the 4 states of modern existence..

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

the 4 states of modern existence..

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Tue May 31, 2022 6:29 pm

In thinking about modern existence, we have
4 distinct and separate states in which we can live in..

we have work,
we have labor,
we have consuming,
and we have contemplation...

the modern world demands much of the first three,
work, producing, and consuming,
not so much with contemplation...

so what is the difference between the three?

well, let us start with consuming first, consumption,
the act of buy/selling, using materials.. like cars, TV sets,
houses, eating a sandwich is consumption or drinking milk,
that is the act of consumption...

we have two distinct actions, work and production...
and it has taken me a while to work out the difference,
production is the act of creating something, so someone
who is engaged in the producing of a car, that is production...
they are making or building something... like a sandwich,
that is producing... now some items that are produced last
a long time, cars, bridges, buildings, the pyramids,
they were produced and have/can last a long time...

and we have work.. now I engage in work... which is work but
not producing anything... for example, at work, I stand in a
checkstand and scan various items into the computer...
I will scan a can of corn, $.89 and I will scan some milk,
$2.49.. and then I have to input bananas, I weigh them,
at $.99 cents a pound, thus I have two pounds, so it is $1.98...
so the total bill will come to $5.36, no tax on food items...

now let us examine this transaction.. what anything created?
no, it was busy work, but not a thing was created....I took a
can of corn and scan it into the computer, the price was
noted on the screen in front of the customer,
the customer paid that money for that can of corn....

and what was created? I am being paid $23.00 bucks an hour
to scan merchandise into the computer... but what is being
created? not the food, for it was created elsewhere,
the can of corn, the corn was grown in Iowa, the can was
created somewhere else and the corn was put into that can,
somewhere, and was shipped to California, where eventually
I scanned it.. so what is being produced in my store?
well, sandwiches are being made, fruits are being packaged,
meat is being cut and packaged, but all of those are actually
being created elsewhere and "produced" put into some form
at the store level...

so work is the work done that doesn't actually produce anything..
and much of the corporate world today does exactly that,
work is being done and paid for, but nothing is actually being
produced... think life insurance, what is being produced there?
or the educational system? There is actually nothing being produced
in our educational system.. education isn't actually producing anything..
(perhaps this is why conservatives hate education so much)
but there a whole lot of work involved in education, but
nothing produced...
we have congress, which very busy making laws, which is work, but
they don't actually create/produce anything..
we have newspapers and the 5:00 news, who report the news,
and they work very hard at it, but do they produce/create
anything even resembling a sandwich? NO, they work,
but they don't produce anything...

and this working, producing, consuming is the better part of
the modern world... but I said the 4th state and what exactly is
this fourth state?

this is what Hannah Arendt refers to as the "via contemplative"
the 4th state is the state of contemplation or wondering about
the world... this is the fourth possibility of human existence
and the one that is the most hated...

my dad, as did your dad, told me to become
a productive human being.. by "earning my keep"
Nothing is for free.. you have to work for everything...

at no point, did my dad nor did your dad, say to "contemplate"
what it means to be human... the act, and I can't even be sure
using the word of "act" is appropriate for contemplation,
no one ever told us that the meaning of human existence
is to contemplate the meaning of existence...
but it is there.. both the religious and the philosophical,
contemplate.... let us examine what the word contemplation
even means:

contemplation: the action of looking thoughtfully at something for
a long time..

deep reflective thought, " he would retire to his room for study
and contemplation"

prayer is often considered to be contemplation...

I hold that instead of being an afterthought, at best,
we should return contemplation back into something
we do before we act or do anything....
put contemplation before our three other states,
that of work, production and consuming..

we should begin by contemplation first,
and then we work, we produce, we consume...
but Kropotkin, people after contemplation may
not want to work or produce or consume?
yep, and thus we have occurring right now,
what is being called, "The Great Resignation"
where people after spending almost 2 years
in lockdown had time to reflect and contemplate
their lives and what it means to have pointless jobs,
which is leading people to quit their crappy jobs...
their low paying, hard working, pointless
work in which nothing is being produced, but work
is being done that leaves nothing behind...
not even a sandwich... I work but I don't create
or produce anything that is real or tangible....
there is nothing of value that I do at work...
it is, in every sense of the word, pointless, meaningless
work....

and so I engage in the 4st of existence, which is contemplation...

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
Peter Kropotkin
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 11253
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:47 am
Location: blue state

Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: PolandYoung