March 12, 2004 @ 5:22 pm by sean
“I am rather tired of hearing about our right and privileges as American citizens. The time is come, it now is, when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship.” – Peter Marshall, Chaplain
U. S. Senate 1947-1949
I found that statement striking. It seems so prominent in our country for people to say I have the right to do this or it is my privilege to do that. But what about our duties and responsibilities? What are our duties and responsibilities?
It was becoming an issue while school was in session, that I was being ‘punished’ for having fun and enjoying time away from homework. I had no free time, I made free time whether I had it or not, but then I ended up staying up late doing homework and getting up early for classes. 6 hours max. of sleep may be a lot for some people, but I am definately not one of those people. As a result, I was tired a lot, I wasn’t as healthy as I could be because I wasn’t sleeping enough, I hated school, and I wasn’t enjoying my life. I desperately needed a break. How convenient that spring break was coming up. A time with no worries, no requirements, no appointments, no responsibility. (Sing along—responsibility, what’s that? responsibility, don’t want that. I don’t wanna think about it, we’d be better off with out it.) But then I got two large projects in two classes and neither of them permitted finishing both before break. Not to say I’m not a responsible person though. I accomplish what I need to accomplish, and I can do a good job at most tasks I have to do. But that isn’t the kind of life I live. Fortunately we are all unique and aren’t all like I am, and all aren’t like I’m not. But I’m one of those people who don’t find joy in being busy, in working hard for an end of material possesions, in rushing around. I like to be laid back. I like to do things that are more productive to my life and the lives immediately around me, than to society as a whole. Sure, I’d love to impact society in some huge way, but I don’t want to become a machine of society, some food that keeps this greedy capitalist animal alive. I’d rather impact society in a non-capitalist way. I want to impact society by loving everyone, by giving as much and more than I can, by helping out those who need helping out. Not by becoming better at a job, or becoming ‘successful’ to society, or becoming CEO of some corporation, or contributing to the greediness of our country and world, or living a life of secluded luxury. If Thoreau(sp?) didn’t write such good poetry, would we think he was lazy for doing nothing but writting poetry at a cabin in the woods by a lake for a while? When did it become a requirement that everyone makes it to the top of the social ladder? Aren’t we all unique? Does everyones idea of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness’ have to be the same thing? I’m glad my idea of hapiness is different than most.
Unfortunatley I don’t live in a society that agrees with me. Before the industrial revolution, people were born when there were jobs for them. There wasn’t as much over population because people just didn’t have children if there wouldn’t be jobs for them. Then the industrial revolution came and there became a great need for jobs in factories. But with the industrial revolution came more technology to replace people. But people didn’t stop having children, and so there became more people than jobs. Those people still consumed and therefore, the factories kept going, and as Marx said, those people in the factories became worth less than the products they were making. So in this industrial age, there are people who work in factories. They have to, to supply us with what we need and want. With the combination of genes down through generations, some people just don’t have the same abilities and potential as do other people. And those people are destined to work in factories. To be owned by the products they make and be slaves to the society they live in. Maybe I’m one of those people. I’m average. I’m normal. My best is others worst. Maybe my life is to be a slave to the industrial machine. Maybe if this world hadn’t become industrialized, there would be no purpose for me, and as a result, maybe I wouldn’t have been born.
All this really to say, I’m on break and I still have no time. I am being punished for spending time yesterday with Jen, Angie and Ian on my break time. I am being punished for spending a day with Alyson. I have to stay up late to do a project, that even to do half as good as I can, still takes a lot of time. It takes effort to consciously do worse than I know I can. But I need a break, and I need to spend time with people doing things that aren’t necessarily productive to society as a whole, but to my life and others around me. 9 hours of sleep became not enough because my body has had such a lack of sleep for so long. So when I get nine, I can be hardly as awake as I’d like to be to enjoy the presence of the good company of my friends. All because I have to work on this project over break. Because I am mediocre. Because I am forced to strive for sucess that I think is failure.