Monday Musings 223 - Randomness - the lost ideal
"Work destroys your soul by stealthily invading your brain during the hours not officially spent working - be selective about your profession"
"In nature we never repeat the same motion; in captivity (office, gym, commute, sports), life is just repetitive-stress injury" -
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in "the Bed of Procustes"
The subject of work has always intrigued me, particularly the dimension of work which is beyond the aspect of 'making a living' out of it. The fact that there are infinitely more who work to make a living than those who work for the love of it only makes this issue more pervasive and in some ways perverted. It does not requires a genius to figure out that the pursuit of making a living is the central theme of being a social creature and should one fail to do it in the maddening pursuit of doing what one loves, hell shall fall.
Nassims first pearl of wisdom is uncanny and poignant. It is no secret that modern cubiclewallah takes work home in more deceptive ways than the obvious. The simplest and the probably the least harmful amongst them is to take the 'physical' work home. The more ubiquitous and probably the more damaging is those aspects that he takes 'stealthily' home. These are the anxieties, the spillovers, the worms of intrigue that remain in him, unbeknown to him and in most cases outside his abilities to resist. They rob him of his authenticity - in leisure, in family and in solitude. Each one handles this systematic invasion in his own way. Some may be actually good at leaving work at work, but if Nassim is to be believed, it rarely happens. My guess is that most learn to live with the corruption of the soul rationalising that it is the price of being success full in the work that they are into, even though it may not be the work that they would have wanted to. I am intrigued not with the phenomena anymore but how i wish i knew how each one is dealing with it. It would make a fantastic viewing - an engrossing cinema of sorts.
Nassims second pearl of wisdom is amazing in its observation. Come to think of it that in nature everything is random, nothing is repetitive, while in modern living everything has a routine, a pattern - and whatever is repetitive must remind us of captivity, for in only captivity that motions need to be repeated. Free living is about randomness. Modern living shrinks the space for randomness. Even the weekend leisure is becoming repetitive - friends coming over, going out so on and so forth. Even gym, which is so healthy, is about receptive patterns. Pure joy comes from randomness. Repetitiveness can only make you a prisoner and engender ennui and boredom. Only randomness provides succour and freshness. It is the balm for the soul. I keep wondering about how often i do something really random - and the answer is not very kind.
So here is what i tell myself. Life is supposed to be random - not repetitive. But randomness in the times of primacy of 'making a living' requires courage or may be clarity preceeding courage.
Randomness may the lost ideal. Can i rediscover it?