Thursday, April 15, 2004

Who needs prozac when you have goals..that you can reach?

If ignorance is bliss, why are some many suckers so goddamn unhappy?

J. & I were talking about how in western society, it seems that so many people wrangle with depression. He noted, "It seems to me that if people just have a few goals that they can reach and they can make them happen even with little steps at a time, then they wouldn't need to take prozac or feel depressed."

It seems so simple, but there must be something to this.

I remember a few years ago my Mother gave me this book by Suze Orman, The Courage to be Rich. I promptly hid it beneath copies of Harpers and a coffee-table book on Majorca. I didn't want to read this... the white woman with nicely coifed hair on the cover, she didn't seem like someone I could relate to. She probably kept all her appointments striaight on a PDA, she probably enjoyed reading Under the Tuscan Sun. I could never be like her. Plus the title of the book freaked me out a little. Courage to Be Rich? Sounds like the Gumption to be Successful. I simply found that I had little stomach for most of those motivational speakers who promised that they could teach you to spin gold from foreclosures. Once a very long time ago I went to one of those get-rich-quick seminars and I felt myself cringing every time the people in the audience clapped their approval or uttered sounds of awe during the flim-flam speech… I felt as if I was in church, but the preacher was really pitching his sales, and the checks going into the baskets were for hundreds not just fives and tens. I remembered the movie The Grifters and began to feel my throat knotting up my stomach churned and I felt ill because I knew what was happening. I left before I could get my free danish and orange juice.

This and a number of other experiences, convinced me that there was a thing such as the Protestant Work Ethic. So I became convinced that success meant nothing but hard work…uh, hard, boring work. Stupid? Peurile, No? You might think, “There she goes again, over- generalizing how life really is.” I wasn’t too happy about having to relent and play bitch to “the Man.” (Though if you think about it, that's exactly what I'm doing in this job).


Sounds ridiculous, but it's true. I spent an awful lot of time in my early youth resisting certain behaviors and choices in my life, because I felt like I had nothing to loose, or I simply was not the kind of person who could live a normal life. Unfortunately, I confused suburban living with normal life.

Lately, I've felt like I've been waking (slowly) from some fog of self-doubt and loathing. Last year I began to become acutely aware that I really was out of place in the corporate environment as well as the suburban hole. I became truculent, ornery. More than this, I was starting to become depressed because I felt alienated from most of the people who were working around me, what I call these quiet folk who scurry away without a word, without looking you in the eye. It may appear to be so in this blog, but there were times that I felt like I was simply sinking into cynical quagmire… soon after experiencing these feelings of futility I’d promptly fall into a fit of depression.

However, with the help of my therapist, I’ve been slowly beginning to realize that I’ve been using the wrong yardstick to measure my success, and that I don’t necessarily need to aspire to be successful as the others around me are (or I perceive them to be).

You must be thinking, “...duh.”

Maybe it’s because in this place of business we live under the assumption that we will be canned if we don’t meet the grade…and with each rating period… someone always gets the axe no matter how high they were at one point. This is the corporate jungle law which dictates that there is no place for the old/feeble and the weak. Unless, of course you can afford an ass-kicking lawyer.


Somethings to check out:

One man speaks out against the Protestant Work Ethic.

Penitente Agite...wait that's Latin-Catholic. Damn at least the puritans weren't into S&M.

Max Weber & The Spirit of Capitalism

Spartacus & the Protestant Work Ethic?!

Hack the P.W. Ethic - Crackers Crack the System (... hackers, dude, not white people).

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