A Case Against Capitalist Variety

photo: MK Feeney/Flickr

Life with a lot of variety has a rotten core. Wanting everything is losing sight of what really matters while feeding a machine.

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I hate variety. I believe it destroys people from the inside out. Before you leave this page, thinking how biased an opinion this is, give me a chance to briefly explain myself.

First of all, we should agree on the definition we give to the word ‘variety.’ By variety, I mean the concept each human being in a modern society is raised up with, being tutored from little children to embrace every new thing in life, not to be afraid of the unknown and try to soak every new experience like it belongs to us. Well, I disagree with this brainwash imposed on us from our school years and even before.

Now, I don’t mean to say that we have to be closed to ourselves and to others, afraid of the unknown. What I am saying is that, in my honest opinion, each human being should concentrate on a very specific subject, one which he/she loves doing and one which he/she is good and efficient at.

Before you disagree with me again, let me ask you a question. Who would be more efficient, someone who performs over ten tasks a day (each of those tasks requiring high levels of attention and energy consumption, i.e. family, friends, work, hobbies, household), or someone who only has two, maximum three things on his mind? If you think that by saying this I defy the concept of family, of leisure, etc., unfortunately you are wrong.

Leisure and the Splitting of the Mind

Let’s pick it up from the word ‘leisure’ that I just mentioned. ‘Leisure’ as we know it was invented with the predominance of the industrial revolution. People spent a big amount of their time on a boring job in some factory. This job exhausted them and certainly didn’t entertain them, so an urgency was born for off-time activities that granted the workers with joy and motivation to get up early the next day and go to the same factory and do the same boring task. After their job or in their break they would perform this leisure activity, say football, and then they would get to their families. The splitting of the focus and concentration is born.

Today, the situation has got so much worse. You have jobs, leisure time, family, friends, holidays, household maintenance, finance management of your family, and ten more things that are not that important to mention but which still drain focus from the brain.

Starting to get the idea of what I am trying to say yet? If no, don’t worry, I am here to keep structuring arguments and building upon this alternative ideology. At this point I want to mention specifically why this idea of mine was born, and how. I am currently a student of International Business at Maastricht University (The Netherlands) and I have huge problems trying to organize my timetable and distribute my time in the most efficient way.

I need to cook my own food (which requires going to buy the ingredients as well) or signing up to a canteen and going there twice every day to feed myself, I need to put in more or less twenty hours per week studying (that is apart from the actual time spent in courses and working groups), I need to exercise (I like going to the gym), I need to practice a sport (in my case basketball) in order to build a sense of teamwork and also to keep fit (note that going to the gym alone does not keep you fit if you only perform exercises for your muscles) and I also need to socialize with others, share opinions and entertain myself.

Needs vs. Wants

If you noticed, for all the activities of mine above I used the word ‘need’ and not the word ‘want’. Now some of you would ask, why did I use the word ‘need’ since I don’t actually need to do all these things, I chose to do them so that I have a complete life. Well, based on what I have said in the previous paragraph, all these activities actually ARE needs. I need to do all those things to fulfil all aspects of my personality, since the main task I have, which is none other than studying International Business, doesn’t fulfil me completely. And if you believe that I am an exception and that most students of my age are thrilled with their studies and don’t want to do anything else, you will be surprised with the answers you are going to get if you ask other students of my age the same thing.

I know I include a lot of information on my personal life in this article but I only do that to try and use myself as an example of my point (if you haven’t yet understood this point clearly, hold on, the next paragraphs will answer many questions).

Why do I need to go to the movies or play a basketball match with friends to acquire entertainment and joy? Why doesn’t my ‘job’ (in my case it is still studies but you get the point) provide me with this same joy, so I can then go home and relax and also have more time to put in to this wondrous job itself? Well, I have an answer to my own question, but since I don’t believe you are going to accept it so easily, I am just going to build towards it slowly.

Whose variety?

You might still be confused with what I am saying, so fortunately for you I am still here to sort things out. If you started reading the article from the beginning and you are still going, first of all I want to congratulate you for your patience. Next I want to remind you how it all started, by me saying that I hate variety. Well, I do hate variety, but after you have soaked in all the above information I think I can try and explain to you why I hate it.

To come forward and stop hiding behind information and arguments, I will clearly state that I believe variety is something indirectly imposed on us (the brainwash I was talking about in the second paragraph) by the capitalist world we live in. ‘They’ are trying to manipulate us and confuse us, so that we stay away from the few truths that matter the most.

Tell me, will you have time to study about who governs you and how, what you like and what you dislike in the system, if your mind is stressed to its limits about the project you have to present tomorrow at work, about who will pick up the kids from school and about how you are going to save up enough to go to Hawaii next summer? No, you are not going to have the time or mental strength to worry about one extra thing. And that is part of ‘their’ plan. The powerful, the wealthy one percent of your country, the owner of the company you work for, shake you like a puppet and keep feeding you with things to worry about so your suspicion is not raised.

Ever thought of who takes care of you, yeah you reading this article, and the safety of your properties (your car, your house, your bank account)? Well, to make a long story short, it’s the financial systems of the capitalist states that we vote and trust and believe in. The banks provide us with loans to buy a new house for our new family, they provide us with loans to buy a bigger car to fit our growing family, they provide us with loans to take vacation on some exotic island which we saw on the front page of a magazine at work.

Life according to John

What does all this have to do with what I was saying? Well, if you haven’t made the connection yet, let us take as an example John. John is 34 years old, has his bachelor degree in mechanical engineering and his major in business administration, and has started out on a brand new job in a Transnational Company, let’s say Coca Cola. With the good money he has made in his fist year with Coca Cola he decides to move into the big city and buy a brand new house with his beautiful wife.

Translation of the last sentence: John’s job, which provides him with more money that he actually needs, encourages him to move from the countryside to the city so that he is closer to the factory, so he spends this money, which he didn’t even need in the first place, to take a loan and buy a big house. Then he will get a car, improve his house, travel far and wide, mainly on borrowed money, in part at least, that he has to work harder to pay back.

And that is life according to John, with a lot of variety, but still one basic thing at its core: wanting everything, loosing sight of what really matters, wasting time and resources to keep an economic machine going till the end of one’s days, right?

I honestly could keep going with examples, numbers, statistics and other signs to prove that my statement is true, but I am not going to do so since you are already tired and possibly confused. So I am just going to close out by saying that I am still young and I don’t claim my opinions to be the one and only truth that exists, but a lot of research and personal thinking have led me to believe that this is how things are.

Also, I want to call out to anyone who disagrees with me or has something to add to please do so since I am hungry for conversation about this specific topic and would be glad to share opinions about it.

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