Put On Your Masks, Your Smiles—Tonight’s Show: Modern Society


In today’s world, so many people, if you were to sit them down, perhaps over a nice, good strong drink, would eventually admit that their job doesn’t make a great contribution to society. A lot of jobs these days—secretaries, administrators, executives, assistants—are not, on the whole, very meaningful, involving as they do the consuming business of shuffling papers and attending meetings, and if they were all to vanish, the world would not be the worse off for it. It’s a phenomenon known as “bullshit jobs”, wherein jobs are created just to keep people employed and busy, even if they’re not actually necessary.

I would, however, go a step farther, and say perhaps jobs traditionally considered important are, upon closer inspection, also quite pointless. Take psychologists, and psychiatrists, for example. Now, as someone who has been steamrolled through the psychiatric system, I can tell you, first-hand, that the field of psychology, and psychiatry, in practice, in most places, is a joke. What they do is they sit you down, ask you questions according checklists on a clipboard, then diagnose you with a particular mental illness if you have a high enough “score”, as though it were some game of trivia in a Cosmopolitan magazine. Granted, they are useful for the more serious cases, like schizophrenia, or the truly psychotic; but for the general population, who might struggle with, say, anxiety, depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, problems that do not pose a threat to the sufferer’s sanity, only their emotional or social well-being, they are unnecessary at best, detrimental at worst.

But it’s not just psychologists. Wherever you look in society, there are pointless jobs being done, often with the person doing them well-aware of the meaninglessness of their tasks. Teachers standing in classrooms, prattling on topics the children could learn themselves in half the time just by reading their textbooks. General practitioners who dispense Panadol, or some other relatively harmless drug, then advise you to drink plenty of fluids, pretending to care for your well-being while looking bored as a battery chicken stuck in its pen, and when you know very well what is getting them through the day is most likely the prospect of a pay-check. Dentists who do a slap-dash job of cleaning your teeth, just to get the cash. Hospitals where the nurses do just enough to keep you alive, their touch cold and brisk, with not a touch of human kindness or warmth necessary in their profession. People who smile, and act like someone they are not, to keep other people happy, in order to keep a constant stream of numbers spooling into their bank account each week.

It’s sickening. I feel as though the outside world, and society in general, is this horrific pantomime, whereby everyone seems to sacrifice happiness and authenticity in order to survive. It makes me want to rip off my own head and throw it against the wall to see it crash and splatter like a broken watermelon, shake all the buildings in the city like doll houses until their inhabitants come rattling out. Anything to knock some sense into people’s heads, to make them see how very wrong, and how very idiotic, this whole show is.

Of course, there are jobs which are entirely necessary for the continued flourishing and well-being of our species, but they are few and far between, and only a small portion of the total population are engaged in them. Farmers are one—they feed us, after all, we’d all starve to death if not for them. Yet, for some reason, they’re not the ones who earn the big bucks in this world. Those who supply Internet, electricity, and water to our homes; as well as the people who provide entertainment to colour our dull lives: artists, video game designers, writers, filmmakers, though mine is a biased opinion, of course, being a writer myself.

Yet even the jobs we consider necessary aren’t really necessary at all if we were to teach everyone to become self-sufficient. It is entirely possible to devote the hours we do these days working at meaningless tasks to growing our own food, setting up solar panels on the roofs of every home, installing greywater systems and water tanks to each household so that we can utilise rainwater to fulfill our water needs, use composting toilets, each person living off their own little patch of land—even building our own houses, which is a much easier task than it seems, if you take the time to learn, and have the right knowledge, and materials.

But the government, the banks, the big boys, they don’t want that, do they? They don’t want people to be self-sufficient, to grow their own food, build their own houses, live their lives naturally and healthily. Then they would no longer be able to control us, our time and our money, which are really both the same thing. They want to keep us in debt. To take on mortgages, and spend the rest of our lives paying them off, to get jobs so we can pay taxes to fund their holidays and pleasures. Behind all this meaningless scurrying is a quiet conspiracy. We live in a world where the more you consume, the more “healthy” an economy is, nevermind the health of the planet, because more consumption means more money. More people buying houses and food instead of building or growing their own means more money squirreled into the pockets of certain people.

Even if you were to try and build your own house, grow your own food, live off the grid, you’d first have to buy a section of land someone, sometime, somewhere, decided was theirs. It’s the old territorial business that stacked so many people in wars against each other in the past. Everyone wanting to stake their claim on a piece of turf, like some monkey urinating on the base of a tree. Then there are rules made by the council, prohibiting one from doing this, or that, growing this, dumping waste from one’s compost toilet there, and so on and so forth.

Funny thing is the environment and people would both be much happier if we were educated on how to self-sufficient throughout our schooling years, rather than spending them cramming information in our heads to regurgitate during exams. As stated previously, there are people in this world who have it in their best interest to keep you a slave to your job, and to the economic system. Freedom, then, can only be obtained by those who can see through the sham, and find ones to live their life on their own terms, in spite of it.

This can be done is many ways. One is to live simply, and take on a part-time job that is bearable, perhaps even slightly enjoyable, and spend the rest of your time in activities personally meaningful to you. Monetary remuneration is not necessary when something is a passion. Writing on this blog is a hobby of mine, which I devote around 14-20 hours a week, the equivalent of a part-time job, even though I do not make money from it—apart from one donation I received from a reader—but because I enjoy writing, I don’t need money as motivation for doing it. Even if I were rich, financially independent, a millionaire, I would still spend my days writing, both on this blog, and creatively. It’s as necessary and natural as breathing. I think that’s a good criteria for determining your passion, don’t you think?

Another ways include amassing enough money through conventional means to buy your own square of land, and then building your way up from there, growing a vegetable patch, erecting a water tank, a small brick house. Or you could live in a caravan, live in your car, if freedom, to you, is worth suffering a great deal of discomfort.

The way I see it is, the world would be much better off it everyone just lived more simply, and naturally, and spent their days either engaged in activities necessary for survival—like gardening, which is actually a very pleasurable activity—or enhancing their life, like creating art, or playing, which, once again, are both really the same thing. Man is the only creature who willingly engages, for extensive periods, tasks not directly related to survival (numbers in a bank, if we did not collectively agree on their value, would be nothing more than pixels) and which offers no satisfaction or pleasure. Every other animal under the sun, in their natural environment (let us not speak of animals kept in farms for their milk, or their eggs, or their flesh; their combined agony makes me want to tear the world apart), spends their time either foraging for food, finding water sources, forming relationships, mating, and playing. If humans were to re-connect with their roots, and natural desires, then perhaps the world wouldn’t be in the place it is in today.


4 thoughts on “Put On Your Masks, Your Smiles—Tonight’s Show: Modern Society

  1. Dear Anne,
    You reminded me of a book I once read when you wrote about doctors who just put on smiles, when all they want is their paycheck. And, although not all might be like this, according to this book, it’s often true.
    The book is Do No Harm by Henry Marsh. It tells the tales of what it’s like working in neurosurgery. I read it because, as you may remember, I want a career in science. Specifically, clinical or cognitive neuroscience — studying either diseases of the brain or how exactly it works, maybe both. I’d spend my days working fMRIs and writing reports and talking to test subjects who will, if I can choose, be kids. Most INFPs would hate a lab job, but that’s where I would be the happiest, I believe.
    But anyways, the book is about how difficult it is to live with the fact that, due to your own hubris, someone is now lying, brain dead, in a rehab center, or that a young woman will never be a able to move her right side again because you just went a little too far into the spine. Just by a centimeter, maybe. That’s how delicate the brain and nervous system are.
    He talks about the death of his patients, how their families want another operation but he knows that it might just extend her life for a week. He talks about how he actually feels excited while drilling though the skull and pulling a piece out as if it was nothing put a puzzle piece.
    However, he never loses his sensitivity to death. Once, he said, a beautiful young child with flowing red hair died on the operating table to due loss of blood. He never did pediatric neurosurgery again.
    He shows how difficult it is to pull your chair up to a dying patient and have to tell them that they have a week to live. Because of you.
    He says how the hospital loses its sense of being able to care for each individual. How he is in fact very tired while he puts on a fake smile for patients that disappears as soon as he turns his back.
    This book is written by perhaps the most respected neurosurgeon in England.
    Perhaps that’s why I always feel so uncomfortable in hospitals. Everyone is far to cheerful. Because of my age I have to go to the pediatric sections, which makes it worse. I’m tires of the wallpaper that shows Winnie the Pooh and the jungle. Seriously? You have to go to that sad-clown place until you’re sixteen!
    I hate waiting for the doctor to come in after the nurse leaves, feeling unimaginably tense, as if I had been given a test that will determine the course of my life. The doctors and nurses are all like, “How are we feeling today?” “OK, I’ll just write you a prescription and you’ll be alllll set!” as they send you off to the front desk to pay a ridiculous price for asking for some antibiotics. Probably at least 5 to 20 times the price of the antibiotic itself, if you live in the US.
    Anyways, what you said about doctors is all true. How to they even manage to put on their fake smiles in such a dreary place? And isn’t it paradoxical how they say they want to get better but the make thousands when you’re dying?

    • I agree with everything you said. And thank you for sharing that information about the English neurosurgeon–it was very interesting. All I can offer on this matter is a small “shrug”; it’s the way society is, and sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it except change the way you think or act. I think you’ll be a great neuroscientist. Just from your writing, and our email correspondence, I can tell you’re an immensely intelligent and curious young lady, and will succeed in whichever endeavor you choose–and I dearly hope you find happiness in this world. 🙂 Love, Dreamerrambling

      • Thank you so much. 🙂 It’s so inadequate, but don’t know what to say but that.
        I wanted to tell you that you are truly one of the most intelligent people I know. You are able to think for yourself, go against society’s standards. And although it may not now, that will get you farther in life than anything else.

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