An Alternative Work Society with a flattened Maslow hierarchy of needs.

[Covid-19 has struck us and travel has been reduced to zero. This is a written series of thoughts about patterns of society and its arrangements.]  

The year is 2020. Most humans on Planet Earth live in some form of capitalistic society.

Each keeper of the means of production is wired to protect their privilege, maximize profits and reduce costs. If one is not a business owner, he is likely part of a labor force.

Distilled across a gradient of social prestige, wherever he may be, he is likely caught up in a cycle of working for money and spending enough to make the work worth it. Until a lifetime of that ceases to be, and he retires. “Money makes the world go round” — sounds a little ironic now.

In this category, people move from labor point to labor point. Usually, there is an attempt to recognize the importance of passion in a job. However, survival and salary is inadvertently prioritized. Life needs to happen, milestones need to be had. Ideally, to be had as materially comfortable as possible.

A condition as such, would be intensified over generations. Family empires to reinforce their power through knowledge and wealth inheritance. Members of the labour force are in their own microcosms to compete against one another. From the moment a human is born, his parents would supply him as much resources as possible. That is, to get ahead of the competition and land somewhere better in the labour force relative to the previous generation.

The society nearly runs in clockwork psychosis.

Occasionally, someone stops to ponder.

But life goes on. Meals have to be had! Life needs to be happen! Milestones need to be had! Oh, work is tiring..let’s spend on something to improve our quality of life. Money has run out, I need to work again!

Occasionally, someone stops to ponder.

What if, an alternative work society could be had!

Capitalism’s seeds of destruction have been sown in our minds. It could bloom in the form of violence as we awaken ourselves to the unfairness of the labour force. But I say, it could sprout in a quiet defiance of living life meaningfully, learning the rules of the world, and re-inventing the rules of capitalism.

This alternative work society can exist by virtue that the proxy society is a gentle and gradual move away The Capitalistic Present.

Re-learning the Individual’s Aspirations & Calling

It starts with knowing what you want. That could seem like it may be too shapeless to be understood. To look within for your true calling is nothing short of a miracle. It always end up with perhaps, ‘contributing back to society’ and ‘leaving a legacy’, all of which is too saintly for comfort.

To put it in executable terms, your ‘true calling’ lies in the events of your life journey. It cannot be too far off from it, because simply put, what you are good at, bad at, what you love and what you hate — already exists and have played out in your life. Look towards finding your ikigai, a juncture where what you are good at, what you like, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for (not avoiding the long arms of capitalism).

Be a Master of None, you Happy Jack of All Trades

It turns out, your ikigai is unlikely to be singular. It manifests itself clumsily in several forms. You may be good at, and enjoy painting, but you may not be paid for it instantly; that is the current world rules of being an artist. The world may need more farmers and you could be paid for it, but you may not be good at it. It still fulfills your wider desire to contribute back to society. And perhaps you love to teach children Math because you have always envisioned yourself doing so when you were learning as a child. And so on.

Pick your battles and live meaningfully among your chosen fields of profession. Yes, a little bit of everything. You can paint, farm and teach without having to ever become a painter, farmer or teacher.

You could fill your days with joy and meaning when you take on a myriad of ikigai-inspired roles that fulfill different aspirational needs. The pyramidal Maslow hierarchy’s of needs could be flattened, where physiological needs are placated alongside safety, sense of belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

Now Imagine Everyone Doing That

If this is valued as an alternative work society, this is a multi-generational shift that could take centuries to happen. Now, most modern parents are placing their children in childcare or schools and do not see them for most waking hours. In families with a stay-home parent, at least the other parent has to be away in order to provide for the family as a breadwinner. Chances are, the pressure is high to keep the dough rolling in.

In a family, when parents could take on several work roles, across a flexible time and space schedule, entire families fit one another like a puzzle piece. There are arrangements for everyone to contribute to the society meaningfully as a whole and individually, while raising children to be sufficient future replacement members.

Humans are capable of expanding our capabilities rather than to ‘work really hard to be really good’ at one thing all our lives. Some of us could be a nurse in the morning and afternoon, and keeping the streets clean in the evening.

The city would look a little busier. Everyone would be going everywhere all the time. With a bounce in their step, with much more life and energy. Would the world be a better place when we love what we do all the time?


a travel and food blogger with a constant longing to be somewhere to makes her feel alive ☆ life's an adventure

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