still now and then

There is an excellent article in the newest issue of BBC History Revealed about how the Industrial Revolution has upended the fundamental social and cultural structures of the world as the French Revolution has changed political and economic systems of the world as we take for granted nowadays. Epochal changes are a juggernaut of our human civilizations as a process akin to a caterpillar turning mulberry leaves into fine silk despite seismic transitions ensuing from such transformation. A terse army motto of “No pain, no gain” rings true as a universal objective reality, whether or not you embrace it with open arms.

Yet, amid the mountainous waves of indomitable revolutions and a Levitan that dictates new norms and conventions in every aspect of life from clothing to parlance, one thing never changes, and that is a life of a worker, spending most of the day outside the home with strangers for livelihood. For instance, a person whose labor is paid is not entirely free from the whims and caprice of the employer for fear of losing jobs. There are still employers whose common sense is inconsistent with the progressive minds that today’s employees are not modern-day indentured servants or maids, if not those ancient slaves under Roman mastership. It would be anachronistic and unfair to compare the slaves with free citizens working for money, but a provision of service for subsistence puts the progeny on the same continuum.

Come to think of it, now I know why neurologist/psychiatrist/linguist Steven Pinker, aka the Rational Thinker, disagrees with Descartes’ dualism that the body and the mind are separable and Rousseau’s theory of the Blank State of the mind. We can’t be all workaholics without being personal, like cyborgs at work. Maybe that’s why nowadays, many self-checkouts have proliferated in retail and manufacturing sectors. Mind you, that the Luddites were not brute, ignorant anti-machinists destroying the factory machinery in 19th century England. They were somewhat naive angry workers who repelled against the sordid working conditions they were placed like human-like automation. The class distinctions demarcated by the types of work have become new social hierarchy even after the revolutions as aforesaid.

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Stephanie Suh

I write stuff of my interest that does not interest anyone in my blog. No grammarians, no copy editors, no marketers, no cynics are welcome.

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