I was thinking about this after a long talk with a friend but also after a bit of a media binge. Government departments applying the rules with no flexibility. Businesses trying to reach many more people effectively. Finding a doctor that suits one’s personality and approach. Industrial revolution – no, I am not joking! They are related at some level but it took a while to figure out what that level actually is.

And I’ve got it!

It’s the generalized approach. Like clothes size 8 that fit only a percentage of the people who should generally meet the size criteria. It’s the rules and regulations that we are supposed to follow just because they are despite not actually being suited to the humans who live with them. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against rules and regulations per se. In fact, I think they are necessary. I just don’t think that there is a one size fits all approach.

Where does the industrial revolution actually fit in this? I have this (potentially wrong) idea that prior to the industrial revolution most people were self-employed contractors. Some were not, like slaves, priests, aristocrats. But most were, participating in a loosely wild economy. It seems that the industrial revolution changed this into a rigid, time-bound system that had flow-on effect on most human life, from child care to leisure to death. And despite it being only a couple of hundreds years old, the “civilized” world swears by it and has to be forced to percieve alternatives. The language we use is telling: a self-employed” person is somebody who is “out of the rat-race” as opposed to a government employee being “out of the wild race” or some such expression. So the rat-race is normal and being out of it is not, with (again!) flow on effects like being eligible for social welfare or insurance.

One reason for the above is sheer number. Of people, I mean. Because, of course, other flow on effects of the industrial revolution were the advances in health care, sanitation, convenience etc. So people numbers went up like a kite. So then the generalization that made the Industrial Revolution possible became necessary – or so we think.

Now we’re going the other way and talking more and more about population burden and reducing the number of people on Earth. Few of us have actually stopped to think what that may mean though. We may agree that there are too many of us, but somehow we never include ourselves in the number of people who needs to… disappear, for want of a better word… like death. It always seems to be someone else who needs to die so that we may continue to experience the better life, on a cleaner planet with enough food, water and services.

And yet live how? Why do we have to be lucky to be told that there are alternatives to the rat race? Like self-sufficiency. Or financial independence. Or self-employment. Work from home. Creativity.

What would you choose, if money was not a factor?


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