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How About This For Some Light Relief

 
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Paul Downey



Joined: 25 Nov 2016
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 1:32 pm    Post subject: How About This For Some Light Relief Reply with quote

I have always had an interest in the English language from the perspective of a bystander. I'm lucky in that I've never really needed to use it, on leaving education I was more or less a maths monoglot though I could also speak a bit of Fortran IV.

My particular interest centres on if anyone, anywhere, has the foggiest idea of what they are talking or writing about. For instance I invite you to take a simple word such as "work" and explore what it has come to mean for most people. I my case, in my first job, (1970) my O level Physics told me I was doing very,very little work, a few hundred calories a week, moving the cursor on my slide-rule back and forth yet that work meant I could live a life which a king, of just a century before, would have envied.

As an onlooker it took me several years to realise that "work" was nothing more than a social construct, something some people need in order to impose some sort of order on to, what for them, would otherwise have been a chaotic universe ( as in "my hard working constituents" or "my son is very hard working")....as a Mathematician/Engineer I've never thought there was anything chaotic about the universe, it runs on clockwork doesn't it?

So for the best part of 50 years now, when asked what work I did for a living, I've done my best to explain that I don't really do any work as it was all being done by very cheap fossil fuels. As the years have passed ( and deep coal mines have closed) I've added that it could be virtually no one else is doing any either.

As you might imagine this approach has led to a fair few interesting conversations; as a group, I have found, the only people who are up to speed on this are farmers for some reason ?!

Have you ever tried telling people that their lives are far richer than Queen Victoria's? Well if you thought explaining the power of the exponential function was difficult... Laughing
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 4664
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get your point. As a State highway department construction inspector I spent decades watching other people and machines work and all I did was mark a few layout stakes and the daily paper work. Funny how tired you could get in a long day of heavy looking on. Cool
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leroy



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 330

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nursing is hard work. Maybe not what it was or as strenuous as a coal putter but even so..
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 14085
Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Paul.

You must have been a lurker here for a while.

Your post is entirely relevant to the original focus of PowerSwitch. These days, wider issues (still relevant) tend to be discussed, rather than personal practical responses to declining net energy.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

leroy wrote:
Nursing is hard work. Maybe not what it was or as strenuous as a coal putter but even so..


I agree Lurker. Caring uses huge amounts of energy - physical, mental as well as external resources.
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clv101
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Paul. Have you come across Graeber's 'bullshit jobs'?

https://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/


emordnilap wrote:
These days, wider issues (still relevant) tend to be discussed, rather than personal practical responses to declining net energy.

After well over a decade of discuss, I expect everyone's 'personal practical responses' are well in hand by now!
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johnhemming2



Joined: 30 Jun 2015
Posts: 2163

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are going to have a rule of law there has to be a system for determining legal decisions. As it currently stands that requires "legal consultants" and hence describing such as a "bullshit job" is wrong.

Quote:
This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one's job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one's work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it's obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It's not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.


Actuaries calculate risk and allow the provision of life insurance and other systems of insurance.

If there are no CEOs of private companies then everything is run by the state.

If no-one has to pay any debts then you don't need "bailiffs".

He may think that people working for 38 degrees and Greenpeace (who are lobbyists) do bullshit jobs. I disagree.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
Welcome Paul. Have you come across Graeber's 'bullshit jobs'?

https://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/


Yes, my feelings exactly, summed up.

Quote:
The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger


Yes.

And I like this bit:

Quote:
If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it's hard to see how they could have done a better job.

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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12571
Location: York

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a lot of work (by my standards anyway!) sawing up old bits of decking that our neighbour was kindly dismantling for us. He did about 5 times the amount of work I did! Respect.

The garden's now a tip with pot-plants all over the lawn while I struggle to make sure I'm ordering the right kind of hardcore Laughing

We got rid of the decking because it was rotting, and threatening Chateau Renewable with rot. Also I kept slipping on it when it rained. I bounce when I fall, but am realistic enough to appreciate that won't always be the case...

Getting back OT, I got nattering to Prof Graeber on Twit and ended up sending him a copy of 'The Price of Time'.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Decking, if you find you need it, is a prime candidate for the use of low-grade recycled plastic. It's a bit of a win-win, providing you keep it till you die and beyond.

Keep it out of the gyres and under your ageing feet, if you prefer.
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Potemkin Villager



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Location: Narnia

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:


The garden's now a tip with pot-plants all over the lawn .....


RC I think you should not really mention this sort of thing on line!
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Potemkin Villager wrote:
RenewableCandy wrote:


The garden's now a tip with pot-plants all over the lawn .....


RC I think you should not really mention this sort of thing on line!

Very Happy Smile Laughing Laughing
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Took a while but Smile Smile Smile
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Laughing Laughing Although to be fair the tomatoes do look a bit suspicious.
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