“This time like all times is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it”: Emerson
And we showed that we did not, over the last many years, know what to do with good times. If we did, we would not have allowed so many other “Little Kings” to rule our way right into the dumpster. (Thanks to Laurence Boldt, author of Zen and The Art of Making a Living, for the theme, and the quotes here).
And we are still guided by people cut from the same cloth, on Wall Street and in corporations…big and small. Little Kings all wanting to live the life…
“The key promise (of the industrial revolution) was that the common man would one day soon be King. We would possess for our own good, the kingly prerogatives of power, leisure, and security-power over our station in life, the liberty of leisure, and the security of power.
We labored for a kingdom and the promise of the leisure to enjoy it. We created labor unions that would create our kingdoms for us. Even our children’s teachers enrolled. We created the ideals of common and shared ENTITLEMENTS to goods, and the ability to consume them. We created the pretense of earnings and privilege. We demanded that we would be Kings and “take for ourselves as much power, leisure and security as we thought we deserved and could get away with.”
We created the ideas that labor and happiness were opposites and that leisure and wealth are entitlements.
We fashioned ourselves in the image of Kings and demanded our leisure, goods, and security.
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like”. Will Rogers
Great quote from a legend. The only scary thing is that he died 75 years ago (and probably said the above 20 years before that).
I digress, and you the reader, I am told, have the attention span of a nat. So, let me return to my point(s):
In our quest to be Little Kings we allowed others to be even bigger Little Kings and to control our illusion of being Kings, while we basked in the light of privilege.
Most of us, as Little Kings, have created nothing, added nothing, produced nothing of lasting value and by simply going through those motions, decided that we should be given everything. We focus on our leisure and we rail against anyone who pushes us to be fully present in business and societal cures.
When things were good, we could have turned our attentions to issues of poverty, lack of medical attention, rotting infrastructure of our cities and governments. Instead, we created larger icons of our need to be kings: McMansions, funds that guaranteed enormous returns, and we fostered (by our envy) the ability of a few people to be enormously wealthy (Wall Street and Bankers) working the same 40 hours the average man does. (Not the old Unions. They got that down to 32 hours, plus paid overtime). We demanded companies at which we work to be more generous, powerful and even though we did little to foster their results individually, we basked in being part of the LARGER Kingdom.
We wanted the chest of gold, and we wanted it delivered. Overnight.
That was the sound of our individual and corporate values hitting rock bottom.
We need to rebuild and we need to retool. We need to go back to work, but in a different way, with a different point of view.
An old song, but appropriate for our time:
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Bob Dylan, 1964
Are we listening, or as CSN said: “Everyone’s talking and nobody listening, how can we decide”