The Youniverse

Less work, more play.

It is our deep desire for less work and more free-time that has driven the development of our technologies. We have decided and continue to decide that work sucks, and that we’d rather have fun doing things we truly enjoy. 

The truth is most of us hate getting up in the morning and working at some boring, mind-numbing cubicle, or assembly line, or white-walled store. So we have developed the means to free ourselves or limit the amount of time we spend on that type of work. 

Through automation we can now produce more food, clothing, shelter and medicine than we know what to do with. This reality is obscured by our inane love for competition, which produces an illusion of scarcity. In actuality, we produce so much stuff that we feel more comfortable throwing it away rather than saving it, probably because we are implicitly encouraged to do so. We have so much stuff that many of us spend our time convincing others to buy it. We have so much stuff that we need larger and larger homes to keep it all, and now have an influx of storage facilities for overflow.

The reality is that we now have the capability to be free of work and follow our true joy like never before. And the unstoppable, strengthening momentum of technology is leading us to even less work. Others may tell you this is a bad thing, that we need jobs, otherwise people will be homeless or whatever. These people are looking at our development from an old perspective. They cannot imagine a world where people have the freedom to fill their days with enjoyable activities. They resort to calling us “free-loaders” or “lazy”, as if our desire for less work is wrong or that we should actually desire to be productive little humans, mindlessly producing what we are told to produce. They forget the reasons we have developed as a society at all. 

Make no mistake about it: we are progressing to create less work and less stress, not more. Don’t let the older generation’s limited imagination convince you that we cannot create a world of increasing enjoyment. Our desire is strong enough. It has always been strong enough. It has been and is still leading us to where we want to go. We will get there faster if we each allow our desire full expression and stop listening to the naysayers. We only need to believe in our desire. History is on our side. The future is bright.

Start your career working for the most productive company we know of! The planet is now recruiting new staff! It offers a great salary and an excellent health coverage plan, which includes: clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, awesome weather and scenery to enjoy, an abundance of healthy food such as fruits and veggies and the like, and so much more. It also provides extremely flexible work hours and the ability to work outdoors and in multiple locations. The planet also provides a state of the art work environment which uncannily mimics the benefits of nature. Interested? No need to apply. Simply decide you want to work for the planet and do whatever you can to help it thrive.

Now Hiring: The Most Productive Company in the World

In our economy the most productive companies are protected and given wealth in order for them to continue thriving. What I don’t get is, under this type of thinking, shouldn’t we be protecting and allowing the planet itself to thrive above all else, since it is the most productive “company” we know of?

The planet itself is what has allowed for the production of everything we know of and yet we treat it like it’s the least productive part of our whole economy. We say that we have to make it “productive” by cutting down its trees so that we can produce paper, but aren’t those trees producing the air we breathe? We also make it “productive” by drilling the shit out of it to get oil so that we can pollute its air, which is the very same air that supports us. It’s all a bit crazy, isn’t it?

I guess the reason the planet gets treated so unfairly is because it doesn’t have hundreds of lobbyists bitching to governments about its sad state of affairs like the other “successful” companies do.

So I guess what I’m saying is, we should all do our part to help out the economy. You can help out by:

  1. Sitting under a tree on a nice summer day, instead of cutting it down. 
  2. Taking a swim in the ocean.
  3. Stopping and smelling the roses.
  4. Watching the newest and hottest (both literally and figuratively) reality show, “Nature”. It’s playing right now, outside.
  5. Starting your career working for the most productive company we know of. The planet is now recruiting new staff! It offers a great salary and an excellent health coverage plan, which includes: clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, awesome weather and scenery to enjoy, an abundance of healthy food such as fruits and veggies and the like, and so much more. It also provides extremely flexible work hours and the ability to work outdoors and in multiple locations. The planet also provides a state of the art work environment which uncannily mimics the benefits of nature. Interested? No need to apply. Simply decide you want to work for the planet and do whatever you can to help it thrive. 

What Happened to the 15-Hour Week?

LONDON—As people in the developed world wonder how their countries will return to full employment after the Great Recession, it might benefit us to take a look at a visionary essay that John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1930, called “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.”

Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, published in 1936, equipped governments with the intellectual tools to counter the unemployment caused by slumps. In this earlier essay, however, Keynes distinguished between unemployment caused by temporary economic breakdowns and what he called “technological unemployment” — that is, “unemployment due to the discovery of means of economizing the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.”

Keynes reckoned that we would hear much more about this kind of unemployment in the future. But its emergence, he thought, was a cause for hope, rather than despair. For it showed that the developed world, at least, was on track to solving the “economic problem” — the problem of scarcity that kept mankind tethered to a burdensome life of toil.

Machines were rapidly replacing human labour, holding out the prospect of vastly increased production at a fraction of the existing human effort. In fact, Keynes thought that by about now (the early twenty-first century) most people would have to work only 15 hours a week to produce all that they needed for subsistence and comfort.

Developed countries are now about as rich as Keynes thought they would be, but most of us work much longer than 15 hours a week, though we do take longer holidays, and work has become less physically demanding, so we also live longer. But, in broad terms, the prophecy of vastly increased leisure for all has not been fulfilled. Automation has been proceeding apace, but most of us who work still put in an average of 40 hours a week. In fact, working hours have not fallen since the early 1980s.

At the same time, “technological unemployment” has been on the rise. Since the 1980s, we have never regained the full employment levels of the 1950s and 1960s. If most people still work a 40-hour week, a substantial and growing minority have had unwanted leisure thrust upon them in the form of unemployment, underemployment, and forced withdrawal from the labour market. And, as we recover from the current recession, most experts expect this group to grow even larger.

What this means is that we have largely failed to convert growing technological unemployment into increased voluntary leisure. The main reason for this is that the lion’s share of the productivity gains achieved over the last 30 years has been seized by the well-off.

Particularly in the United States and Britain since the 1980s, we have witnessed a return to the capitalism “red in tooth and claw” depicted by Karl Marx. The rich and very rich have gotten very much richer, while everyone else’s incomes have stagnated. So most people are not, in fact, four or five times better off than they were in 1930. It is not surprising that they are working longer than Keynes thought they would.

But there is something else. Modern capitalism inflames through every sense and pore the hunger for consumption. Satisfying it has become the great palliative of modern society, our counterfeit reward for working irrational hours. Advertisers proclaim a single message: your soul is to be discovered in your shopping.

Aristotle knew of insatiability only as a personal vice; he had no inkling of the collective, politically orchestrated insatiability that we call economic growth. The civilization of “always more” would have struck him as moral and political madness.

And, beyond a certain point, it is also economic madness. This is not just or mainly because we will soon enough run up against the natural limits to growth. It is because we cannot go on for much longer economizing on labour faster than we can find new uses for it. That road leads to a division of society into a minority of producers, professionals, supervisors, and financial speculators on one side, and a majority of drones and unemployables on the other.

Apart from its moral implications, such a society would face a classic dilemma: how to reconcile the relentless pressure to consume with stagnant earnings. So far, the answer has been to borrow, leading to today’s massive debt overhangs in advanced economies. Obviously, this is unsustainable, and thus is no answer at all, for it implies periodic collapse of the wealth-producing machine.

The truth is that we cannot go on successfully automating our production without rethinking our attitudes toward consumption, work, leisure, and the distribution of income. Without such efforts of social imagination, recovery from the current crisis will simply be a prelude to more shattering calamities in the future.

Robert Skidelsky’s new book, co-authored with Edward Skidelsky, is How Much is Enough?

(Source: http)

We don’t need to do anything.

The universe has no requirements from us to give us what we want. We didn’t need to do anything special in order to exist and still don’t need to do anything special in order to continue to exist. Existence and all the joy it contains is our birthright. Trust me, if you or I didn’t deserve to exist, we wouldn’t. But here we are, obviously existing, so we must deserve it!

The thought that we must do something to earn bounties from the universe is a thought of unworthiness and lack and is sure to create an experience corresponding with that thought. The thought basically surmises that the universe is lacking in that which we want and will only give us it when we behave a certain way. So now we must compete against one another for the bounties of the universe and for life itself. Not only that, but we must gain the approval of others or incredibly, the approval of ourselves in order to be deserving enough for that which we desire.

This mentality is not true at all, unless we want to believe it is. All we truly “have” to be is ourselves. Of course, we are not required to do this. We cannot be required to be something we already are, much the same as I cannot be required to be 5 foot 10 inches tall. I simply am that tall, end of story.

However, we have slowly taught ourselves to be someone other than who we are. How can we know this? Anytime we experience negative emotions it is a sure sign that we are not being our true natural selves. 

Being ourselves is effortless and joyful. It is the easiest thing we will ever do. And it is in our natural state that we fit perfectly into the universe. It is us being who we are created to be. How do we be ourselves? Simply be joyful and unconditionally loving of ourselves and of life. Express our nature in our thoughts, words and behaviour. It really doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

As we be ourselves, we will see that we finally feel a sense of peace and belonging to the universe. This will be reflected in the experience of our lives. All that we desire will be effortlessly brought to us in a seemingly magical and miraculous way. This will be the sign from the universe telling us what we know to be true in our hearts: that we are loved, that we belong exactly as we are and that we are infinitely deserving. That is a cause for some amazing celebration, I think! 

Trusting Life Positively

I have a huge problem with trusting the direction of my life in a positive way. I am constantly trying to figure everything out from every conceivable angle so that my life can move in the particular direction I want it to. All the unknowns must be known, otherwise I fear that my life will end up being a “failure”. 

A couple of issues in the quality of my life that rise from my negative trust in it:

  • Judge, restrict and control experiences and situations based on my mental understanding of how I can make them fit into my ultimate goal in life. I will only take part in certain experiences if I perceive that they will allow me to achieve my goals. For example, I may not go out sometimes based on  the fact that I will spend money and not follow my strict financial plan, even though I may enjoy going out. Or if I do end up going out, I may look to spend less. I believe the constant restriction and control of experiences takes away from living a full life.
  • Not enjoying the current moment. Since I trust life negatively, I spend my time wanting to know everything. This always takes my focus away from this moment and the experiences contained within it and places it directly on the future and my goals. It can get so bad that I cannot truly relax in life and just enjoy it for what it is. This is directly related to my constantly wandering mind that I mentioned in a previous post. I now realize that there is no “ultimate” goal in life anyways. Any achieved goal will only be replaced with another, so I might as well enjoy the ride in life, not just the “ultimate” destination I have in mind.

The crazy thing to me is, I don’t think I was always like this. I have trusted life positively in the past and I now know that this positive trust has served me very well. I can take a look back at my life and see how I made choices in it based on no real knowledge on how those choices would turn out. The big ones were leaving work and university to start my business. Those choices could have been very scary if I thought of being secure and sticking with a predictable life. Instead I was excited to make them and trusted that they would lead me to experiences that I would prefer (I thought I would be filthy rich, haha). They led me directly to me becoming the person I am today, which I am very happy with. 

However, after I made those choices, I did struggle a lot when life didn’t develop in the way I wanted. The experiences in my life were definitely not what I had in mind. The business was stumbling along (it still is, but now I’m OK with it) because I was having a hard time getting the customers that I thought I would and the website was taking much longer to develop than I expected. I constantly questioned myself and was pretty lost, without a sense of positive direction or development in my life. 

At some point, I stopped trying so hard on the business and took another direction in life. I made a choice to learn more about myself and about life itself, even though I also thought that it was a waste of my time. I did a lot of internal development, finding my place in life and creating my present day perspective. (I still am, but less intensively)

Looking back, I can see how the choice to operate the business and its subsequent issues led to an opportunity to develop myself internally. I can see how these choices have turned out to be positive for the most part in my life. However, if I actually trusted then that they would have turned out positive, even without knowing exactly how they would, I would have saved myself a lot of struggle and unhappiness. 

Who knows if I would have made those initial choices to leave school and work if I trusted life negatively at that point in my life? I know that if I did trust negatively and not make those choices, I would be a completely different person today, possibly one who is much more miserable.

So, after learning from my past experiences, I will be attempting to trust life more positively. I will make choices in life based on my feelings of what excites me, rather than my mental beliefs on what will allow me to reach my goals. After all, I will never know how life will develop exactly, but if I trust positively, I believe it will always allow me to enjoy life more in the moment, and lead me where I need to go (internally and externally) so that I can be the person I truly want to be. Even though right now, I may not truly know who I want to be. 

Why do we choose to work?

Ever since I have been looking at life with a neutral focus I have started to notice how weird our “normal” perspectives of life are.

I cannot believe how many of us have bought into other people’s definitions of how we should live life. We do things that we don’t want to do and live our lives in complete misery all because someone else told us that “that’s just the way life is.”

The funny thing is these other people don’t have any more of a clue of how life is than you or I. They just made up some story and sold it to others, and then the others continued to sell it to others and now we end up with a world believing in some other people’s story.

The fact is and always will be that life is devoid of meaning. It absolutely has none built into it whatsoever. We are the only ones that gives each of our lives meaning. I cannot emphasize that point enough!

So why do we listen to others and believe that their meaning or definition of life is more believable than our own? It boggles my mind to think of how many people do this everyday of their lives. 

Our whole society is built on other people’s definition of life. Most of our lives consist of going to work/school everyday, many times against our own true will. Why? Because we think work and school have a built-in ability to support us. They don’t. They are neutral places that we associate with the concept of support. The question is: how do we define “support”? It can be defined very vaguely to define all types of support or we can define it very narrowly onto one particular type, like financial support associated with work. Support can come in ways that we can’t even imagine but we have chosen to focus our definition very narrowly onto one type instead. Under this type of definition, we must go to work or school because only those places are associated with support to us. But remember, it is only because we defined them as actions that support us that we get that effect out of them. It’s like we defined a bicycle as the only form of transportation and then forced ourselves to ride it in a thunderstorm. It seems very ludicrous to me that we choose to do that, but we do, all the time.

Another question is: how do we define “work” in the first place? Right now, most of us define that work must be somewhere we go to perform duties for another person or group of people so that they can support us to live our lives. Some other people have defined work a little differently. For example, professional athletes play sports and live a life of extreme pleasure while getting paid vast amounts of money, all because they defined playing sports as “work”. The point is that we can define anything as work, including the actions that bring us joy in life. Defining the actions we enjoy in life as work can create the same effect as our traditional idea of what work should be. All actions are also fundamentally neutral. It is us who label them and define one as greater than the other. Why do we apply the meaning of work and support to actions we don’t prefer? Who said that the non-preferential action is the only one to be defined as work? 

We can continue going down the list of all the experiences in our life that we don’t enjoy and find out why we define those as something we must experience in that way. (Religious definitions anyone?)

One of the most influential beliefs I have seen that we have bought into is that “life can’t be fun and games all the time.” Why the hell not? Who said we can’t have fun living life? Life sure didn’t. It depends on what is defined as “fun” and “games”. For a lot of us we substitute those words with “enjoyment”. So our belief is really that “life can’t be enjoyment all the time.” Because of this definition of life we almost look for suffering and pain (Remember “No pain, no gain” or “All things worth having in life don’t come easy”?) We look at others who do enjoy life as “lazy slackers” or “spoiled rich folks”. All of this because we bought into others’ beliefs and definitions.

So once again, my main point is: we can take back the power to define life in ways we prefer so that we can enjoy it rather than live in misery. We can finally choose to realize that we have bought into others’ definitions and that we can stop judging the actions and experiences we prefer in life because of these other definitions.

Another one of my favorite commercials. This one is for

This relates to so many people out there who are not reaching their potential or who are to afraid to try to reach it. It seems very unlikely that the millions of people around the world doing work they don’t like each and every single day are reaching their true potential.

Believe in yourself, do what you love to do and reach your true potential. The stork sure believes in you.