Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Galley

I'm a machine, making something I don't really care about, for people I don't really care about and earning money that I don't really care about. If only I could make something I love for people I love and earn something that I love. But I guess sometimes we do things we don't like for people we can't like in order to get things we care about. Survival, that's one thing that makes you do things you don't want to do. The only other thing is greed. But when does the search for money stop being survival and start becoming greed? Survival is such a loose word, what I really mean is sustainability of survival at no less than your current standard. But you have to progress, otherwise you will not survive. You're always in a change or die situation, but still, when does it stop being about progress and start becoming about greed.

It's as though the world instills greed in us. You have to take the job that offers you more money, it's insane not to take it. Is it insane not to be greedy these days? How can you turn down the gulf offers you keep getting, are you crazy? Is it crazy to try and go through life without selling out? It's a big word selling out, and it's used in so many ways that devalue it, but the truth is that we do it every day. We sell out, slowly, bit by bit. Our every day compromises are subtle form of selling out. They're very subtle and selling out is a big word.

We compromise what we care about, we lose the children we once were, we lose our innocent dreams and we start to become sophisticated as though that were something good. We dampen our senses and we cease to enjoy the simple things in life because they're not sophisticated enough, because they're repeated, because they're not intelligent enough. We take pride in being unable to be moved easily, we take pride in the simplicity we've killed.

We've killed our own roots, our branches have thought themselves superior to our trunk just because the leaves have so many intricate details. Branch, you fool, you would have never come into existence without the trunk that gave you life, and now you aim to destroy your root and yourself.

Isn't it a bit that way though? That we've destroyed ourselves? What traces are left of our original selves? Very little for some, more for others. But those who are sophisticated have nothing left within them perhaps, or just historical traces of a person they want to forget. The world manipulates us, it toys with us. It forces us to abandon what we love. The world makes it difficult for us to hang on to what we love, the means by which it does it is by forcing us to change in order to survive. We're being pushed, but the momentum is so strong that long after the world has stopped pushing, it's driving power forces us into greed. Greed is the aftermath of a world that makes it difficult to survive and greed is what fuels itself.

We've become greedy, and that's our new motivation. It's a manufactured driving force that we think we need. We're rewarded for this manufactured need by manufactured awards, pieces of printed paper, created by an entity without authority over your emotions ;pieces of metal; images that are supposed to resemble you, your name, words that have been printed by unfeeling machines of gratitude, sophisticated honors and degrees.

I'm not even a machine, I'm a cog in a machine oiled with greed. I'm turning and turning so as not be replaced, so as not to be destroyed. I'm going around in a circle for others to go to different places with speed. I'm a slave in a galley, moving an oar so that someone can fight a better war. If only excelling at it were the price for freedom... but the real irony of it is that all that we do in order to fit in, to gain credit, to be revered in the world is but a price to pay to buy servitude.


silent observer said...


Anonymous said...

..or a rat in the rat race.

All very well put, but one thing I noticed is that it's not necessarily personal greed. That is, we don't always take the fancy job in the Gulf in order to buy the fancy car. Sometimes its familial (tribal?) greed, we want our best for our kids, for our families, etc.

Another aspect is that its not always just financial gain that we're after, it's also societal recognition. "He/She now drives/lives in X neighborhood..."

Whatever the motivation, the point you raise about us being slaves to it all is very true.

So what's the solution?

Do we break out of the cycle and refuse to live by those rules? Do we live by our own recognition that rewards the more basic and noble achievements? Or are all those fairy-tale dreams that are unrealistic? No one really lives free from these expectation of more money and higher stature, right?

It's much easier to convince ourselves we have to do it, than to attempt and break free from it, even though deep down we know, that freedom will always be better.

Unknown said...


did you misspell gallery or galley is a real word?

- just checked and it is a real word!