Interesting article on work: “Why Do You Work So Hard? Is it maybe time to quit your safe job and follow your path and infuriate the establishment?”:http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2005/07/08/notes070805.DTL
In Pakistan, the term work used to have different connotations that in the West. That is slowly changing, with much of the corporate sector demanding employees adhere to the American work ethic, but minus the american pay.
Of course, much parts of the Pakistani work sector still function at their own pace. The public sector is stuck way back in the colonial ages – the major difference being that the english had natives to do their work, and got them to do it – now that the natives are the colonials there is no one left to do any work!
A friend’s response:
bq.. Good article. It reminded me of a conversation me and Kelly had about a week ago. She was reading me a section of “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” that she said reminded her very much of what I had said about Pakistan and India. The scripture stated that there was Eastern laziness where everyone sits on the sidewalks and drinks tea all day and just sorta lounges around. Then it discussed Western laziness which it described as a frenzied state of being where a person is so busy filling their lives with meaningless tasks that they don’t have time to stop and look at what’s really going on around them. It prevents one from doing any type of self-reflection. I don’t know if I view this as “laziness” but I see what it was getting at.
Okay, so on to reflections on the article. Everything he says about Americans are true. Not only are we too scared to go out there and try something new but we convince ourselves that drudging through our lives is the right thing to do. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had to defend my various travels too. Anywhere I go that’s not Hawaii causes reactions like “Why would you want to go there?” I don’t know…maybe because every time I go anywhere I learn more about myself and the world I’m in. And the crazier and more different the place is, the more I learn. Americans are very closed off when it comes to any type of self-discovery that might shatter their egotistical views on life. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me “Why would you ever want to leave America? It doesn’t get any better than this.” I’ve been to other countries and I can tell you that it does get better than this. I don’t feel like I’m dying inside in other countries (well, maybe France).
We’re all down for technological discoveries but when it comes to looking inside, we really fail. This lack of personal reflection may be part of the reason everything feels so sterile and impersonal in America. Not only do we not want to look at who we are, but we don’t want to take the time to find out who others are either. We’d rather sit in our cubicle and type away or lose ourselves in the hi-tech prison we call the internet where we can psuedo-connect with people without ever having to really see them and thus preventing any real connection with another person while still feeling like we are an active and engaged part of American society.
I’ll write more later. Ironically I have to get back to work. Like everyone else in America I have an entirely full day of bullshit ahead of me… a bunch of bullshit work that not only means nothing to me but, in the grander scheme of things, really means nothing to anyone else either. I somehow don’t think that me tossing the stack of paperwork on my desk into the recycle bin and gathering the office for a spiritual meditation would go over very well though so onwards I go into the workaholic vortex we call America.