Shared Insanity

3 April 12

The real world, as has been noted, is not a very nice place. Most of your life is spent trying to escape it. Ultimately, you will be successful in doing so. In the mean time, you look for pockets of comfort in a swirling uninterpretable maelstrom of indifference and malice.

The reason for bringing this up and reminding you of something you really spend a lot of time and effort ignoring, is a thought about business and employment. Most jobs are dreadful. Absolutely awful. You’re not so much being compensated for your contribution to a company as you are being bribed to do the awful thing you do.

Part of that is your fault. You took the job you hate to do. Sometimes it’s just a matter of having to earn a living, but the honest truth is that you’re clinging to your job like a scared lemur and won’t let go. There’s no blame for this. If you’re paying attention, most people are in the same situation. It’s just a normal part of our mammalian instincts.

Unfortunately, it’s also being exploited. If people weren’t willing to do awful jobs, would awful jobs exist? If you couldn’t find someone to make a telemarketing sales call to generally piss people off, would a telemarketing industry be a part of our world?

There are awful jobs that do, absolutely, need to be done. Life would be pretty shabby if someone didn’t have to get on their hands an knees and crawl inside a sewer pipe to clean them out. There are lot of like jobs that just need doing and nobody really wants to do them. They should probably be paid more than they do.

A job shouldn’t be viewed as a bribe or a pact with evil. It should be viewed as one of these pockets of comfort. It should be a collection of people who share the same disease you do.

If you think about the “movers and shakers” in this world, you might think that these people who make things or do things or smile pretty are special. They’re not. They are special in a loose interpretation of the word, but really, they’re diseased.

Someone on TV, a celebrity, is diseased. Even the nicest possible, most personable and honest TV person who you can think of, is not right in the head. Because they, for some unknowable reason, say to themselves: I think this world would be a better place if it just had more of me in your life.

But that thought may not be incorrect. After all, they do seem to have gotten this far.

So the disease works for them. Crazy people can get ahead. Crazy works. A crazy person made your cell phone. A crazy person wrote that book you love. Many crazy people get elected to office. Crazy people drive the world forward.

It’s not normal to believe you can make a difference in the world. Most people don’t think that way. Many like to dream about it, but few think of it as a certainty. Some just have this as an intrinsic part of their personality.

Now by crazy, that doesn’t mean they start clucking like a rooster or wear their shoes on their hands. Just some part of their mind is a little off. Everyone is a little nuts in some part of their mind. Face it, there’s some part of your brain you’re particularly happy with. As any psychologist would tell you, there’s really no way to fix insanity. You have to manage it. These crazy but successful folks have just found a way to let that insanity guide them.

When deciding what to do with your life, if you do get that chance, that’s what you do. You let your insanity guide you. Your unique ability to make bad decisions is what will save you. That impulsiveness to do really stupid things like jump off a building to see how it would feel should be managed. But that life-long drive to do the dumb thing that every voice inside and outside your mind is nuts – it’s your one true hope.

Do you need to start a business, quit the rat race, stop shaving and move to upper Nevada to do this? No. If six billion people started a business, following their inner voices, that would be a problem for international commerce. Some people’s drive simply tells them to be a Soda Jerk in Ann Arbor. A drive can be bold or modest.

The reason for discussing this subject is that there’s a lot of businesses that get this wrong. Businesses will exploit an employee by keeping them clutching to their fur.

A good business is shared insanity. A collection of people who all have that strange drive to do something. Maybe they all have the same drive. Maybe they just have interlocking drives that work well as a part of a puzzle. Whatever the arrangement, businesses that aren’t cognizant of this element of their existence are dreadful, awful places to spend your life.

The first person they hire who is “just working there” is the one who will screw it up. They’re the one who hires more people along their own lines of thinking. The line of thinking that a job is a means to an end. Their goals are vacation time and perks. They want to get it over with. Drinks at T.G.I. Fridays.

It’s the places that share the insanity of doing what they do that need to be prized and sought after. Places like that are soft spots of comfort that can make you feel a lot better about yourself, before you get shown the door. Your one shot at being alive is winding down right now, and it’s probably best to use it the way you feel you absolutely have to.

Another observation: only the insane die happy.