love to hear them.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:40 pm

Save some money and get the hell out of America for a month or more. It'll still be there when you return. Try to travel to some third world countries to see how th other 90% of this world lives. Travel to some some other first world countries too (you'll be surprised to see how similar, yet different, they are). Hell, why don't you come here to Greece (your parents homeland), and see how different it is, to how they imagine it. Then go back and tell them about it. Not that they will believe you, but...

When you return, I guarantee, you will have a completely different view of things.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:33 pm

I have a lot of sympathy for you, Thrasymachus, but with all due respect I think that if you start eating eggs regularly you might feel better.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby greentara » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:13 am

Thrasymachus, I just had to laugh....I guess you live in a large extended family under one roof "my grandma probably even bests that and she has tv blasting almost all day" Go to a third world country like India and countless millions of people live in large overcrowded households and are happy to have 'shelter from the storm'. You want to change society? You have to change yourself first.

Dorje Shedrub, Someone on the forum wrote 'don't be a doormat' which I don't agree with. With so many people under employed and unemployed I can just see how difficult it can be. You sound like you have strong spiritual leanings. You work in a kitchen....so it doesn't matter who eats the food, or washes the dishes. A job well done with devotion and care is its own reward.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Vidyaraja » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:10 am

I have never lived as anything else but a worker-consumer, but then I've been unemployed for almost 4 years, just recently getting the ability to earn some cash again. I know what you mean about society though. Kali Yuga blues. I personally find the consumerist, rat-race, modern lifestyle to be pretty poisonous, and I think the amounts of depression, anxiety, other mental illness, obesity, time spent escaping, hedonism, drug and alcohol addiction, etc. are all signs of this. I saw a quote on the net once by an Italian named Franco Ferrarresi that relates to this with which I largely agree:

"Each step modern society takes toward "liberation" is one more step toward alienation and meaninglessness. The excesses that characterize contemporary life (alcoholism, drugs, sex, work itself) are nothing but doomed attempts to overcome inner emptiness. Values, institutions, behaviors, are everywhere corrupted, debased, crumbling. Nothing, in this world, is worthy of survival; destruction is its deserved fate. Faced with this condition, the "differentiated man", "the anarchist of the Right", has only one choice: to totally reject worldly endeavors (including politics: apoliteia) and instead to concentrate on inner pursuits. For such a man, the search for his true nature is the only possible imperative."


I also think simplicity of living is not only healthy, but a means toward spiritual attainment. This is near impossible in modern industrial society, at least in the sense of the ancient way of life I am speaking of. While I am not the biggest Alan Watts fan, I did enjoy his little talk on the subject of those who "check out of the game":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK5RaHpI4M8

The state of society and some of the issues brought up in this thread are supplementary motivations for me wishing to become a monk/ascetic/yogi outside of the US, the main motivation of course being the spiritual path. I've spent the past few years researching ways by which this can be accomplished and have been inspired by documentaries such as "Amongst White Clouds" about Chan monks in the Zhongnan mountains as well as material on Indian sadhus, Taoist hermits, and of course various other Buddhist monks. I am determined to live such a lifestyle myself because I feel that, while such a life comes with its own set difficulties and unique problems, it is the only one that will allot to me the time and energy necessary to accomplish the one supreme goal of my life, which is of course Awakening/liberation/gnosis, as well as offer the simplicity of the ancient way of living that my heart seems to seek. Wherever and however this can be accomplished, I think it preferable to the normal worker-consumer lifestyle most follow, especially since the acquisition of wealth or impressing my peers isn't even an interest of mine. I hope to accomplish this in the Buddhist tradition, and I am hoping such can be accomplished in the Vajrayana tradition either in India/Ladakh/Nepal, etc. If this fails I have considered trying to join up with the sadhus in India, it seems there are a good amount of Westerners and other foreigners who have done so:

http://www.adolphus.nl/sadhus/falang.html

I am sure such a life in a third world country is no cakewalk, but then I personally don't feel life is about being comfortable so much as an opportunity to transform ourselves and grow spiritually, hopefully becoming sages/Buddhas thereby. If a drop in living conditions and other problems of such a route are the price to pay...so be it (or at least that's my feelings on the matter.)

Finally, it is interesting to compare the happiness of your average modern to those of a Buddhist monk like Matthieu Ricard:

http://india.nydailynews.com/newsarticl ... ppiest-man

Seems the stuff society has you chasing doesn't really make people happy, how much more so the case for someone with renunciant tendencies or spiritual aspirations. Fight Club, while much adored by pseudo-philosophers, of course does bring up some good points in this regard, or at least I can find some resonance with some of the messages.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby greentara » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:34 am

vidyaraja, If you want to be a sadhu in Sth India, you may well ask where have all the sadhus gone? New dress code at alot of the great temples. No lungis allowed! You know when the authentic is fossilised, the moment it is referred to as 1.culture 2.custom 3.traditions thats when various do's and donts are deviced by the profiteer, commodifiying that which originally was strictly non commercial. imposing dress code is only 1 way to exercise control over a massive revenue generating enterprise with fee scale for every imaginable puja under the sun ...to.think that not long ago the only condition required was to be alive,never mind the dress.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby shel » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:26 am

Thrasymachus wrote:What is more relevant is the prank calls made to many restaurants in the USA, specifically an incident at a McDonald's in 2004. Essentially someone posed as a police officer over the phone to the manager, Donna Summers and accused one of her young female workers of shoplifting. He said he was too busy to come down right now and got her to strip search Louise Ogborn naked. Later as the McDonald's became more busy, Donna got her fiance to watch the girl. And her fiance, Walter Nix, sexually assaulted Oborn, just because someone posing as a figure of authority told her to. How do people get so obedient to authority? In our society, it is mostly a function of indoctrination in schooling. When you first start you hate and rebel against being told what to do against your own will, but by the time you are done, it becomes the only thing you know. Before it, workers would frequently sabotage their workplaces, fight or dispute with their employers, demand to take off for Saint's Days or other festivities and actually fight back against their enslavement. Now there is almost no such things as civil unrest or pitched battles in societies with compulsory education, because the population is too well educated to revolt.


There have been extensive social experiments on this phenomena. See Milgram's experiment on obedience to authority figures: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

We really need to learn how to not be such sheep. :emb:
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby seeker242 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:15 pm

Nemo wrote:
seeker242 wrote:I think how you hold your mind is much more important that how you make a living. As long as you are not engaging in "wrong livelihood" of course. With the right state of mind, it's quite possible to be within the "worker-consumer" life while at the same time being free of it. Just like the Buddha when he got enlightenment, he still lived in the world for many years but at the same time, was free of it.

That is not what the Buddha did. Monks were not even allowed to touch money, wore clothes that were recycled corpse wrappings and begged for all their food.


That is true of what he taught monks and what he did himself. However, he taught laypersons quite differently. Most people here are laypersons I would say.

Livelihood is a very complex choice. I think the thing to have in mind is an escape plan. Most people don't have one. What is your escape plan? Most people end up with aiming for a small pension and using purchasing power parity to live out their lives some place more amenable. If anyone has better ideas I would love to hear them.


My escape plan is to not need to escape to begin with! I don't perceive there being anything to escape from to begin with. What exactly is there to escape from?

But, if a person wants to live as an actual monk instead of a lay person, of course that would be beneficial to their practice. However, brooding over the cruelty of the world, etc. I don't see how this can be beneficial to one's practice as all it does is breed ill will, hate, etc. Focusing your attention on how cruel the world is, is not a very skillful place to place one's attention.

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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:47 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Try to travel to some third world countries to see how th other 90% of this world lives.


Better yet, travel to a real first world country - you might get really mad then. Some of the world is a near utopia compared to the US (~ 5.6% almost all concentrated in Northern Europe). *BUT*, they still suffer the sufferings of people who generally have cargo and are deeply embroiled in sense distraction. Oh, and much of that stuff was built on exploitative empire from 1400-1850 (but the deep exploiters,(except for the English) the Spanish and Portuguese lost all of their wealth ...). So the near heaven realms of Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, etc. have serious issues as well (and they are always afraid of losing everything). Wales and Scotland are probably "purer" because they were conquered and exploited by the English for centuries (just ask them). Beautiful countries - in which people are born, age, suffer mostly mental sufferings and die and then face their karma.

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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby yan kong » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:52 pm

I passed a few years in europe and lived with sime pseudo-radicals, enviromentalists, hippies and come across a few real drops outs. In my experience (note the subjective MY) they were no less disfunctional then regular people and not much happier either. While living in France with a government further left leaning than Canada's, people still found all the problems they needed to compain endlessly. Happiness isn't a country or a commune. If you want to drop out then it may be a very good experience but don't expect that your demons won't come with you.
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Thrasymachus » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:20 pm

I have been thinking of my options lately:

1) Watch it all collapse. How long can it take for the next Hurricane Sandy but more powerful? Honestly I want to see all the consumers and workers around me die, including me. Like I said before, none of them ever put anything back in the earth, it is all just take, take, take. They/we deserve it for our sins and refusal to be anything else but takers/users/abusers/imperialists/consumers.

Unfortunately doing what you don't want to do until collapse seems unattractive and all the rich, who are most responsible for climate change will afford to escape the region anyway with little penalty as they have several places to live in different parts of the world.

2) Live totally without money which I have mentioned on this forum. Ever since I have heard of Daniel Suelo who has been doing this since 2000(Youtube video) I knew it was what I wanted to do most in life. However I have ZERO skills necessary to live off the land. My grandparents largely lived without money as poor peasants, but growing up with them as a young child, they always yelled at me when I tried to help or go near the garden, when I tried to do woodwork with my grandfather, etc.

So I don't know how feasible that is, lacking the necessary skills unlike Suelo who had camped out frequently in his life prior and went on expeditions living off the land even in hostile Alaska before moving to Moab, Utah to live in a cave without money.

3) Stick out my job and try to get promoted to a better craft like a car inspector or electrician. I will still hate it overall, but many of those bastards only work like 3 hours in an 8 hour shift and just gossip like hens, sleep or putz around on their cellphones for the rest of the time.

Overall I don't think I can be happy as a worker, though, no matter what. I am not a good fascist that can pervert myself for the needs of institutions like my employers, school, etc. Almost every job, along with school that I have had, I always have wanted to quit and eventually I wake up and just cannot muster the life force necessary to bring myself to continue to go to work, when I never wanted to in the first place, so I just quit or don't show up. Doing less actual work in a promoted craft should ameliorate that, but I just hate the nature of being a worker and what it entails. I don't want to sell the best portions of my life just for money, only because everyone and thus survival is literally for sale and requires money. Going to work is like the slow internal murder of oneself. Unlike the rest of the escapist loving scum, I know it doesn't have to be that way, it can all change tomorrow if they stop watching television, hiding on the internet, acting out video game fantasies and using religion to hide from social reality.

4) Try to do something more constructive with my free time like start my own anti-escapist zine for the hoi-polloi who have no idea and have worked hard to have no idea how the world really works(due to their massive need for escapism to avoid this painful reality) or start a micro-power radio station(quasi-legal - illegal at best). This would be easier to do if I could get promoted. However, for some reason I don't feel like I can do anything worth doing in life for some reason and will likely just continue to mope about in a pool of sweat on my bed or the couch doing nothing or itinerantly browsing the net till I have to work and eventually die. Every adult has taught me as a child the unwritten message that life is about doing what you don't want to do, just because you have to since there is money in it. I know consciously this is untrue, but my much more powerful subconscious thinks it is true, so I am paralyzed. I am thus actually worse off in my life than worker-consumer zombies who cannot imagine that life consists of anything else but money since they invested all their free time in dulling themselves via constant escapism.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have been thinking that what I want to do most is used my saved up money to get some skills by learning permaculture somewhere in the USA. Then when I think I have mastered that, go back to either my father's village or my mother's village in Greece and try to do it, live without money or formal salaried work. I mean that is what grandparents mostly did even as late 1967 before they immigrated, they farmed what they ate and sold a little for money for what they couldn't do themselves. I need to go back and correct their foolish mistake and instead of coming to the USA or staying here to make more money, go back and live with none. Just work the land and scavenge clothing and whatever else from the collapsing capitalist society. Live in a cave when the weather is suitable, and when it isn't in one of my grandparent's houses. During World War II in Greece the thousands of guerillas lived in caves during the formal occupation of Germany's Third Reich. It should be much easier for one Greek-American to live in a cave during the Fourth Reich's fiscal and institutional occupation via the European Union.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:59 pm

Thrasymachus wrote:During World War II in Greece the thousands of guerillas lived in caves during the formal occupation of Germany's Third Reich.
Sorry to be the one to burst your bubble but the guerillas were given money (gold coins to be exact) by the English in order to buy supplies from the villages near their mountain hideouts, so that they wouldn't have to steal. This is eyewitness info from my father-in-law (he was a kid then) who used to run supplies into the mountains for the resistance fighters from his fathers store (his sister was in the resistance movement and his brother joined the pro-Nazi Security Battalions). The Nazis and their Greek sympathsisers burnt down my father-in-laws village in retaliation for the killing of some Nazi soldiers by the guerillas. The British (after the liberation of Greece by the resistance movement) then turned against the guerillas and used the same Security Battalions in an attempt to crush them. This lead to the Civil War and the subsequent US backed military dictatorship.
Check out these documentaries:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaPDzGVJK5o (Greek with English subtitles)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKseJ8_ty_o (only in Greek)

Sorry for the aside people.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Thrasymachus » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:38 pm

@Dorje/Greg:
I am pretty sure according to the two books I read, one from David H. Close another by Mark Mazower, the impression I got was that most of the guerillas actually were given food and supplies by sympathetic fellow villager or simply took it with their guns by force. It may have been different in certain areas, but the British couldn't have had access to give all of them gold money. The British SAS actually came to my mother's village, since it is near the coast.

Anyway, this is not the point. They were living in caves while armed Greek collaborators were hunting them along with occupying Italian, German and Bulgarian armies. Living in a cave under the Fourth Reich's much less harsh fiscal imperialism, even if you work to grow your own food is much easier than that, hiding like a rat while people with superior firepower and numbers hunt to find and kill you. When hiking about two months ago during quite an unprecedented heat spell for June in my region, I passed an old iron mine that is called the Bat cave, because a large bat colony lives there. Though it was like 100 Fahrenheit/37 Celsius, near the sealed "cave" entrance it felt even better than air conditioning. Actually that is the principle that geothermal heating and cooling uses.
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:47 pm

Thrasymachus wrote:@Dorje/Greg:
I am pretty sure according to the two books I read, one from David H. Close another by Mark Mazower, the impression I got was that most of the guerillas actually were given food and supplies by sympathetic fellow villager or simply took it with their guns by force. It may have been different in certain areas, but the British couldn't have had access to give all of them gold money. The British SAS actually came to my mother's village, since it is near the coast.
Yes, that is quite likely. My grandfather, on my fathers side, was involved with transporting (by boat) English agents back and forth to the island of Lesvos where there was a serious Communist Resistance movement during the occupation and subsequent civil war.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Thrasymachus » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:17 am

I just listened to an excellent old episode of John Zerzan's Anarchy Radio Podcast, from 9-07-10 with Gungadin Luhar from the "Coalition Against Work and Civilization" in India, that they thankfully accidentally posted again as new.

His most profound observation was: "Do you want to spend your life or live it? ... As long as we are living our lives instead of spending them, we will have all the problems we are having." According to him(and everything else I have read or observed personally) the nature of work and our civilization are at the core of our problems. I think this why I always meet messed up people who are not worth meeting(along with being one myself), this civilization is a sick aberration that produces only demented, mal-developed people who have no or little genuinely human values to pass on to anyone. All we have is the perverted values that our systems of domination and exploitation engender.

I did some searching trying to find his group, and found their webpage:
Anhilaal wrote:coalition against work, career, representation and civilization in south asia

...

At the centre of the term hilaal is the infinitive: hilaanaa . In many South Asian languages it means to move, to shake something. An, the prefix, stands for negation.

The name is based on a belief about some tribal groups from eastern India. Early morning before going to work at the field of moneylender or landlord, s/he shakes haandi with her toe. If the haandi refuses to move s/he also refuses to move. So long there is rice in the haandi, s/he shall not move to work. So we are.

...

He explained that more in his podcast interview, saying that the tribal people of India have a saying that as long as they can shake the earth and get rice, they will not work. He also posted this writeup as a review to the podcast(which I already linked to):
Gangadin Lohar wrote:...

* As soon as you start outdoing your potential competitor in the labour market you turn into the enemy of worker from your own generation. I have to outcompete the pre-existing and potential competitors so I turn into enemy of older and coming generations. Above all, I have to turn into my own enemy to able to work for lesser wages more productively in lesser time . “Conquer yourself, if you want to conquer the world.”

* Only if you turn into your enemy, enemy of your contemporaries, of earlier generations and of coming generations you will be able to survive. Anti-Being becomes the precondition of our Being.


...


He is one of the most profound thinkers I have ever heard, it is shame there is not much of his material out there, I would advise others to listen to his interview. He does a good job of deconstructing the values of Indian civilization which he maintains was a project of destroying the way of the life of the tribal and other sustenance oriented people of India who were made to work under coercion.

As for me on October 4th I am gonna take a test for a promotion. If I pass maybe on the 16th I can get into the next car inspector class. I have also posted on a permaculture forum asking where I can go to learn permaculture. I suspect that even if I get a promotion, I would be unhappy anyway, since it is still spending my life, and not living it, but wonder if I have the courage to make the leap away from all the bad upbringing of my mother, family and my schooling that taught me I should co-operate with a corporation or another and haggle for comparatively better pay and benefits and that the more along that path I am, the more "success" I have, ignoring what I really feel internally(which is actually quite rotten).
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby Qing Tian » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:39 am

Perhaps, and this is by way of a serious suggestion, you could stop with all the excuses for why you cannot do something, and just get out there and do it.

Or, to put it another way, have the courage of your convictions man!
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Who has lived as something other than a worker-consumer?

Postby greentara » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:52 am

thrasymachus, I hope you get your promotion but will it really make you happy? On the other hand if you return to your mother's village and go back to basics you may feel reconnected.
Years ago we were on a train in north India and a local politician with goons in tow muscled his way into our carriage. He was an arrogant so and so but he was going back to his ancestral village to brag and I strongly suspect recharge his energies amongst the buffaloes and mustard seed crop.

If you stay at work remember there is no corporate loyalty . The corporate albatross makes large, grand statements on respect and sincerity whilst practicing oppressive, discriminatory administration on a lower level cascading down They will talk about being a team player which really instills a climate of fear as the worker is no longer an individual that can speak out, but a drone in a hive.
Giving people puffed up titles for jobs that are quite menial is the corporate way of muffling the workers voice. For eg someone dealing in rental of apartments becomes a 'property manager' but with no extra pay. Someone in sales becomes an 'executive accounts manager' and so it goes, all title no substance.
greentara
 
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