Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Corrosion of Character

I have started reading this rather weird book upon the recommendation of an even more weirder character I know.
As I went through a few pages I have realized that this book presents a different view of things. New often means controversial, challenging your beliefs and the very way in which you have put your life together thus far. New also means it is not necessarily true. Or maybe true in general but not true in my case, our yours. Thus, there are going to be many interesting tit-bits in this book that I would like to record. Some in agreement, some in disagreement and some otherwise.
I generally use twitter for such shit. But the 140 characters thing can get irritating at times. So I will be sort of live blogging this book as a go through it. This post will be updated often, I hope.

"Career", for instance in its English origins meant a road for carriages, and as eventually applied to labor, meant a lifelong channel for one's economic pursuits.
The author is saying that earlier times people lived out their whole lives in one job/company, so there was great certainty and stability. Which was a good thing. Now people have to hop around so life has become more uncertain and stressful.
Me: Disagree. Stress is a result of trying to control the uncontrollable. It cannot be blamed on random stuff.

Time is the only resource freely available to those at the bottom of society.
Me: Interesting. Wonder if it is available freely at the top too.
The author writes about today's world and how we move around and keep changing jobs.

But his deepest worry is that he cannot offer the substance of his work life as an example to his children of how they should conduct themselves ethically. The qualities of good work are not the qualities of good character.
Me: Completely Disagree. A hard days honest work is enough substance for making a good character. It does not matter if you have worked there 10 days or 10 years.

Enrico had a narrative for his life, linear and cumulative, a narrative which made sense in a highly bureaucratic world. Rico [his son] lives in a world marked instead by short-term flexibility and flux; this world does not offer much, either economically or socially, in the way of narrative.
Me: Again Disagree. The narrative is that if you acquire a skill that is marketable then you don't have to depend on any one company for your economic needs.

"Change" means just drift
Me: Agree. If you have not figured out your own agenda then you will most like drift. But how was this different earlier? Lack of movement does not imply stability.

No long term
Me: The author says today's society is based on the above principle. I agree. I myself cannot make any long term plans. Because I can see it does not make sense in these times. But I do wonder what will happen to me in the long term. Hmm as Keynes used to say, everyone is dead in the long term.