Why You Should Build Your Own Machine

Cogs in the machine can be replaced. Better to build your own machine with a single cog — if you’re up for it.

black and white image of a crowd for article by Larry G. Maguire

Photo by Rob Curran on Unsplash

Cogs in the machine can be replaced. Better to build your own machine with a single cog — if you’re up for it.

With over 65% of the global population within the working-age of 16 to 64, it accounts for roughly 5bn people. All of these people, both collectively and individually, will find themselves at a slightly different stage of the evolutionary relationship with work.

Many of them will feel blessed to have a job. Others will squeeze their job for all they can. Those who don’t have a job either resent their social position and gladly take the dole payment, or will look to their political representatives for salvation through the provision of employment. Only the very few will seek to go it alone.

Now, I realise I’m presenting a very simplistic scenario here. But the point I’m attempting to make is that we all have different relationships with daily work. These relationships are dependant on cultural norms, local industrial development, social grouping, beliefs, ideas, opinions and many other factors. But by and large, I think it’s fair to say that the many looks to the few for a sense of worth the means to earn a living.

This dependency on the few for our self-worth, value and a means to live, I believe is a stage of human evolution most of humanity has yet to transcend. Until then, we will continue to be manipulated towards ends that are not of our own volition. Given a choice, I want to believe that human beings living in the southern US, Brighton UK, Dublin or Paris would not put a gun to the head of a Syrian child for the sake of a full tank of fuel. But that’s what’s happening through our facilitation of the proxy war that is being waged currently in that part of the world.

Crowds of people are easily manipulated by single voices through means well documented. Until we can break free from these ties, our fellow human beings will continue to be sacrificed for the sake of power and control of resources.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of” — Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928)

We are seen as resources too. Corporate departments refer to us as human resources because that’s what we are to them — a means to an end. Sure, they’ll dress up the office with nice things, provide you with free coffee, meditation rooms, flexitime and use clever words to convince you they care.

But the truth is that corporations are run by bureaucrats living with the same fear and anxiety about the apparent future as you do. Just like the Syrian child who their corporate overseers are prepared to sacrifice for profit, they are ready to sacrifice you for the sake of following the rules, for the sake of their job.

Yes, I guess I am a cynic. I am one who simply rails against the global corporate for the sake of it. I am someone who fails to see the benefit, only the deficit, of corporate-led capitalist society, one whose governments have been infiltrated by business and no longer serve the people’s interests. Edward Bernays and Gustav LeBon would be proud to see their ideologies executed with such efficiency.

Despite my apparent cynicism, I’m not angry. I don’t expect my opinions to permeate the four corners of western industrialised culture and change the world. And I don’t expect many of you who are exposed to this to change your means of earning a living because of the information and opinion I share. But one or two of you might, and to me, that’s a win. So I’ll keep writing on this and related topics because freedom of mind is essential for the positive growth of humanity.

“Modern man has transformed himself into a commodity; he experiences his life energy as an investment with which he should make the highest profit, considering his position and the situation on the personality market. He is alienated from himself, from his fellow men and from nature” — Erich Fromm, Psychoanalyst

I have been telling my boys from the time they were old enough to understand, and I will tell Cara this too when the time is right. One of the greatest means of personal fulfilment and gratification in life can be achieved only through working for oneself. It’s hard, and pay may not be great at first or even at all, but you will be happier. This is what I have come to know.

You will also be wiser, more rounded, broader skilled and learned. And perhaps most importantly, you will learn to think for yourself independently of the prevalent groupthink. You will learn to recognise close-minded opinions for what they are, and you will break out of the box in which most workers in this society live. This is perhaps the most significant potential asset of the self-employed person.

So if not now, until the time is right for you, keep working that job. In parallel, get working on something that floats your boat, that makes you smile and that lights your fire — something that you would do for no pay. Eventually, if you are committed to yourself and the work you love, you can make a career from that.

Because you see, jobs come and go and someday when they find a cheaper way to do what you do for them, you’ll be out on your ear. So better to design your own working life than to be part of someone else’s manipulative machine.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. I also write on The Creative Mind. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters

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