Some insights into our current state of social decay, from Tim Kreider, in a New York Times article from a few weeks ago, It’s Time to Stop The American Scam.
- It turns out that millions of people never actually needed to waste days of their lives sitting in traffic or pantomime “work” under managerial scrutiny eight hours a day. We learned that nurses, cashiers, truckers and delivery people (who’ve always been too busy to brag about it) actually ran the world and the rest of us were mostly useless supernumeraries.
- American conservatism, which is demographically terminal and knows it, is acting like a moribund billionaire adding sadistic codicils to his will.
- An increasingly popular retirement plan is figuring [out whether] civilization will collapse before you have to worry about it.
- In the past few decades, capitalism has exponentially increased the creation of wealth for the already incredibly wealthy at the negligible expense of the well-being, dignity and happiness of most of humanity, plus the nominal cost of a mass extinction and the destruction of the biosphere — like cutting out the inefficient business of digestion and metabolism by pouring a fine bottle of wine directly into the toilet, thereby eliminating the middleman of you.
- Of course, everyone is still busy — worse than busy, exhausted, too wiped at the end of the day to do more than stress-eat, binge-watch and doomscroll — but no one’s calling it anything other than what it is anymore: an endless, frantic hamster wheel for survival.
- There is too much that urgently needs to be done: a republic to salvage, a civilization to reimagine and its infrastructure to reinvent, innumerable species to save, a world to restore and millions who are impoverished, imprisoned, illiterate, sick or starving. All while we waste our time at work.
- (Kreider, 2012) I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.