Progressives "Doing the Work"

Progressives "Doing the Work"

Yesterday we began to speak of how liberals and progressives can become more creative in all aspects of their lives, and, in doing so, move the whole nation away from the Fear that grips Conservatism in all its manifestations.

We also ventured the opinion that it will not be the older generations of Americans who manage to shift the needle far enough into liberal territory to get the country back in progressive gear after nearly half a century of conservative foot-dragging. My generation, the baby boomers, have fought themselves to a standstill—and almost none of them will change their spots now. As Aristotle says, a habit once adopted is very hard, or impossible, to change.

Therefore it will have to be the younger generation—those leaving school and entering into their own lives with enthusiasm, with dreams, and with hope in the future—who must adopt liberal and progressive values en masse, and put them into practice. They will have to do so in great enough numbers to break the stalemate between left and right in this country. And they will have to put those values into practice in their daily lives, so more and more of their contemporaries can see by their example that, on the one hand, fearful conservatism is just plain wrong for decent human beings, and on the other hand, that creative progressivism is just plain right.

Over the next few days, we will be talking quite generally about how a young American can start building a life that contains fulfilling work, loving family relations, and continuous personal growth, while at the same time being one of many individuals whose lives make up the antidote to the conservative fearfulness that is blocking all progress.

It begins with an idea that we have shamelessly lifted from  Seth Godin, a business, marketing, productivity, and self-awareness expert who has written many books about doing the work. (Just a few titles of Seth Godin’s books are: Poke the Box, Purple Cow, Linchpin, and Tribes. Just enter “Seth Godin books” into any search engine and you’ll find them.) The work isn’t just any sort of labor. It is the special sort of work that can give your life, and the lives of others, satisfaction, joy, and meaning. Everyone deserves to have this sort of work in his or her life. It is a tragedy that so few people actually have work that inspires them.

Of course, in order to find this kind of work, you need to practice a bit of ancient Greek wisdom—namely, Know Thyself. It means figuring out, if you don’t already know, what work provides you with deep satisfaction, and maximizing its place in your life. This is a difficult, but not impossible, path to navigate. It is hedged in with all sorts of limitations arising from other desires you might have. For instance, a desire to be a CEO by the time you are thirty could well interfere with the deeply satisfying work of tutoring disadvantaged children. Women are especially prone to this sidelining of the work for the sake of other, admittedly pressing, desires and responsibilities. The desire to have a family still detours many women from the work they would find most fulfilling.

So we are going to spend the next days trying to give you suggestions about how to find and maximize the work in your life.

Before starting, however, we have to clear up some misperceptions of the role of work in our lives, misperceptions that many of us have picked up from the ambient delusions of the Major Myths that permeate our society.

After the weekend, we will clear the ground by explaining how our general attitude toward the concepts of work and remuneration tend to keep us stuck in a way of life that is neither creative nor fulfilling. In other words, we will explain how belief in the Myths prevents us from doing the work of our lives.

Until Monday, then.


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