jusummerhayes

The games we play

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“Life games reflect life aims. And the games men choose to play indicate not only their type, but also their level of inner development”
Robert S. de Ropp, The Master Game: Pathways to Higher Consciousness

Good morning.

It's pitch black as I start this post. Apparently, it will be the 2,678th on Livejournal. That seems extreme, but then again, softly, softly as they say. I feel a book in the offing, if I've the time to sift through the entrails.

I've gone back to listening to Night Tracks on BBC Sounds. I don't know if it's available outside the UK, but it's a beautifully curated series of delicate, flowing songs and tracks that are as perfect for midnight as they are for 5 am — my waking hour. 

And (of course) the coffee is poured. 

I've no idea where Alfie is — he's not in the lounge, his normal nightly abode — and so I guess that means he's asleep with daughter #3. Never mind, I'll have him up in an hour or so, as I stride out the door. (I won't be doing an Instagram story today or for the foreseeable future; I think they've run their course.)

Why two quotes today?

I don't know. And certainly I don't know why have I reverted again to de Ropp's pithy few lines about the games we play. If anything, I think it's something to do with yesterday's Twitter exchange where I commented upon the work environment and why, in my experience, the last 40 years — yes, I've really been working that long — has seen no or next to no improvement. From where I sit/stand, that's enough for anyone to draw (at least for now) the clear and unequivocal conclusion that there's still and always has been a problem.

So what?

Who really cares about the workplace, the meaning of work or even the new kid on the block, well-being?

It seemed a lot of people do, judging by the response on Twitter.

But here's the thing. Is my experience or theirs a barometer of anything or very much? I don't know. It might be especially if they've been doing their thing a) for a long time and b) have achieved memorable and long-lasting results. But then again, we both can't be right, can we? Possibly. 

I think the bigger question is what's the truth — the unalloyed truth — about work, the work environs and why we think that it's normal? Perhaps it's a poor, lamentably poor example, but at the moment I'm reading a book on the late James Ravilious. His Wikepedia entry describes him so: "James Ravilious (22 August 1939 – 29 September 1999), was an English photographer, who specialised in recording the rural life of North Devon." And the thing that stands out, from all his meanderings around the county, is the simplicity of (farming) life and a complete absence — and I mean not a word — about strategy, tactics, marketing, branding, growth, (servant) leadership and all the other buzzwords that are the lexicon of the workplace. His subjects, simple Devon folk (not stupid — much like my late father-in-law, Brian), lived close to the land, didn't need for much (they may well have desired more...) and worked together because they had no choice. 

And what happened to all of that?

It got rubbed out by our insatiable need for more.

More of what?

Money, material wealth and a better quality of life — apparently.

At the expense of what?

Life. Not the rural idyll that James often photographed but one where we lived within our means, went with the spirit of the land, and the seasons directed the order of our lives. 

Sadly, I don't know many people, if any, who now do that and in fact, only the other day, I heard about a three-generation farming family, near to where I live, who were giving up because, I think, they couldn't find a successor for the business.

"What's your point, lad?"

Why do we never question or not enough the games we play when, in my case, they eviscerated or corrupted my delicate soul? Better still, and this question will need some further development over a few more posts, what is work anyway?

Who cares? Who really cares? It's easier, surely, to talk about the extant position, particularly given or especially because of the Covid19 situation, than it is to look at the bedrock of work and the games we play. In fact, I think I'm so far off the mark for it be risible to even suggest a more meaningful discussion about the games we play. You only have to look at government to realise that creating jobs is the name of the game and not, much like the same discussion about crime and punishment where the systemic, underlying issues get completely ignored. Let's face it, who in government would want to be drawn into commenting upon bullshit jobs as opposed to, well, spiritual development if you must ask?

Why do I care?

I don't or not enough to dismount my high horse and do something about it apart from (it seems) continue with my finger-wagging. I don't mean to but the truth is, with me as the subject (and that makes it very questionable), I wonder why I chose to play by the rules of a game that left me, aged 43, broken, emotionally distraught and questioning the whole meaning of life (and no I don't think it's 42).

As you know, I went back to the drawing board. At that stage, as now, I wasn't expressed to look outwith for a better game, better sector or better employer but instead to look within.

The unexamined life is not worth living. — Socrates

And if you've read my last few posts on Livejournal you'll know the minutia of where that took me. But that doesn't mean I've abandoned the idea that work — the whole kit and kaboodle — should stay bolted down to the old-fashioned, industrial complex model, but then again I no longer feel it's my position to prognosticate on how to fix the problem(s). That's not my thing despite the odd, errant Tweet. No, right now, all I want to do is lay low, do my small lawyer thing and wait it out until the time comes where I can extract myself, if not permanently from the work environment, at least sufficiently to clear a path for my long-overdue, peripatetic pilgrimage. In the meantime, I intend to keep writing and creating as best I know how, even if it's not for anyone else's delectation save mine.

I think that's more than enough for now.

Until tomorrow, then. 

Onwards, forever onwards.

Blessings and much love, Ju

Photo by Levi Midnight on Unsplash


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