Obedience and change

“Obedience works fine on the well-organized, standardized factory floor. But what happens when we start using our heads, not our hands, when our collars change from blue to white?”  So questions Seth Godin in his blog this morning.  Such an essential query for all Americans these days. 

I’m reminded of a pertinent quote from Peter Maurin of Catholic Worker fame:  “Industrialism has released the artist from the necessity of making anything useful.  Industrialism has also released the workman from making anything amusing.”  

Though we are hugely indebted to the Industialists for the technological and social advances it provided, we’re also suffering from a serious lack of personal creativity resulting from Industrialism’s ‘obedience.’   On one hand, we’re sorely lacking in self-knowledge; on the other, we lust after a ‘four-hour work week’ and believe we’re entitled to privilege without perspiration.

In my work as a virtual assistant, I’m accutely aware of this phenomenon in the many young people attempting to set up in the business without first gaining skills and experience.  Our current awareness of changing economies and our suspicion that Henry Ford’s ideas are indeed out of date can lead to an unwarranted hubris.  The individual is indeed valuable in his/her uniqueness, and capable of maximizing strengths in a lucrative way.  But the development of personal creativity is an in-depth process, not an instant one.  We have a long way to go before we regain the innovative skills of our pioneering, pre-Industrialist forebears.

When ‘obedience’ goes out of style, chaos is sure to ensue for a time, at least.  Achieving peace and productivity beyond the chaos is possible through serious, dedicated, not-always-pleasant self-investigation and development.



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