My dream in life is to become a housewife with at least 3 children, possibly 7. So I looked at the people around me and considered: Do people from this background become house-spouses with many children? No, they do not! They take up sinecure jobs at their parents’ companies and go out a lot. Who could want such a thing?
No, well, most people give an involuntary shudder when I reveal my not-so-secret dream of housewifery. Let me explain:
We live in a largely post-scarcity society. That means that productivity is no longer dependent on people’s ability to go to a physical workplace regularly, as it was for the past thousands of years. No matter the unemployment rate, you’ll never go to the grocery to find the shelves empty; you’ll never see car dealerships without plenty of shiny cars in the showroom. That’s because the work is still getting done. The food is still being grown. The cars are still being made. These are all done by machines.
We as a society have no idea how to handle this abundance. So we force people to still go to work, at jobs that could easily be done by a machine, so that we can pretend that they “earned” money they can use to buy things – because the idea of simply giving them that money or giving them the goods for free is so repulsive and alien a concept to us. So much so that we’d rather throw the food away and stockpile the cars than give them away to people who need them but don’t have money to pay for them.
Compared to previous societies, it’s actually much, much easier to be happy in this one. You can go online and find a partner who suits you in every way (if you’re patient enough). You can wear whatever you want, eat whatever you want. The city is full of terminals that are full of vehicles that will take you anywhere you want.
Technology has enabled us to have so much free time to ourselves, and what’d we do? Turned right around and filled it back up with more work – except now it’s useless work, done to pretend that we accomplished or produced something.
Previous generations worked hard, and it’s fair to say that a lot of us work just as hard, but we don’t get anywhere. It’s like if they were running madly across grassy plains to get somewhere better, and we’re running madly on a treadmill that goes nowhere.
If you’re wondering why you don’t want to go to work in the morning, or why you can’t seem to make yourself write that paper for school, that’s why. You think it’s pointless because it is pointless. But you have no idea about the alternative…
That’s something I’m still working on.
The most important ideas I have so far:
1. Limit expenses. Most people work at soul-crushing jobs because they need the money. Poor people need it to feed themselves; richer people usually need it to fulfill their identity (buy these clothes so people will know what your style is, go to this place so people will know you’re a fancy traveler, etc.). If you know how to budget – what purchases are absolutely essential and what you can forgo – you won’t need to sacrifice your soul for money quite as much.
2. Care for your body. You make decisions with your body, not your mind. You may get the idea with your mind to do something, but it’s your body that actually carries out the action. For example, you may think you love someone, but it’s your body that physically fulfills her needs – gets her things she wants, tells her how you feel, listens to her, has sex with her. You may think that you want to get over your ex, but if you keep stalking their Facebook and drunk-calling them or whatever, that’s the true decision you’ve made – to not get over them.
For any goal you have in mind, it is your body that carries out that goal. If you’re constantly weak and tired from keeping your body sedentary and forcing it to rebuild itself from nothing but garbage, expect to never reach your goal.
Going back to housewifery – with all that said, I see no reason to tie myself down to a job that I have to go to daily when I can perform most administrative tasks online and with occasional meetings. (I do plan to run several organizations, but mostly from home, hence the housewife thing.)
I also see not much reason to make my children go to a school where they’ll, more likely than not, stifle their creativity and inculcate destructive values. Unless I find a school that suits their needs, I’ll probably homeschool my children. And by homeschool I mean travel them all around the world and learn about things that way. They’d learn arithmetic from those adorable part-time kid jobs that some organizations have; learn history from people who were actually there; learn biology from safaris and raising plants and pets; learn about art from the Met and the Louvre… they’d scale mountains, write books, kayak down rivers… all before they’ve reached their teens.
And my wife? I’m going to be with someone who also as practical, efficient and adventurous as I plan to be, someone who also doesn’t waste time with busywork, and wants to enjoy life with me and our children.
Want to know what it’s going to be like to be married to me? It’s going to be meals made for you. It’s going to be notes and little gifts in your lunch. Flowers for no reason. Our house full of plants and animals and children and houseguests and friends coming by to chat, all things alive and breathing. Me in lingerie every night. Massages whenever you want them. Your checkbook balanced, your dry-cleaning picked up before you even ask. Sex in the morning before you leave for work. Trips away, just the two of us, whenever you want. All your friends asking how you got so lucky.
Well, that’s the plan if I don’t die alone.
More about post-scarcity and its implications for modern society at the Cracked Podcast.