Hi there! Welcome to For F*ture’s Sake! A half-assed attempt to turn this stinking, filthy tanker of a civilisation around.
Reading time: 3 minutes
Part 1 - Essay
In Praise of Idleness
Sing Hallelujah! This week, my boss agreed to my request. Essentially, I’ll be working part-time for the next two years.
Naturally, this means a tightening of belts, but the way I look at it is this: Money is a renewable resource, time isn’t.
This arrangement is not only an opportunity to spend quality time with my kids during their formative years, it’s also a chance to slow down and devote more time to fun, freedom and fulfilment.
Might Aswell Face It Your Addicted To Work
Society is addicted to work. And as we watch the US election results with bated breath, we know there’s one thing both sides of the political divide agree on — jobs are good.
But I’m not so sure they are. At least not in their current guise.
Almost one hundred years ago, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced so far, we’d all be working a 15-hour work week. In technological terms, today, we’re quite capable of this; yet Keynes’ utopia never materialised.
Why not, I wonder? Instead, technology seems to have us working all the more.
Since Keynes’ day, we’ve witnessed a massive increase in consumerism. So, maybe it's because, given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, collectively, we've chosen the latter. And someones got to pay for those exotic holidays and new-fangled gadgets.
Of course, consumerism is having a negative impact on our planet. But it’s not just certain pleasures that are damaging our world; it’s puritanism too.
70% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, come from energy, transport and construction. Most of the rest is produced by industry.
There are simply too many “bullshit jobs.”
Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho!
I mean sure, the pandemic has shown us all just how valuable and underappreciated many professions really are. If nurses, food delivery drivers or rubbish collectors were to vanish in a puff of smoke, the consequences would be immediate and terrible. The same goes for many other noble occupations too.
But what about, say, private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs and bankers? Would humanity or our planet suffer without those professions too?
What does it say about our society, where limited value is placed on artists and musicians, compared with specialists like corporate lawyers?
In my humble opinion, a world with one less science fiction writer or punk rock musician would be a lesser one (and I don't even read science fiction or listen to punk rock).
Stop Making (No) Sense
“There is far too much work done in the world…immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous. What needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached.” - Bertrand Russell
It seems clear; our value systems are skewed and they need upending.
At the moment, we’re powering through the natural resources of 1.6 planet earths per year. But we're not just hurting our planet, we’re damaging our moral and spiritual selves too.
We need to explore new realms, where progress isn’t constantly measured by material progress. For example, I love Bertrand Russell’s idea of a 4-hour work day, where we have the rest of it free to be artists, or scientists, or whatever else tickles your fancy.
Whatever the domain happens to be, if we want to protect ourselves and our planet, while ensuring we leave a better world for future generations, we’re simply going to have to stop doing pointless work.
But you go ahead now. I just need to check it's ok with my boss first.
Part 2 - Leaving a legacy
Yemen's "Microgrid Girls"
In rural Yemen, if you're fortunate enough to have power at all, it’ll most likely come from a dirty diesel generator. A group of local women are working to change all that. They're building a solar microgrid to provide energy for their community and beyond. This is no small feat — Yemen ranks at the bottom of the UN gender equality index.
The kindness of strangers and a soccer superstar
Marcus Rashford is on a roll. But the Man Utd star's spectacular and record-breaking hat-trick against Leipzig last week, pales in comparison to his growing achievements off the field — as a brilliant humanitarian.
Part 3 - Random Bits
"People try to do all sorts of clever and difficult things to improve life instead of doing the simplest, easiest thing — refusing to participate in activities that make life bad."
This summer, I grew sunflowers with the kids. They're dying now (the sunflowers not the kids) so we’re harvesting the seeds. I think you're supposed to just place the head in a bag and let the seeds fall out themselves. I'll keep you posted — an unbearably cruel cliffhanger I’m sure!
A Rail Whale Tale. Tram runs off track, lands on whale statue and driver dodges death…
Sometimes though, accidents happen the other way around…
Thanks for reading and stay safe — Scott.