Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
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The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.
I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.
The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time.
Suddenly I have a lot more money and a lot less time, which means I have a lot more in common with the typical working North American than I did a few months ago. While I was abroad I wouldn’t have thought twice about spending the day wandering through a national park or reading my book on the beach for a few hours. Now that kind of stuff feels like it’s out of the question. Doing either one would take most of one of my precious weekend days!
The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is exercise. It’s also the last thing I want to do after dinner or before bed or as soon as I wake, and that’s really all the time I have on a weekday.
This seems like a problem with a simple answer: work less so I’d have more free time. I’ve already proven to myself that I can live a fulfilling lifestyle with less than I make right now. Unfortunately, this is close to impossible in my industry, and most others. You work 40-plus hours or you work zero. My clients and contractors are all firmly entrenched in the standard-workday culture, so it isn’t practical to ask them not to ask anything of me after 1pm, even if I could convince my employer not to.
The eight-hour workday developed during the industrial revolution in Britain in the 19th century, as a respite for factory workers who were being exploited with 14- or 16-hour workdays.
As technologies and methods advanced, workers in all industries became able to produce much more value in a shorter amount of time. You’d think this would lead to shorter workdays.
But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
Can you imagine what would happen if all of America stopped buying so much unnecessary fluff that doesn’t add a lot of lasting value to our lives?
The economy would collapse and never recover.
All of America’s well-publicized problems, including obesity, depression, pollution and corruption are what it costs to create and sustain a trillion-dollar economy. For the economy to be “healthy”, America has to remain unhealthy. Healthy, happy people don’t feel like they need much they don’t already have, and that means they don’t buy a lot of junk, don’t need to be entertained as much, and they don’t end up watching a lot of commercials.
The culture of the eight-hour workday is big business’ most powerful tool for keeping people in this same dissatisfied state where the answer to every problem is to buy something.
You may have heard of Parkinson’s Law. It is often used in reference to time usage: the more time you’ve been given to do something, the more time it will take you to do it. It’s amazing how much you can get done in twenty minutes if twenty minutes is all you have. But if you have all afternoon, it would probably take way longer.
Most of us treat our money this way. The more we make, the more we spend. It’s not that we suddenly need to buy more just because we make more, only that we can, so we do. In fact, it’s quite difficult for us to avoid increasing our standard of living (or at least our rate of spending) every time we get a raise.
I don’t think it’s necessary to shun the whole ugly system and go live in the woods, pretending to be a deaf-mute, as Holden Caulfield often fantasized. But we could certainly do well to understand what big commerce really wants us to be. They’ve been working for decades to create millions of ideal consumers, and they have succeeded. Unless you’re a real anomaly, your lifestyle has already been designed.
The perfect customer is dissatisfied but hopeful, uninterested in serious personal development, highly habituated to the television, working full-time, earning a fair amount, indulging during their free time, and somehow just getting by.
Is this you?
Two weeks ago I would have said hell no, that’s not me, but if all my weeks were like this one has been, that might be wishful thinking.
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New York has given the country and the world many things in its 380-year history — the hot dog, the American musical, the martini, electric signs — but who knew it also gave us what the modern world thinks of as the traditional way to celebrate Christmas?
Christmas was originally a combination of the day of worship of the birth of Christ and the Roman winter solstice festival called the Saturnalia. The latter was a very raucous, townwide affair, and its raunchy and riotous ways persisted until nearly modern times.
Then the Puritans outlawed Christmas altogether. When it was revived in 1660, it was a calmer affair, and still celebrated on a community basis.
It was New York City that changed all that, pioneering the family — and very child-centered — holiday that has since spread around the world. This is not surprising, perhaps, seeing that Santa Claus is New York's patron saint.
No, really. The Dutch ship that brought the first settlers to Manhattan was named for St. Nicholas, the patron saint of old Amsterdam as well as children.
It was long a Dutch tradition for children to get presents on St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6, often put in their shoes or stockings for them to find in the morning. The children of non-Dutch families, noticing how well the Dutch children were making out on Dec. 6, were soon successfully lobbying their parents to give them presents as well.
Often these presents came on Christmas instead of St. Nicholas Day.
Then, around the turn of the 19th century, New York's emerging literary establishment created much of the folklore of the modern Christmas. Washington Irving wrote about St. Nicholas ("Sinterklaes" in one Dutch form of the name, soon anglicized to "Santa Claus"). In Irving's "Diederich Knickerbocker's History of New York," Sinterklaes rode through the skies in a horse and wagon and went down chimneys to deliver presents to children.
In 1821, an American children's book called "The Children's Friend" changed Santa's horse and wagon to a reindeer and sleigh. Then in 1823, Clement Clarke Moore penned the most famous Christmas poem of them all, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Moore was about as New York as it gets. His family's Manhattan estate had been named for the Chelsea Hospital in London — and that then gave its name to the Manhattan neighborhood, which Moore developed. It was Moore who made the number of Santa's reindeer eight and gave them their names.
New York merchants, knowing a good thing when they saw one, began to push the New York tradition of gift-giving, decorating their stores and filling their windows with merchandise designed to catch the eyes of kids. They figured, quite correctly, that the fastest way to a parent's wallet was through their children.
A.T. Stewart, the greatest New York merchant of the time — he more or less invented the department store — also was a major importer of dry goods and other merchandise from abroad, which he wholesaled to storekeepers in other cities around the country.
At first, there was no single, standard image of Santa Claus. But in the 1860s, the great American political cartoonist Thomas Nast contributed drawings (like the one pictured above) to Harper's Weekly — a New York publication, of course — that fixed to the present day the image of Santa Claus as a jolly, bearded, fat man in a fur-trimmed cap. Nast often depicted Santa visiting the troops fighting the Civil War.
By the 20th century, the New York-inspired American Christmas traditions were hallowed ones. But New Yorkers kept adding to them anyway. In 1940, Irving Berlin wrote what has become the most popular Christmas song of all time, "White Christmas." Nine years later, Robert May and his New Yorker brother-in-law, the composer Johnny Marks, added a ninth reindeer to Santa's sleigh, Rudolph.
It is, perhaps, a sign of New York City's incomparable multiethnic synergy, which reaches right back to the present-seeking children of Dutch days, that both Marks and Berlin were, of course, Jewish.
Gordon, who grew up in Manhattan, has written several books of history, including "Empire of Wealth: The Epic
Read the magazine online http://issuu.com/ellopia/docs/91_ellopia_press/0 Here we are again my friends, another Christmas, another New Year, I am feeling happy and excited to be back home this time of year, jetlag and all.
As l was sorting out Christmas decorations last night, I found my holiday journal, sat in the middle of the floor and started reading, I was in an awe seeing how many of my last year’s wishes had been granted. I went down memory lane of earlier wish lists, and realized that some things I had asked for, had materialized years later after the asking, but they had. Wow what a significant realization, it reinstated my faith in prayer and in Santa.
I took to my journal again and started writing my heart felt thanks to God for the gifts I had received. After a while the gratitude I was offering and the joy of receiving empowered me so much that I felt cherished, loved and very special. I was a child again, full of wonder and awe, faith and confidence.
My joy was so great I wanted to share it with loved ones; I felt the blessing of generosity so I started making my gift-giving list for them. It was so much fun and easy to share; I chose books for many, writing pads for others, Tarot cards for a few. I opted for table games for families with children, foot massages for my favorite aunts, and my special chicken soup recipe for my friend Linda. In my mind I was experiencing their gladness of receiving gifts that filled my heart with joy.
By the time I was finished I was so elated, and so full of happiness. What an awakening that was; the joy of giving is so powerful I wish it for you all. That is what Christmas is all about, giving joy and opening our hearts to also receive it.
Giving does not always have to be material. The magic of a smile works wonders, ask the beggar in the corner; he may prefer it to the change you put in his cup. The same goes for your doorman and the deliveryman, take a minute and ask them about their families and how they are spending their Holidays; they have a life you know as important as yours.
Put the grudges down and let bygones be bygones. The power of forgiveness is very healing so send season’s greetings to those you have not been speaking to. Let them feel loved, an encouraging word from you may give them a new lease in life.
Make this Christmas about rebirth of our own spirit, giving, sharing, forgiving, connecting and most of all giving LOVE. It will be returned to you tenfold. Make this Holiday memorable long after the gifts have been forgotten. And now start making your own wish list; Santa knows you’ve been good!!!!
My best Holiday Wishes to you and your families!
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By Athina Krikeli
“Stop buying your kids expensive and unnecessary stuff! You will harm them. In the long run!
Teach, spend time with them, help them to get a taste of the pre electronic Era! Play with them. Don’t let your phone or worse their phone to play with!
Teach them manners.
Iphone isn’t the coolest thing for a 5 year old!
Have a great Holiday season everyone! Keep smiling
and try to “build” richness that nobody can take away from you.
Merry Christmas and a great New Year
Ellopia Press Magazine NY - Athina Krikeli
What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!' as they marched up Fifth Avenue.
Students of New York law schools, alumni, administrators and their families were among more than 25,000 people who marched though Manhattan on Saturday to protest the failure of grand juries to indict white police officers in the deaths of black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner. As they left Washington Square Park, the marchers chanted "I can't breathe," Garner's last words as police wrestled him to the ground.
About 300 people from Brooklyn Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law School, Columbia Law School, Fordham Law School, Touro Law School, New York Law School and Yale Law School participated.
Read more: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202679108256/Justice-for-All#ixzz3RdkWVo00
Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died in New York in July after being subjected to a police chokehold that was captured on video, said the march was making history.
"You know our son's not here in body, but he's here with each and every one of you," she said.
According to the Globe reports that police were out in force for what was mostly a peaceful protest, but the AP says that nearly two dozen people were arrested for disorderly conduct after clashing with police blocking an Interstate 93 on ramp.
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