By Ben Aubin
Every popular system of government throughout history has convinced you that working is an essential part of survival. Is it any wonder that so much cultural and social value is placed on a Work Ethic? Can a person have a strong Work Ethic, who isn’t working at a traditional job? Some readers would answer that question, yes, then begin to reconsider. If a person needs a job, and has the opportunity to claim one, then turns it down, can this person still qualify for a good Work Ethic? Is this really so far out of our experience that we must immediately put negative framing on the situation, and lean toward believing this imaginary person is insane or degenerate?
The concept of a Work Ethic is a cultural construct. It glorifies the worker, polarizing them, and making them into something out of Greek Legend. It places any character trait which gets in the way of work as mental, social, cultural, or physical, weakness. If you are not a warrior, you are a subordinate; urged to pay homage to the warrior culture. To not work, is to be weak. To have a strong Work Ethic is to be collectively conscious, trustworthy, disciplined, industrious, proactive, patient, punctual, and committed to perseverance, self reliance, and personal growth. However, I believe one must explore the two motivators for sustaining a good Work Ethic, in order to answer the question above.
Let’s imagine a world where no one works, because no one has to. The ads and billboards everywhere have been covered in local art; as you walk up the street, you notice the flag outside the post office is missing, and has been for months—replaced with a pillowcase. Everything is provided for, and time barely exists. It’s just one long day. People are still doing things. They are still going places. They are still solving problems. Work, in this context, is simply defined as, “accomplishing one or many connected tasks over an extended period of time.” Of course, in order to “Work,” we must have “something which takes time to accomplish.” So, what would Work look like if you lived in a world wherein the social pressure inviting you to believe that the Work you do decides whether or not your government and economy will survive?
Here, the split happens.
We can now clearly see Duty, as a motivator, would no longer exist. Seeking out and finding your life’s embarrassing most secret Purpose would become all important, because it is the only motivation that we would have to wake up in the morning.
To eliminate Duty, only leaves the evil twin motivator, Joy—fluidly defined, and forever spontaneous. Joy crumbles societies. It is addictive, and tolerance is quickly built. One must constantly strengthen their dosage in order to benefit. One must be totally aware of themselves, rather than their culture. It poisons the mind, and creates outlaws, libertines, and hedonists. It moves like water, and will fill in every space it is allowed to flow, until it is obstructed, or allowed to dry up. It does not compromise. It is flakier than a hot hipster. Joy only destroys, because it is akin to True Love. Read that sentence again slowly in your mind. To be committed to Joy, is to be raw; to have a home out on the limb. Only the strong survive.
You—yes you, and not in a generalized sense—are tamed with fear, and negative motivation. I call it coercion, but its True Name is Duty. We few, we happy few, invite you to give up, surrender, and relinquish control. Join us Anonymous homeless, jobless, fauxcialites, working hard at our own private purpose, not yours. With Joy, we do unto ourselves as we wish others will do unto us, because play is not passive.
The downside to Duty is boredom, but the downside to Joy is Ego, and it must be kept checked, lest the user become a philosophical vanguardist. The wise, motivated by Joy, understand that outreach cannot exist, because Joy is not objective. Our lives should only passively inspire others, and dare them to live up to their own curiosities, by witnessing us doing the same. After all, the unexperienced so often mistake Joy for the Sloth Time required after a day of Duty. Sloth Time is merely a 2:1 reaction to Working for someone else’s Joy or Duty. Two hours of Sloth, for every one hour of Duty Work.
Duty is reactionary. Joy never reacts. It only destroys.
At times, it seeps through the cracks of the Duty Worker’s day. Sloth Time activities such as movies, video games, habitually smoking marijuana cigarettes, drinking heavily, becoming a pickup artist, or becoming religiously spiritual, may inspire even the most destitute Duty Worker to imagine quick flits of a Joyful reality. These flits are the sealed invitations of Joy. They are the equivalent of sitting on a stationary roller coaster. Duty Workers coerce themselves into thinking they are content getting off before it gets started, because they don’t have the time to enjoy the whole ride. They spend it all on Duty Work, and Sloth Time.
In life, we tend to produce the results of that which we focus on. Supplementing Joy, to avoid the pain of boredom and servitude, keeps focus on the pain, through Negative Motivation—the cohort of Duty, dedicated to Sloth Time. It tells you when you’ve had enough Joy, and cuts you off before you can begin questioning your Duty. Beneath cultural rationalizations—in the part of the mind the Duty Worker avoids—the secret place; the heart of hearts; it is impossible to perceive a negative. It is like a young child, and assumes Duty does not exist—only Joy.
When the Duty Worker tells themselves, “I’m going out to party, so I can forget work,” the child mind ignores any negative. It hears, “I’m going out to party, so I can work.”
The same can be said for the person who thinks, “I wish I made more money, so I could stop being poor.” It hears: “I wish I made more money, so I could being poor.”
When it corrects the grammar, so it can fully comprehend that, guess what it thinks?
Negative motivation, and the Duty Ethic, exist for short-term emergency situations. Sustained, they only fulfill their singular purpose, and if the perceived emergency is not thwarted, it starts all over again. Once you have enough money that you’re not poor, you lack the motivation to make more than that, and so you begin to self-destruct, so you may continue motivating yourself to make the money you are motivating yourself to have. Money, as it turns out, can make Joy supplements rather convenient. This ties positive emotions to ones self-destruction, and devolves the user into a Masochist. They become addicted, and trade war stories with other Legendary Duty Work acquaintances, rationalizing and fetishizing their cultural commitment.
Slowly, the purpose of the Duty Worker’s life becomes self-destruction, instead of cultural-destruction, since their limitations are now of their own design. They’re tailor fit. They’ll say: at least we have a degree of control over our comfort, emotions, mind, and decisions now. Their culture will say: you’re right, but just in case you have any doubt, here’s a list of scapegoats: scary current events, financial instability, unsavory background traits, poor upbringing by your family, fascist significant other, unpopular skin color, lack of hanging genitals, over-emotionalism, aesthetic, having the wrong attitude—or the contemporary favorite—a potential list of psychosis.
However, Joy does have a chance. By self-destructing, one invites critique. Worded another way, self-destruction is a call for help. Sadly, most close to a Duty Worker, are also Duty Workers, and so they will only insist on ways to return their friend to the fray. A Joyful wild card is the only chance that remains. Their Duty Worker friends will only validate the collective nature of Duty, inadvertently throwing more on top of the young child Joy.
Our life purpose must be tailor fit. It will likely not have mass appeal. The purpose must be singularly interesting and positively motivating to the person, refusing to compromise for any substitute. You can witness it shine through as they make fun of the qualities they associate with their secret purpose, or attack those same qualities in other people. Those Duty Workers whom are able to afford higher Joy supplementation, will press their own Purpose onto the concerned Duty Worker, persuading them to absorb their life’s purpose by highlighting their achievable means of accessing high supplementation. The only means to achieving these means then, is a sense of Duty.
Duty Motivation presents a conundrum for both Anarchism, and the Status Quo. Only Joy can create success. Only Joy can create millions—or remove the necessity for millions. However, the Status Quo is less concerned with this than Anarchists, because whether the worker is self-destructive, or not, they will still be forced to Work. By contrast, those living in an Anarchist society must all carry with them the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur—which may only occur once Joy has stepped in, and Sloth Time has ceased to be an internal calling. Thus, the problem is far more immediate for Anarchists, because we, like Joy, refuse to compromise. We, unlike Capitalism, will not create devices in society to keep the Duty Workers separate from the Joy Workers. We will not idolize the stoic worker of ages; those retaining high social value by coupling their demeanor with a sense of humility. We will not accept being Tired as a status symbol.
Anarchism is fueled by humility’s opposite: humanity. As a tool and philosophy, it is potent, powerful, and full of life. For many gathered at its fringes, it is a beautiful framework for working on new and exciting theories and activities. When it’s explored in absence of self-destruction, it begins to build a bridge between thought and action, which bestows its user with a lust for knowledge, and a constantly evolving paradigm. Joy then, is Anarchism’s only renewable, socially valuable, resource. Without its continued existence, Anarchism cannot exist.
So, why are there so many Self Destructive Anarchists?
This crossover hybrid has only one equal: Christianity. The promise of a great world, later, after Death, or the Revolution, is nearly impossible to shake.
Newcomers to Anarchism skim over the movement when they’re met with this majority truth—the world outside of elegant theory (written by a minority of Anarchist intellectuals), is heavily populated by practitioners guided by one purpose: justified Self Destruction. It’s the flip side of the coin.
However, since many of these Anarchists live off the grid, have no set work schedule, and spend most of their time socializing, or in solitude, the paradigm—from the outside—can look very similar to the lifestyle of Joy, because the Joyful, and the Justified, both seem to care very little of the dangers of spontaneity, and exiting social norms. Additionally, many of the Justified (Christians and Anarchists alike) come from backgrounds of Abusee/Abuser relationships, and thus tend to play into the cycle of victim, martyr, persecutor. (This probably explains why women, and people of color, are minorities even within the anarchist movement: when you live through daily abuse, you tend to look for quantifiable ways out, not ways to justify staying in.)
The Justified may be quickly identified. They repeat more of what they learn through third parties, than what they learn first hand. They are elitist. They’re more concerned with the long term than the short term. They’re vangaurdist. They hold what they have and consider to be culturally valuable over your head. They expect you to remember the things that they think and say as well as they do, and scold you when you don’t. Ask them to describe three similar objects, and they’ll tell you the differences, instead of the similarities. They notice the negative aspects of things first. They share war stories as often as possible, to give themselves a sense of higher social value, rather than motivational stories. They live in a world ruled by scarcity, instead of abundance. They stick to patterns, and say No to invitations, more than Yes. They are typically co-dependent, don’t know it, and espouse their disgust for co-dependency—and mistake inter-dependency for the same thing. They are aggressive collectivist nurses, pretending to help others with positive sounding words—masking negativity—likening themselves to Atlas, and remaining focused on saving everyone around them from future pain, and anxiety. They are attracted to other members of the Justified, because they attempt to save one another; the young child inside them secretly hoping to fix their own dissatisfaction by witnessing how to fix it first in someone else. The more socially active the Justified become, the more external validation will be required for them to feel Justified. So, they will often call their attacks on others, “assessments,” or “coaching,” and reason that they should be celebrated as a pivotal positive, or objective, influence in the lives of those around them. During times when celebration is scarce, they self destruct, and blame external elements, or superstitions. They do all of this of course, with a sense of Duty, negatively motivated by the secret mantra, “I must fix them, so I will not resemble them.”
In life, we tend to produce the results of that which we focus on.
The Justified also like to avoid “Drama,” and liken themselves to the shadowy Oz, working behind the curtain. When their cover is blown, and they believe their Justified peers can tell they’re “pulling strings,” they internalize and submit, even if that is the not their peer’s desired outcome. They are tyrannical in their avoidance of “Drama.” Skin deep is as far as the Justified like to go, lest (they believe) they will blow their cover. They only discuss “Drama” topics in whispered voices, behind closed doors, and they pressure their peers to collectively worship these moments with them, like Pagan deities. Life, for the Justified, is all about secrets. “Drama” is the secret’s nemesis.
Drama is difficult to define, because it has different parameters for every member of the Justified. It is typically the expression of something passionately or situationally important to a person—expressed in a direct or confrontational way. Abusers/Abusees abhor direct confrontation, and the Self Destructive character flaw refuses to acknowledge critique, lest they begin thinking about Joy, which will destroy their safety blanket, control. Often, the Justified continue pointing the finger, until a finger points back, and they thus learn everything in a rather peculiar way: second person. They avoid the ever-dreadful “knock down,” by educating themselves through proxy. They spontaneously or purposefully stumble across others who, they believe, have an opinion, belief, or trait, that they wish they had the confidence to sustain in themselves. Then, they begin to attack it. They do so directly and indirectly, and in every way they can imagine, so they may witness how the person defends it. Usually, this just makes the kind of weak people the Justified are attracted to drop the trait all together, broken like a horse, and left to look the Justified for guidance—and destroying the original intention entirely. Soon, the broken horse will be taught to feel Justified as well.
When the approach does “work,” and the attacker feels they have discovered a way to “perfectly” defend it from any assailant, they step into paradigm, and bring their Self Destruction with them. As there is no “perfect” way of communicating concepts to everyone, ever, the first time they’re confronted, or attacked, on their new perception, they drop back down to their Justified Rock Bottom, submit, and go on to become the Jack or Jill of shallow intellectual endeavors.
Since they believe an attack can come from anywhere, this creates a rather divine assailant, who knows everything, and forces them to avoid hanging onto any solid opinions for an extended period of time. They offer their repertoire of failed evolutions to their peers in the form of advice, and if their peers ever take them up on it, they begin their attack.
This is the approach that members of the Status Quo apply to their dissatisfaction with work, and it is why we Joy Workers must show them how it’s done by positive example alone. We must not explain. We must only challenge them to discover their own true happiness.
This is the approach that Anarchists apply to their dissatisfaction with their monetary failure. I believe most Justified Anarchists don’t really know how to comprehend successful Anarchism. They can only comprehend the Status Quo, and the fruits Capitalism bring. They want success, but don’t know how to achieve it. They feel Justified in attacking it, because they can bring it all down to where every idiot can have it, rather than raise themselves and others up to a place where they can all own it. When they are protest, break windows, start unsupported riots, and attack “the squares,” they are simply living the role of Devil’s Advocate. Their secret desire is to attack the right person, who will defend their position so elegantly, the “Anarchist” knows they can step to the other side of the fence, be successful, and Justify themselves to their Justified peers by using the currency that Capitalist Culture tells them is an objective way of keeping score.
The Joy Worker does not need justification. It comes from within. Thus, the only ethically sound tool capable of positively influencing a person toward Joy, and away from Duty, is a tool called a Pattern Interrupt—the successful anarchist’s most valued possession.
Recently, science has shed light on some significant parts of the mind’s inner workings. The human brain simply cannot perceive all the information passing through it all at once, so it ignores bits of it by placing focus on others. This explains why you can’t touch, smell, taste, and see everything in front of you, simultaneously. In addition to ignoring the items it perceives as unimportant, it has a system similar to computer “caching.” When the mind stores things, it banks the emotions present during the memory as well, presumably so you know to avoid the things you don’t like, and recreate the things you do. It is also the technique that allows for you to run on auto-pilot: walking through your house thinking deeply about something, or talking on your phone while you do other stuff at the same time. We only devote all of our attention to something when it is new, not normal, or extremely important. This concept is called Associative Memory.
It’s why you might avoid parking garages if you’ve ever been mugged in one. Parking garages are inanimate objects, and yet we give them life through associative memory.
Additionally, If you ever reach for a doorknob without looking, your mind is probably filling in the image of the doorknob in your peripherals with its associative memory. The same happens for conversations. This is why we’re thrown off the first time we ask a stranger how they’re doing, and they respond with something clever, or rude. The mind stops working from its cache for a moment, and switches to recording, until it rests on what it believes would be a socially acceptable way of responding.
In my opinion, living within a successful Anarchist’s paradigm, means that you must be committed to creating situations when your recorder (and other’s), are on as much as possible. Many Anarchists don’t consider that due to our living in such a media-drenched society, whoever introduces you to something new, will inadvertently anchor that new thing to the emotions present, forever—unless it’s replaced by a stronger and more valuable memory later on.
Here—play a game with yourself. Say the word “Molotov” aloud. Do you associate positively or negatively to that word? Are there positive or negative images or sounds that are conjured up immediately afterward?
This is the battle of Hearts and Minds. This is advertising, branding, word of mouth, marketing, politics, authority, law, order, and confidence. It is where the phrase, “get them to laugh, and you’ll rule their heart,” comes from. Why would a successful Capitalist want to research Anarchism, if their vision of Anarchism is weaker and brings less value to their lives, than their current way of living? Commerce works the exact same way. Let’s say that you used cash for your last purchase, and you had a positive experience. You will more than likely use cash for your next interaction. The same can be said for plastic. If you used barter, you will probably try to use that for your next purchase. However, if you have a negative interaction, you will probably return to whatever was more successful over a longer period of time. The only exception is an internally motivated commitment to change.
The Pattern Interrupt comes from a school of thought called Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP): the science of rewiring our associative memory. The Interrupt can be simple, or advanced. I encourage every Joy Worker to study NLP, because with this communication style you may interrupt the pattern of everyday life, or any one of the perceptions we take for granted, through many different methods. All it requires is for you to remain several moves ahead in your interactions, and a willingness to break some social norms. Your goal is to respond to their communication in ways that you believe are, for them, completely unique. Your interrupt doesn’t need to make any sense at all, as long as you present a meaningful question that gets right to the heart of the matter immediately following the interrupt.
“I hate that I sit around in my house smoking pot all day, but it just makes everything so much more interesting,” they say.
“Let’s go to Disney Land!” You respond, clapping your hands and jumping up from your seat in excitement.
“I’m just kidding, but let’s go and do something new that we’ve never done before! Let’s start by going out for a walk, and see where it leads. Are you in?”
“Why not? What would happen if you didn’t?”
“I dunno. What’s up with all the questions?”
“If you dunno, then why can’t we go for a walk? It’ll be great! Now I’m pumped, so I’m going to go, even if you’re not.”
The trick to a successful Pattern Interrupt is to understand that the mind will work slower than usual, because it will be pondering both the Interrupt (which confuses their Cultural identity), and what you said after it (which stimulates their Joy identity), so move along at a patient but assertive pace.
Once you begin using this technique on yourself, and you begin asking yourself why you believe you should do some things, and not others, you will begin exploring the validity of your Associative Memory. Thinking for yourself forevermore can be daunting, but try to think of it like exercise. It’s always hard, but the longer you do it, the longer you can sustain it, and the easier it gets. Simply put, if you ever feel yourself dong something—anything—on auto pilot, ask yourself, “what purpose does this serve?” Ask the people on auto-pilot around you this same question—just be prepared, because people react in different ways when they have someone asking them challenging questions (especially strangers). Typically, just asking is sufficient, and you don’t even need to wait around for an answer. Try to smile as often as possible, and keep a positive outlook. Fake it until you make it.
Which Motivator controls your Work Ethic? What would happen if it didn’t? What life purpose do you serve? What life purpose serves you? Is it yours or someone else’s? If money and security was no longer an issue, what changes would you make for the better? How would you motivate yourself to sustain that evolution? What’s stopping you from making that change?