On Being Busy and the State of Nature
Soren Kierkegaard wrote: “The most ludicrous of all ludicrous things, it seems to me, is to be busy in the world, to be a man who is brisk at his meals and brisk at his work”.
The hustle is real, I get it. The forced work one must accomplish in the course of one day. The kids, the laundry, the work, and the bustle of the daily grind. But what does busy cost us, what price are we willing to pay to play the rigged game of neoliberalism?
Max Weber spoke of disenchantment, if we look at the original translation of the word, its actually de-magication. He calculated the cost of playing neoliberalism was this concept, which means we become disenchanted with life. We forget to look at the wonder in nature. We forget to examine the rocks on the trail. And most importantly we forget what really fucking matters, each other.
Under surveillance capitalism, the currency is debt and private property, an indebtedness, a sort of attitude that no one owes you anything. You are on your own. But is the idea of having no responsibility for other people a good idea? Through evolution our brains became the way they are because we were very much responsible for other people and not in an indebted way, but we were our brother’s keeper.
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”, the key term in that sentence is baby. Baby meaning human. Humans fuck up. We do things without an ounce of logic or seeped in some deep-rooted unconscious trauma. So, the idea works, in that humans are flawed as fuck and we don’t discount them because of this. We must understand even spiritual healers are using an archetype to work with healing. When they put the archetype or alternate state of consciousness away, they return to being human, to being flawed as fuck. This idea spiritual people are somehow enlightened past being human is ridiculous and it’s just wrong.
Where this idea doesn’t work is under the systems of neoliberalism. The concept of the rugged individual is one of those babies who needs to be thrown out with the bath water. Some ideas are bad, they harm and isolate people. Some systems do not work and need to be burned down.
Under a gift economy, where there is no concept of private property, the currency is reciprocity. To “own” the land is ludicrous. The first relationship of reciprocity is with nature and we are in fact nature, so the reciprocity starts with ourselves. We learn how to give and receive but this cycle is broken by busyness. This cycle is trashed by capitalism. We have lived most of our ancestral history in reciprocity, taking care of one another, ensuring at times our mere survival.
We become too engrossed with ourselves, our life, our pain, to stop, to really fucking stop and check in. Check in with nature, check in with our loved ones, check in with our soul. We rebuttal with, life is just so busy. There are so many things going on. I am with Kierkegaard on this one, this too busy shit is insanity.
For many years, I have been told, by people and culture, there is no real responsibility to others. After studying anthropology for years and doing a fuck ton of therapy, I have decided to throw that baby out. This is a terrible idea. Look at the earth, she is in peril. But low and behold she will survive our species wrath. It’s us who isn’t going to make it. The earth knows all about reciprocity and we aren’t holding up our end of things.
Loneliness is a goddamn epidemic in the United States. So, we ask ourselves, why are people so lonely in the seemingly hyper connected reality? Why are men putting guns to their temples and pulling the trigger?
Why is everyone so goddamn busy?