Wednesday, May 30, 2012

conscious unemployment & the paradox of freedom

it's been over a month now since i quit my job. two days after my last day i found myself on a plane to chicago to write about the protests there between may day and the NATO summit. every day i was there i tried to be grateful of the situation, of not having to go to work at this place that made me miserable for four months. of course i also started missing philly and looking forward to leaving. 3 weeks is a long time to visit one place.

now i'm back in philly. i'm focusing on the end of my first semester in grad school, prioritizing being a student while i can. i have just enough money saved up to sort of scrape by through, at least some of, the summer. so here i am, consciously unemployed. i'm free. but this first week back in philly has been a struggle. when you don't have to be somewhere, to punch the clock everyday it is up to you to stay focused and be productive. in theory this moment is all about reading and writing all the time, eating and breathing my studies. but when you're free, it's hard not to enslave yourself with destructive (or at least unhealthy) tendencies.

in a repressive culture where we are conditioned to follow orders, we become dependent on our own unfreedom. in these rare moments of empowerment and liberation, we tend to self-sabotage ourselves by pursuing the things that are bad for us because, well, we can do whatever the fuck we want.

but this is not inevitable. part of being consciously unemployed is resisting this tendency and demonstrating that we do not have to be dependent on hierarchical instituitions ordering us around and structuring our lives by their clocks and bank accounts. we have the capacity to control our own lives, and yes, to be free.