Reflection on crisis and work

Now, this post can probably be seen as a callous comment on folks in need due to the ongoing international crisis. So be it.

The thing on my mind today is not so much that we have a crisis. It was inevitable even though we have all underestimated its severity. What is troubling is how we seem to be responding to it – individually and collectively. 

My observation is that the dominating pattern of reaction seems to be passiveness. Probably because most sense that the whole thing is beyond their grasp and control. This is of course largely true, few can really understand the complexities of the whole situation. What I oppose is the apparent inclination to wait. Wait for our leaders to get their shit together. Wait for new dazzling programs from government. Wait for new jobs to be created. And while this apparently is not happening, one can wait with a good conscience. Others aren't doing there bit, why should I?

I know this is a tough position, but isn't it largely true?

Of course there are some visible exceptions. People who are entrepreneurial and see opportunities and keep things moving forward. Leaders that act and engage people. But I would still argue that most are in waiting mode.

This is obviously nothing that just happened, but most likely a result of the way things have been functioning for decades and centuries. There has been an invisible contract saying that some have the initiative and are "sheep dogs" while the rest are passive "sheep". This is what industrialism has created – millions and millions of sheep. And when the sheep dog is gone, one waits. 

This is an awful thing to say, but isn't it largely true?

The remedy: work. 

Individual level: Do something. Anything. Don't wait. Get active. Never mind that it is not a "real job", work anyway. Rebuild your house. Help the elderly. Help kids at school. Volunteer for anything. Because working with anything is better than doing nothing. The main point of working is to stay human. To create value. To exist in a context of others.

Collective level: Organize work in new ways. Bring in people to a context and mission. Start new businesses – social or for profit. Create new services. Invent new ways of pricing and exchanging value. All this tells us that we are working on stuff. Trying our way forward. Not waiting. 

The added value is that when you are active and have some direction new things come up. They always do. New things never come up when you are in waiting mode. That just continues your dependency on others' good will and them remembering you as a good sheep. My firm belief is that the era of sheep walking through life is coming to an end. What I don't know is how fast and brutal it will be.

//jan

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