The Hierarchy of Motivation -A Rebuttal To The ‘Lazy’ Argument
When discussing the moneyless society concept, a.k.a. RBE, the ugly rebuttal regarding laziness always rears its head in defiance to the notion of not laboring away in the conventional employer/employee exploitative model to secure daily needs (food, water, shelter). How many of us have heard the cliché claim that “If everyone is /given/ what they need, then everyone will get lazy!” ?
What if I told you that there’s no such thing as ‘laziness’? Many would laugh, confident and convinced I’m a lunatic for even entertaining such a thought. But if laziness exists, perhaps it resides moreso in our unwillingness to deviate our thought patterns than in avoidance of physical activity.
Several attempts at clarifying this thesis have been made from some of society’s greatest alternative minds such as Fuller, Fresco and Peter Joseph. Here, we’re going to expound on the mechanism which manifests as ‘laziness’, hopefully fortifying the hypothesis that laziness is a byproduct of an unfulfilling socioeconomic model.
Beginning with Marshall Sahlins’s fieldwork of hunter-gatherer societies, which may be more relevant than ever to the moneyless society movement, considering its anti-market focus, we can draw clear and concise conclusions on that which economically separates the former from [us], the latter. As stated in his most notable work, ‘The Original Affluent Society’ ” …the present human condition of man slaving to bridge the gap between his unlimited wants and his insufficient means is a tragedy of modern times.” .. Free from market obsessions of scarcity, hunters’ economic propensities may be more consistently predicated on abundance than our own. “
To be particular, what Sahlins witnessed was a cooperative socioeconomic model in which the tribe members worked to meet demand rather than created demand for which excessive amounts of labor were needed to sustain said demand. In layman’s terms, if the tribe was hungry, the hunters would gather. If one of the tribe was injured, another would pick up the slack. There was little to no refusal to participate in the labor/services needed to sustain the tribe because there were no arbitrary expectations being set forth such as competition, ‘growth ‘ or status acquisition. In essence, there was an absence of irrationality which in turn reinforced rational behavior. Thus, ‘laziness’ was an irrelevant term, inapplicable in an environment that doesn’t produce the dire straits experienced in western culture.
On that note, the contrasting evidence that’s sets western economics apart from the former mentioned, becomes the perpetrator of ‘laziness’.
When the two are compared by the otherwise unprivy, the tribal culture presents as lazy and uncivilized in comparison to the high paced, relentlessly demanding culture of per se the United States. In the most generalized terms, citizens of western culture are deemed ‘lazy’ for not participating in an utterly unfeasible and unnecessary market obsession which aims to ensure enslavement of its people to the notion of ‘freedom’ which is equated to the ‘pursuit of happiness’ that has been perpetually subjugated to the acquisition of wealth and material goods. The result – a nation of people whose collective identity is founded on an unsustainable value system. And what better way to keep the rat a’turning the wheel of that system than to fear monger the loss of social acceptance which is known to lead to destitution …? A.k.a. being labeled as ‘lazy’.
So let’s say a rat abandons the wheel for pursuits not related to the market. Visual art, music, fiction writing, are examples of non-market participatory activities. (Abstractly speaking.) We’ve all heard the term ‘starving artist’, but have you ever considered /why/ the artist is starving, beyond the fact his paintings aren’t selling for high end gallery prices? Because the artist is exercising his hierarchy of motivation, his needs aren’t being met by his environment which demands he forfeit his passions in order to simply survive. The western economic model has rendered our hierarchy of motivation useless to our ‘pursuit of happiness’ which on the most innate level is to simply possess what we need to survive the elements and enjoyably so. Resources such as food, water and shelter were never meant to be held ransom for a price. Representation by corporations which propagate the notion of scarcity, effectively convinces [us] that our highest calling is to ‘earn’ our right to exist.
What’s that? ..We can’t just employ people to do no more than paint and sing, lest we give up our obligations to the infrastructure of society which houses, feeds and medically treats (some) people? Of course not! Which is precisely why the commodification of human needs is to blame for the subsequent refusal (of some) to participate. In other words, ‘ laziness’ is the natural reaction to an unnatural environment in which our hierarchy of motivation is being overridden by a fabricated motivation that’s designed to bottleneck all of our focus and energy on supporting the monetary system which in turn barely meets your needs whilst promising you perpetual prosperity if only you avoid ‘being lazy’.
At the end of a long day’s work, you can’t seem to find the will to practice on your new guitar, which you acquired through your participation in the monetary system. Are you tired or lazy?
That book you’ve been meaning to write for years now, still collects dust in the nether regions of your mind. Are you too lazy or too tied up in the game of survival?
That mind blowing contribution to society you’ve been aiming to propose remains an idea under your tongue, despite your enthusiasm. Are you lazy or are you too busy fulfilling society’s expectations lest you become a ‘bum’ and an embarrassment to your family?
You work two jobs and manage to pay the bills, but you’re still driving a car that’s a decade old and your cell phone is nearly obsolete. Are you lazy or do you value the time needed to simply care for yourself, more than society values the need for you to ‘keep up with the Jones’?
We’ve all experienced some form of fatigue when trying to balance our work and our home life, which usually leaves minimal space for our hierarchy of motivation to be exercised. But what we as a society seem to be failing to see altogether is the fact that the things we’re naturally drawn to are the things that should come first and our reactions to that (apparently mostly) subconscious realization manifests as depression, restlessness, and ‘laziness’ due to knowing there isn’t a space for facilitating what we really, truly want to do with our time.
In a moneyless society, sustainable needs are met while demand is responsibly managed, leaving time and energy for the human race to not only be truly free, but to pursue our hierarchy of motivation, potentially leading to the expediting of numerous and unprecedented evolutionary discoveries. The chains of the monetary system is what limits our current capacity to be motivated. Limitations that once removed will result in a quality of production the world has never seen. And ‘laziness’ will be reserved for those who refuse to do the work of reconditioning their minds to embrace the egalitarian benefits of an RBE.
About the Author L.R. is author of the Revolt Blog, contributor to the Moneyless Society website and social media platforms, a Venus Project Regional Coordinator in training, as well as a multimedia Visual Artist.
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