Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Thought 526: My Ergophobia

"Modest, industrious, benevolent, temperate: is that how you would have men? good men
But to me that seems only the ideal slave, the slave of the future."

- Nietzsche, The Will to Power, number 356

Ergophobia, which is Greek for fear of work, is perhaps the maladaptive condition I suffer from the most in my persistent if diminishing dread of jobholding and finding employment.

I have had jobs in the past, largely in catering, and plenty more voluntary roles for charities and so forth but the world of gainful employment terrifies me, not least because it exacerbated if not caused a great deal of mental health distress in my youth.

The fact is, this 'fact' of course being an opinion, that I am more gentle and sensitive than average which can of course be a drawback in the largely cut-throat, competitive labour market replete, in my opinion, with nagging and narcissistic employers, and certainly in the world of business which, it seems to me, requires a great deal of rude self-assertion and, depending on your position on the career ladder, bossing people around or being bossed around. 

It is my sensitivity - though some, to be sure, think me insensitive - that makes me philosophise and turn to creative modes of expression as ways to fulfil myself but the thought of having to earn a living through, say, teaching, catering, shop-keeping, caring, cleaning, even translating sends cold shivers down my spine. 

It is my ergophobia that has made me take issue with money, money-making, ‘economics’, the jobs system, right-wing and libertarian ideals of economic enterprise and so forth and that ultimately make me a misfit non-conformist. 

While I am someone of some creative ability, job-holding and making money are not one of my talents and I am very much at the mercy of the ever-dwindling Welfare State for my livelihood.

The point of this writing is that employment and making money, which so many see as the material purpose of life, because these activities are instrumental in being able to operate and survive in a monetary system such as ours, are not for everyone, and this is the case usually not because of lazy-ness and ‘taking the piss’, whatever that means, but because of having a personality that suffers from and is therefore averse to the social, sociological and psychological reality of the modern workplace.

In other words it is not that I’m work-shy (see post What is Work?), if work is defined as an activity of disciplined self-application in areas that need attending to, but employment and business-shy because these involve engaging with and labouring under other people in typically hierarchical and insensitive ways.