The beginning of the 21st century and the choice to conform to the system

4 min read

Four stories, one person, two centuries, two different lifestyle choices

Is it possible to live a fulfilled live even in our times? And is it otherwise possible to waste it in a post-work society? Let me show it on the story of one person. Let’s call him Lukas. He will be in four situations, will make two decisions and will live in two different centuries. He still will be the same person who will have the opportunity to live in two realities and in each of them he will decide to lead his life in a different way.

1) The beginning of the 21st century and the choice to conform to the system

Lukas is 28 years old and ten years ago he decided that he would not risk, that he would study a requested field diligently, so that he could find a stable and well paid job, have a good wife, have kids with her and be able to pay their mortgage and then enjoy his retirement. And so he went to a high school and then to university, then he got a good internship and his first paid job. As a relief from his studying and working he uses entertainment, mostly the passive one, such as watching serials, movies, funny and another type of videos, chatting on social media, playing computer games etc.

It is six o’clock in the morning and Lukas’s alarm clock is ringing and it tells him that his work starts in two hours. He is upset; he doesn’t want to get up. He understands his work, but if he didn’t have to pay the mortgage for his flat, which he has just bought, he would rather do something else. However, he has a fast breakfast, goes downstairs, so that he has at least some physical exercise, and he enters the public transport bus which is full of anonymous people who rather check their smart phones. And since he doesn’t want to look at them, and since he wants to spend the time somehow, he goes to check a newsfeed and new messages on his Facebook.

He spends the whole day in his job. Although his job is useful for the company, he has doubts about the usefulness of its products for society. Sometimes he wonders if people would ever want them if they weren’t be persuaded by a sophisticated marketing. Moreover his primary reason he goes to this job is not to do some useful work for the humanity, but mostly a way how to earn some money for his survival and his interests.

Sometimes he finishes his work earlier, but since he works in a big open space, where some of his super ordinates still walk behind his back, so in these moments he rather pretends that he is working or he prolongs his work, so that it doesn’t look that he isn’t working. He can visit a toilet whenever he wants and he is glad that he was studying a lot and is not for example an assembly worker who could visit a toilet only in exactly defined intervals. However with lunch it is quite similar, his company has a canteen and it is expected that also with waiting the queues he will be able to eat in half hour, so that he can return back to his work.

After eight and half hours spent in his job and half an hour of commuting there he has also another thirty minutes on the way home which are extended by an additional half an hour spent in the supermarket. At half past five he is finally at home. Tired of his job and of the contact with mostly unknown people, he launches Facebook to be in contact with his real friends, family and his girlfriend. He also switches his new plasma TV on and is preparing dinner.

Accidentally, he has seen some news where some center-right politician was saying that liberal capitalism is at least good in that we all are free and that it would be better if citizens began to care about politics a little bit more. But Lukas was just pissed off it because he absolutely doesn’t know when. He rather starts watching his favorite serial. His job is intellectually difficult and he really has no energy for issues like politics. The evening is closer, Facebook and serials has already tired him, so he at least reads his favorite fantasy book. He is glad that his first working day is behind him and he will now have only four like this, so that he will be able to enjoy the weekend with his girlfriend and also some movies, sport activities or some larger shopping.

He sometimes has dark thoughts which ask him if he really wants to spend another forty years like this until he retires. Sometimes he has doubts about his freedom but he always rationalize it with saying that the people in the past had it harder, that most people in the World are in worse situation as well as most of his former classmates. Emotionally he melts those doubts by some serial, movie or a book. Moreover he is glad that he has finally found his amazing girlfriend, he has quite a good flat and maybe he will have wedding and children in a while. Hopefully, he will have more free time for them later than he has today.

Part 1: Intro
Part 3: The beginning of the 21st century and the choice to conform to the system

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Author: Mirek Navrat

Blogger & Political Scientist from the Czech Republic. I write about politics, society, our future and personal growth. My Twitter: @mireknavrat.