As I get older, and my brain seemingly becomes more and more aware by the day, I have to ask myself one very important question that will have a great impact upon my future: am I capable of working hard?
Well, maybe capable is the wrong word. I, and anyone else, are certainly capable of it. I remember taking the hour long train into New York City seven days a week and navigating around to different open mics all over the place when I was first trying to become a stand-up comic. The endless hours of writing and rewriting and phone calls I made to people for research questions when I was working on my novel. The multiple songs I recorded in one session when I was blazing through trying to get my first solo rap album done on an extremely tight budget. No, I definitely have it in me, which is what makes this all the more confusing.
The real reason I ask myself if I’m going to be capable of it is because of the amount of big picture vision, enlightenment and clarity I seem to have for the world in general. It has continued to, and probably will continue to, grow, and it honestly makes me question how much a human being should really think. Because, from my observations of our species, I’ve come up with one main difference between everyone else and me: most humans being seem to think that life is supposed to be hard.
It’s such an omnipresent part of our society that I wonder how many people have ever truly questioned it, but from the moment we’re born, we’re told how much it’s not supposed to be easy. We have the official mantra of homo sapiens, ‘Life’s not fair’ forced upon us at every opportunity we have to complain. We are constantly preached to about the value of hard work. And, most importantly to the mentality that keeps our society running, we look upon those who do want the easy way out, the lazy, the underachievers, the laid back, as losers.
Now, if you’re one of the millions of people who’ve gotten yourself a significant other or a family, there is really no option here. You have to work hard to make sure they have the basic essentials they need for life. I often wonder to myself, only semi-comedically, if the purpose of women is to give men something to work for in life, and the purpose of children is to be little nuggets of nihilism-deterrent, because, let me tell you, as a single male with way too much going on in his brain, I find it genuinely hard to bust my ass for no other reason than myself. Working to get your girl a ring or your kids an education is one thing, but if I’m living for me? Fuck, I’m way too happy just wandering the streets with headphones in my ears on a beautiful night.
You see, I never got the sense that the nihilism wasn’t true, only that it would be an obstacle for the way things work in our world. I never got the answer that it was all philosophical bullshit, only that it wasn’t the way go-getters and game players act. So while I understood the problems associated with saying the world was a joke, I always felt that underneath all those problems, no matter how many of them may have piled up from said revelation, the world was still a joke. This should be, and is, inspiring, freeing, and have the sense of giving me an advantage, but, my Achilles heel is that if the world really is a joke, why should a human being spend even one tiny second of their life doing something they don’t really want to do?
While the slavish devotion to hard work our species has could be seen as purely, beautifully logical (that is how things get done), I can’t help but see underlying currents of a comfort blanket in it, the same as I do with religion. They put on their gloves, dig in and get dirty, and they know, goddamnit, that they are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. You can see the huge social changes that have become the norm nowadays, where the traditional sprint towards the finish line of having a career and family have been dismissed in place of a pursuit of happiness. A friend’s comment of how bad this is for the economy seemed way too telling of what lies underneath the social norms of this world. If we’re all out chasing happiness, how are we going to keep this system running?
And so I see the pursuit of personal joy dismissed as hippie bullshit because as humans living in a society the one thing we are denied the right to do is be joyful simply from just existing, the life that our animal counterparts enjoy every day. This may explain the perverse charm I’ve always felt radiated off of homeless people – they have left the rat race and reduced their existence to mere animal-like leisure and survival.
For those of us who just can’t seem to take the matrix seriously, I’ve created the term, ‘Edenist’, based on, of course, the garden of paradise that many on this planet believe existence actually started as. Why should life be hard, difficult, trying? Why should we toil away for what we want? Why should we hold the unfairness of life close to us like a child’s teddy bear? Why should we ever act like our original purpose here wasn’t to just be basking in a beautiful, natural state of nirvana?
Some may call this viewpoint ‘spoiled’, which is a good word choice. Yes, if you are an Edenist, you have been spoiled – spoiled by the realization that every single piece of modern life was fabricated by our fellow human beings and clung to tenaciously as pure, unadulterated truth. I look around at my peers and at the people who have made it to the top and I realize that this is the only reason I haven’t made it there yet, because of my Edenist tendencies. We take the purity of children (all like little ids before we break them of it and train them to be ‘responsible’, to fit into our pre-established framework) and simply embrace it. Children are looked at as needing to be taught because our society runs one way. Were they being born into Eden, they would need to know nothing more than how to enjoy life.
So we the Edenists consider ourselves spoiled through awareness. It’s not because we’re childish, it’s because we know too much. I’ve long heard of and analyzed the cliche of the more talented artists being the ones who won’t play the game, who are left to the side with their insanity and artistic purity as their parting gifts from society for choosing a misanthropic route. This seems to perfectly fit in line with my theory of a sense of hyper-awareness about existence birthing a disgust for the system. When your brain has elevated you above the planet so that you can look down upon it and see the worried, stressed, constantly forward marching humans as nothing but ants, adhering to the system becomes damn near impossible.
So, my fellow underachievers, slackers, and madmen, I give all of you a name. My Edenist ways make me wonder what I will end up doing in this world, with a resonant sentence from a friend echoing in my head, telling me that no matter what of-this-world dream I might be giving up on because of shoving away work ethic, I will simply always be winning in the long run:
“Time enjoyed is not time wasted.”
How about you? Is there an Edenist in you?