... .....ZONEIDLE


.........This item is in support of slacking... loafing, idling, drifting... etc.


To slack or not to slack?




During the 1980s I began looking more deeply into politics than I'd bothered to before. Prior to that decade Politics hadn't exactly escaped me, but it had certainly remained in the background. I speak of macro-politics, because for years, even from being an infant, I'd been acutely aware of a political aspect to the world: an unalterable (by me) aspect that was dependent on an authoritative assertiveness by those in control, and which could hugely influence ordinary people's (mine) quality of life. Then, as a 12-year-old - and probably in an effort to escape this unseemly aspect of society - I unearthed by serendipity how to make devices that gave electric shocks. Sinister, perhaps - and telling too - but I was immediately gripped by this discovery and for years afterwards I immersed myself in this amazing alternative world of science and gadgets.

Then, in my thirties I started to notice anew what I hadn't much bothered about before: individual power, wealth, poverty, war and Political power... these had mostly droned away in the background, as I say - things I'd known about all my life - but due to lack of curiosity or interest I'd remained detached, even aloof. My bible was 'The Laws of Physics'. Over subsequent years, however, I read a few books, thought a bit, and let these broader issues churn around in the back of my brain. Soon my eyes began to open onto a whole new perspective: political, as before, but viewed from a new angle, an angle that should have been obvious decades earlier. My conclusions may be historically incorrect, hardly to mention a bit muddled chronologically (and otherwise), but highly simplified they went roughly as follows:

Over millions of years (or maybe a few hundred thousand, or even just several thousand) there has evolved human societies living in a variety of groups that have developed separate and different cultures. In some of these cultures the most grasping, confident individuals manoeuvred themselves into positions of influence and control. This resulted in hierarchies: essentially a small elite ruling from the top, and everyone else effectively their slaves, progressively reducing in importance as one moves further from the ruling elite: nowadays this latter group ranges from fat-cat CEOs right down to the bog cleaner - all slaves. (Well, they all Work!)

So for thousands of years the 'elite' have formed compliant, complicit governments to sustain this 'status quo'. These governments have attempted to address (to the least possible extent) the everyday needs of the masses so they could be easily managed and controlled - including, more recently (to avoid uprisings and revolutions), concessions to certain groups and categories or otherwise hoodwinking them into believing that 'their' government was of their making, was comprised of their representatives, and existed solely for their collective benefit. (The 'representatives' are virtually always, of course, mere employees who, if they fail to toe-the-line, are swiftly deselected and replaced by obedient conformists.)

Eventually, cultures mixed and spilled between one another, and some elite groups faught, some negotiated, but most joined with others, thereby extending their reach, their power. Federations were born, then alliances - ie, the US & UK & Aussie, for instance, and several European countries too - effectively giving the elite even more control over their populations, and creating a strong military to intimidate and invade opposing elites that refused to acquiesce to the demands of predominating elites which these days reside in the West. (All this, of course, is as seen from a western perspective. The view from the east, the orient, Russia, South America and elsewhere, although highly relevant - and probably similar - is less prominent here.) And if the economic fortunes of the West begin to falter, then the prevailing elite will move to Asia, China... wherever, and take control as they presently do in Washington. Essentially, they are the same as those (in the West) who allowed Spain's arch-Fascist Franco, Italy's Mussolini and then Hitler's mob to gain power and flourish in the 1930s (see Blum).

All the while the elite (or their higher 'knowing' slaves) have Worked towards their hidden agenda - which is precisely the mandate of private industry (also, of course, presided over by the elite or their proxies when above a certain size): which is, as ever, to expand, get richer and take-over what of the world they can - regardless, and come-what-may. (The masses - whether 'ally' or 'foe', soldier or civilian - are mere dispensable pawns in the game).

With elite-driven media propaganda, threats (for example: of losing one's livelihood), well-honed techniques of manipulation (of which religion and nowadays the 'education' system forms a major part), and a myriad of common notions and 'expectations' by which the masses are kept in harness, the whole insane human machine grinds pathetically and pointlessly on...

But it is only pathetic and pointless for the masses - or would appear so if they were aware of their predicament... which is: that they are effectively ensnared - for life. (See: 'The Power Elite')

From nursery, then school, then university (or other 'programming' facilities), they proceed to sleepwalk through life: to the factory or office every day... they work the set hours... until retirement and no longer capable - though if they are, then their 'programming' leaps once more into action and suddenly they'll want to continue as the dedicated slave they have spent their lives being - until they drop (as the saying goes).

Imagine: whole lifetimes spent serving an elite - which takes everything, but throws a few morsels just sufficient to sustain whatever position has been required of their victim. Big morsels for big-nuts, small ones for small-nuts. But morsels all the same, to keep the machine/game ticking along. So the tired old system trundles on... destroying the biosphere in its wake, rendering futile the lives of billions of people. AND FOR WHAT? Can it really be just for that minuscule 'trillionaire' elite?

To THINK - I was almost 40 before I woke-up to this (whether accurate or not, it certainly fits). With my head buried in electronics or otherwise larking and idling (where, in fact, the real values of life are found), I was still - naive and blinkered - an unwitting victim of the treadmill. But seeing it for what it was, presented me with the cue for escape: when I finally decided to leap off the slave-system and opt for a life of TAKING IT EASY, ENJOYING THE FRUITS OF EXISTENCE - AS, when I reflected, I'D YEARNED TO FROM RIGHT BACK WHEN I WAS LESS THAN 5-YEARS OLD.

What difference is there between 'To slack or not to slack?' and 'To be or not to be?'?

I recently dipped into 'The Art of Fiction' 1992 by David Lodge and found this poignant extract from F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1934 'Tender is the Night' (which I once tried reading but got bored and gave-up):

With Nicole's help Rosemary bought two dresses and two hats and four pairs of shoes with her money. Nicole bought from a great list that ran two pages, and bought the things in the windows besides. Everything she liked that she couldn't possibly use herself, she bought as a present for a friend. She bought coloured beads, folding beach cushions, artificial flowers, honey, a guest bed, bags, scarfs, love birds, miniatures for a doll's house, and three yards of some new cloth the colour of prawns. She bought a dozen bathing suits, a rubber alligator, a travelling chess set of gold and ivory, big linen handkerchiefs for Abe, two chamois leather jackets of kingfisher blue and burning bush from Hermes - bought all these things not a bit like a high-class courtesan buying underwear and jewels, which were after all professional equipment and insurance, but with an entirely different point of view. Nicole was the product of much ingenuity and toil. For her sake trains began their run at Chicago and traversed the round belly of the continent to California; chicle factories fumed and link belts grew link by link in factories; men mixed toothpaste in vats and drew mouthwash out of copper hogsheads; girls canned tomatoes quickly in August or worked rudely at the Five-and-Tens on Christmas Eve; half-breed Indians toiled on Brazilian coffee plantations and dreamers were muscled out of patent rights in new tractors - these were some of the people who gave a tithe to Nicole and, as the whole system swayed and thundered onward, it lent a feverish bloom to such processes of hers as wholesale buying, like the flush of a fireman's face holding his post before a spreading blaze. She illustrated very simple principles, containing in herself her own doom, but illustrated them so accurately that there was grace in the procedure, and presently Rosemary would try to imitate it.

Lodge doesn't reproduce this extract to illustrate any political message. He does so to demonstrate how lists can be introduced with good effect into a narrative. But compare the above with the following extract from Chekhov's 'A Doctor's Visit':

There is something baffling in it, of course . . ." he thought, looking at the crimson windows. "Fifteen hundred or two thousand workpeople are working without rest in unhealthy surroundings, making bad cotton goods, living on the verge of starvation, and only waking from this nightmare at rare intervals in the tavern; a hundred people act as overseers, and the whole life of that hundred is spent in imposing fines, in abuse, in injustice, and only two or three so-called owners enjoy the profits, though they don't work at all, and despise the wretched cotton. But what are the profits, and how do they enjoy them? Madame Lyalikov and her daughter are unhappy -- it makes one wretched to look at them; the only one who enjoys her life is Christina Dmitryevna, a stupid, middle-aged maiden lady in pince-nez. And so it appears that all these five blocks of buildings are at work, and inferior cotton is sold in the Eastern markets, simply that Christina Dmitryevna may eat sterlet and drink Madeira.



Like Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Twain... and many others besides, I had unveiled for myself THE GREAT DECEPTION which there had been no effort ever - in any formal way - to teach me about. Why?

See also The Great Fraud

Those who approve of it, often refer to this as a 'game', or even an 'enterprise'. Most of us approve tacitly, in ignorance of what is actually happening as Scott Fitzgerald and Chekhov so eloquently illustrate - an ignorance the Establishment takes great pains to perpetuate. It goes on now very blatantly with the billionaires buying and selling football teams, so-called artworks, and fabulous yachts and stately homes. The function of most people in this immense swindle is usually innocuous enough when taken alone. Like the average soldier in a great war, they plod wearily or contentedly or indifferently along, doing as they're told, even occasionally making small decisions - but all the while having little idea of the vast power reigning over them, its unseen infiltrations, its devious control mechanisms, its ultimate aims... all of which is empowered solely through them - in their collective co-operating hoodwinked millions.

Does an ant consciously understand the overall 'design' of the society of the nest as we might observe when peering down at such a mound? Unlikely.

And if an elite controlling cabal has charge of that nest - as well as of information (propaganda) and intelligence (to rein-in dissenters such as a super-conscious ant) - then for-all-the-difference-it-could-make that super-conscious ant might as well shove its concern for the great mass of its kin out of its brain and go on permanent holiday.

To compare humanity with ants is a dubious exercise. For one thing, the evolution of a human ruling elite is extremely recent - just a few thousand years probably (when humankind have been around for several million). The evidence is that neither the human brain nor body has significantly changed in that time (ie, that few millennia). This means that to have an elite conflicts with our natural state. Had there been an elite over millions of years, then it would be natural - but there hasn't been.

The emergence of an elite might have advanced certain aspects of society, though it might equally have attenuated them, who can say? In many ways, though, it represents failure: It is like a synthetic force upon humanity, and has resulted in a power that turns potentially intelligent, autonomous and contented human-beings into thwarted, blinkered, miserable slaves. To render humanity thus is, I'd say, a stupendous crime - not a legal crime, perhaps, but a crime against life, a crime against the whole nature and purpose of existence. For without liberty, what is this life?

And that's not to mention the colossal loss from aeons of crushed people who otherwise potentially could have achieved so much invention and progress.

But worse now in the 21st C is that the existence of an elite is incompatible with survival - it resembles a wild psychopathic animal. if it is not destroyed then it will destroy everything else (at the very least, it will make Earth largely uninhabitable to us humans and higher animals).

This elite - or rather, its puppets amongst us - as part of their propaganda and in order to further confuse and disable us unobservant masses, talk of liberty like Dickens's Wackford Squeers talked (sarcastically) of kindness to children: as if the more they speak it, the more people will believe they represent it. Sadly, very sadly, they're right..

The population just love the great lottery that sweeps many millions of £££ from millions of people and hands it all out in a lump to one or two. Anyone's chance of winning might be 14-million against, but they can dream on that - and so likewise goes the entire sham the elite have laid down for us. Us masses would be much more likely to have our dreams fulfilled if we decided instead to dwell on dying in a freak air-crash.

Once seen, in all its stark clarity, what we've become embroiled in, who doesn't just want OUT? The mask, the charade has fallen away, and all one sees in place of that great optimistic culture of the 60s, is the old decrepit hideous face of that brutal relentless elite. Every generation has its mercenaries, its Bushes and Blairs - the elite has only to pick them out from the few primitives in the crowd (that 5%)... and the old mad system grinds on.

Each new generation, however liberated they imagine they are, however fresh and enlightened, however bright and informed, becomes sidelined, becomes converted, becomes like the last: hopelessly embroiled, stupidly complicit, insanely obedient!

It's true for anyone, virtually, that if they find a genuine vocation, something creative and rewarding in itself, an activity they can pursue for its own sake... like music, painting pictures, photography, writing, anything artistic that appeals to them, and ideally that they learned the rudimentaries of as a youth (so are reasonably versed in)... then the idea of slacking or idling would probably be far from their thoughts or ambitions. Except in my case - I learned the pleasures of slacking very early on (and maybe it's likewise for many other people too).

It's probably also true that people who initially might pursue a life of slacking (as had occurred to me) would fail if they perchance latched onto something that sparked their interest like architecture, astronomy, airline piloting (or ship piloting), or acting, or being a surgeon, or even electronics like for me... the list goes on... some activity that truly grips their interest and (crucially) is appropriately well-paid too.

But for the great bulk of people - employed in shops and manufacturing and service industries - working life offers little more than the social contacts thereby encountered. In short it is - like school for 80% of clients - A MASSIVE DRUDGE. Which is precisely where slacking comes in: SLACKING TO THE RESCUE!

As for me, the path I got channelled along - even with the diversions and distractions and the knowledge I gained from various (at the time - unconventional) interests like electronics - the path I got channelled along failed to promise anywhere near the income of any of those professions reserved for the favoured. Engineers like I was are regarded (like builders and farm and factory workers, and nurses and cleaners, etc: people who do the REAL work) as dross, and are treated with unmitigated disdain - the precise opposite of how they should be treated. Traditionally they have been exploited and under-paid. Why? Answer: how else can those above them maintain their insane notion that they are special and important? It's the old 'differential' swindle, encouraged by the elite in order to divide everyone into their own little niches so they see one another as rivals and hence are unlikely to join in one great uprising against the ruling elite.

Douglas Adams clarified this crucial point in his fiction. When in the face of (faked) imminent destruction of Earth, an evacuation requiring three massive spaceships is planned. The first to be built and leave Earth carries all the unnecessary people like estate-agents and hairdressers and (if it was my story) the middle and upper classes who drain ~90% of the wealth created by the rest. (I don't include genuine slackers because regardless of class they cost very little to keep and present a negligible burden.) But once that first spaceship is gone, the fake is exposed and the other two ships don't even get built. Which leaves Earth with scientists and engineers and doctors and builders and so on, but none of your swindlers and sharks and BIG city leaches who drain the lifeblood from the rest of us.

Back to reality: useful and creative occupations like surgeon and architect stand a great distance from most of us - unless we're powerfully attracted and make a big effort to get involved. This is because of an instilled zero-confidence (and other persuasive influences), and we are frequently daunted by our lack of knowledge about a particular occupation. This all but precludes such options to ordinary people - the advantages of a privileged background eludes them. They are not free either to choose a life of slacking - unless they accept the prospect of hardship as a result - see November (on Studs Terkel).

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