2019-08-14 Achievements in the Anthropocene

@Miredly was musing about life and work:

I’m wasting my life, time is slipping away and the world is ending. I’ll never achieve the things I want to achieve.

I fear this is related to the winner-takes-all job situation some of us find themselves in. In other words, wherever there are rockstars this happens. No matter how well we can sing or dance or program, we are not Michael Jackson or Linus Torvalds. Jobs that don’t scale don’t have this problem: the butcher, carpenter, gardener – they don’t feel like losing at the job because there are no rockstars as far as I know. So the self-worth we derive from our job depends on the rockstariness.

Then again, time is slipping away, life is short and then we die, and apparently the world is ending because we didn’t just fail as individuals but as a culture. I spoke about work because that is where we can do something for our own mental health: look away. Focus on the private life, the achievements of living, of going for a walk, of good food, of beautiful sunsets, of seeing plants and animals and the sky.

The general malaise of being human in the anthropocene and late stage capitalism can only be handled by distraction, I fear. We run and dance in order not to see.

Facing the truth of our insignificance is unnecessary, most of the time. Realize it, ponder it, and then put it aside.

As a kid I was looking at what Alexander the Great had accomplished at my age. But then came the day when I realized I had survived the butcher and I realized that maybe simply being alive is enough. It doesn’t always help, though.

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