We're taught by dominant culture to blindly perceive the notion of hard work as virtuous and honorable, regardless of the task — that it is virtuous to mandate the idea that one must justify his right to exist through the forced submission of selling one's time and labor for the means to have access to the bare necessities of life — to attain just enough to survive (if you're lucky).
Because the task itself is actually irrelevant. What is relevant only is the bottom line — the ungodly (or should I say godly) pursuit of money and profit for the sake of acquiring more money and profit.
To what end?
If the notion of hard work is instead directed toward accomplishing a spellbinding vision of unity and integrity as a species — ensuring that a sane society and an ameliorated habitat is firmly established for countless generations to come after us — then the meaning of hard work takes on a whole new territory of meaning. Logic can be extrapolated out of this awareness alone to focus on a fresh approach to defining work — in the context of a world where technical abundance on a global scale is incontrovertibly tangible.
Conversely, if hard work is arbitrarily and solely predicated on survival and monetary acquisition — providing zero economic mobility to almost every human being on the planet — then hard work is, by definition, a glorified form of slavery and social stratification.
Ample evidence shows (as explored in further detail below) that this archaic, contradictory conceptualization of hard work — persistently projected by our cultural mythology — promotes the unquestioned assumption that it's acceptable to be exploited as an employee, or to be the exploiter as an employer.
The unquenchable quest in defining what it truly means to contribute to a society to which is worth contributing — by an ever-growing, exponentially indebted and disgruntled population of youth around the world — further shows how the pathological game of labor-for-income prostitution through economic coercion — caustically proliferating physical and mental illness on a scale never before seen in human history — patently shows that it is screeching to a grinding halt. The youth of today are wisely transcending beyond the belligerent fallacy of working for a future that is based on a past saturated in dogmatic thought processes and paralyzing social stagnation.
If one happens to be unemployed, regardless of one's socioeconomic circumstances, then one is marginalized as a leech of the "State", or even worse, is seen as adding absolutely no value whatsoever to the economic death-machine. Is this really the case?
Isn't a functioning economic system supposed to be about harmonizing with natural law and the biosphere to meet everyone's needs, not just 1% of the human population?
Does a self-proclaimed "advanced species" still require autocratic, centralized governments at all to engender social cohesion in order to operate optimally as a collective whole?
All these questions are not being openly discussed anywhere in the mainstream arena because to do so is to threaten the very foundations of the status quo that depend on disimbalance and exploitation in order to survive.
The etymological dissection of the word government has the word to literally mean 'mind control' — mind (ment) and control (govern). It is thus not surprising that the idea of Government/Statism has been accurately identified and coined by acclaimed author and lecturer Larken Rose as 'The Most Dangerous Religion'.
The very notion of hard work is inherently flawed within the confines of consensus culture when we simply observe how the bank accounts of CEOs continue to flourish unabated, even after the financial collapse of 2008 — while the vast majority of the global population is left in squalor, indentured servitude and debt-enslavement — debts that are structurally incapable of ever being repayed.
"Business leaders" are made excessively "wealthy" not by their own hard work, but by the labor output of their workers, or otherwise known as wage-slaves. Real capital therefore is not money, for money is merely a symbol for energy. Real capital lies in the energy output of the workers themselves. Without slaves and cheap, fossil-fuel derived energy the dismal failure of the experiment known as globalization would self-implode overnight. So, it appears that we're victims of a peculiar kind of schizophrenia where we are systematically coerced into loving and accepting slavery in the same way that a female is systematically coerced into loving and accepting the male misogynist. The male misogynist physically abuses the submissive female knowing full well that he will get away with it — A) because he knows that the system is designed to work in his favour to maintain the abuse, B) she is forced to delude herself into thinking that he actually loves her, or C) he warns her that if she tells anyone about the abuse then she will face much worse physical abuse down the line.
Slavery is a man-made invention birthed in civilization, and a byproduct of empire. Civilization is predominantly about power and patriarchal domination. So the ruling elite of civilization must use ideological instruments like money, debt, ownership and property — all of which insidiously validate the necessity for slavery. If you take the aforementioned out of the equation then slavery of any kind, by definition, cannot and would not exist. If nobody owns anything then nobody can control anyone, which means that the illusion of control is dissolved and hence nobody would voluntarily sell their lives for a pocketful of dimes — to serve a rapacious empire that's subjugating the entire living planet.
The ruling class must have realized, at some point, that physical slavery was not enough.
They knew that generations of people's minds needed to be psychologically manipulated to the point where the victims of the manipulation would eventually be captive to a myopic assumption they are free because they don't physically have cuffs on their wrists or whips at their back. When the cuffs, whips and prison bars are kept invisible to the inmates — the layers of deception must be meticulous, yet unassuming. When the corporate media, education system etc associate the socioeconomic conditions of the past comparatively with the conditions of today — it can then be easily rationalized as favorable because the pain experienced today is obscure and indirect. It is a type of pain difficult to define because it is happening silently in the background within the collective unconscious like a cancer that goes unnoticed by its host. Moreover, when factoring in human psychology with respect to human behavioral tendencies linked to the herd mentality fallacy — we see how the calculating deception is amplified and reinforced because humans psychologically are driven to adhere to the whims of the crowd. And in this context — modern slavery is somehow not really internalized as slavery, since it's better than "what it used to be" — that it's not something with which to be concerned, as the lustful clinging to consensus narrative overwhelms rational thought.
Is an economic paradigm dependent on the unending exploitation of human beings still necessary? According to stellar research conducted by documentary film-maker Sam Vallely who produced a groundbreaking film released in 2011 called 'Will Work For Free' — it is emphatically and without equivocation that already in 2016 there is not a single industry that is impervious to technological unemployment. Award-winning author, scientific educator and futurist Federico Pistono of the Singularity University and Singularity Institute of Artificial Intelligence also explains succinctly in one of his illuminating T.E.D Talks how the evolution of social values is violently impeded — rendering the human race impotent at embracing or even imagining a future without human labor. What's even more interesting is how Capitalism is in fact destroying itself by its own inherent contradictions. Social and economic evolution today falls disgustingly behind exponential technological realizations, largely because the collective unconscious is hypnotically fixated on outdated value systems. The combination of old social values coupled with exponential technological advancement is a recipe for unthinkable catastrophe.
Technological unemployment is the process wherein the rate of jobs assigned to humans is structurally incapable of keeping apace with the rate at which the number of human labor jobs are being outstripped and outmatched by computerization and mechanization. Entire industries containing tens of millions of employed human beings are facing irreversible displacement. There are two defining reasons responsible for causing this unstoppable trend. One is the exponential increase in productivity and efficiency. Machines and computers do all the drudgery-oriented jobs infinitely better than humans do every time.
The true potential of mechanization and artificial intelligence is also made clear when we see how creativity-based jobs are also becoming increasingly vulnerable to displacement.
And Two — increased cost-efficiency for employers. Market logic dictates that cost-efficiency (saving money) drastically increases for employers when human labor is automated because it hugely reduces labor costs.
As long as the perception of what it means to "contribute to society" is restricted to the framework of unfettered capitalism, which is in fact an anti-economy — growth for the sake of growth (the ideology of the cancer cell) — then we'll just be going around in circles, ignoring structural causality — thereby leaving us trapped by our own self-imposed, dictatorial straitjacket.
In essence, the most vehement form of terrorism in the world today is in how we allow abstract illusion to control our lives from cradle to grave. And in the context of abrupt climate change, Peak Oil, Nuclear Waste and many other ecocidal practices committed by the genocidal culture of civilization — if we refuse to maturely tackle the issues that are directly threatening the biosphere instead of canonizing narrow self-interest (the bedrock of our current socioeconomic paradigm) then extinction is all we can ever hope for. Slavery by consent — presciently prognosticated by the distinguished author of the 20th century Aldous Huxley — was never meant to be humanity's final frontier.