Posted by on November 10, 2015

Our best work

There’s a prevailing value held by many in the US (and maybe other countries). It goes something like this:

People should not get anything for free. It makes them lazy. Without working for what they have, they would just sit around and do nothing

I find this statement preposterous on many levels. Not only do people think this ridiculously when thinking about other people, many think this way when thinking about themselves! Real example from a comment on our Facebook social page:

“If everything were given to me for free, I’d just sit around and surf the internet all day.”

Yeah, right. I’m so curious about this load of crap. People think they would find fulfillment surfing the internet all day, playing golf, fishing or all those other things they claim they will do when they retire, or if money were no object, or if they didn’t have to work.

Do these people really think their life – the next 10, 20, 30 or 50 years could be exclusively composed of surfing the internet? I highly doubt it. Here’s why: People are naturally predisposed to contribute to others. A few may sit on their butt and surf the internet for a while. At some point though, they’re going to find that life completely unfulfilling. When that happens they’re going to do something else. Eventually, maybe gradually, everyone becomes productive, in their own way, according to their passions. Even if that way is providing a human being (themselves)  for others to care about and take care of. If you think that is not being productive, you might want to revise your idea of what it means to be human.

I think people who hold the view that others – or they themselves – are naturally lazy, think this way because they’ve lived too long under the punitive motivations propping up capitalism. Remove the need to earn a living and people will just lie around, they say. Really? There are many examples of people doing things that benefit others and yet, the doing of those things doesn’t earn them one penny. These people are working. A lot.  Who am I talking about? Parents who raise a kid, do laundry, cook and clean. People who volunteer for organizations such as Wikipedia, who moderate chat websites and bulletin boards about their hobbies and other interests. Others work, but are far underpaid for the contribution they make: teachers, healthcare providers, most health and human service workers and nearly all artists. There are many more. If you think people will just laze around if everything is given to them, you don’t understand human nature. Maybe you should go to burning man. No one is paid anything for all the creativity that goes on there.

You don’t have to force people to contribute to society by forcing them to earn money by being “productive” so they can afford what they need. Instead give them what they need and they will be more productive than any form of motivation can inspire. Why? Because when people begin contributing from their passions, rather than the need to eat, afford healthcare or a home, they’re far more productive. The only thing forcing people to earn their living does is create more bullshit jobs.

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