If you look back over the stuff I’ve posted about (really, why would you, but here are some examples) you will see that I am deeply interested in the folly of the current aspirational-developmental-educational-professional culture that has gripped Western society. More specifically, that would be the United States and, to a lesser extent but worryingly going down the same track, Australia. I think that the human costs (life, beauty, flourishing, companionship, mental wellbeing, etc) inflicted by hyper-competitiveness in our societies are an absolute travesty.
I have recently come across two excellent articles on this subject matter. Since the last paragraph of an essay or article is usually quite punchy and captures the essence of what the author has been saying all along, it is well worth quoting.
The first article, ‘All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup,’ looks at the speedup (“an employer’s demand for accelerated output without increased pay”) of American workers’ lives, the social consequences and where the 1% (of course) fits into the picture. Its final paragraph:
… So maybe it’s time to come out of the speedup closet. Rant to a friend, neighbor, coworker. Hear them say, “Me too.” That might sound a little cheesy, and it’s not going to lance Mitch McConnell from the body politic of America. But if you’re in an abusive relationship—which 90-plus percent of America currently is—the first step toward recovery is to admit you have a problem.
The second article is a New York Times book review of ‘Teach Your Children Well,’ by psychologist Madeline Levine. Apparently the book does a good job of turning the magnifying glass onto the parents themselves. Why do mothers protest the use of spray-on chemicals to treat apples in supermarkets but buy into the demonstrably more toxic education system? The last paragraph reads:
After all, as Levine notes, the inconvenient truth remains that not every child can be shaped and accelerated into Harvard material. But all kids can have their spirits broken, depression induced and anxiety stoked by too much stress, too little downtime and too much attention given to external factors that make them look good to an audience of appraising eyes but leave them feeling rotten inside.
Read the article, read the book, do something to get yourself up to speed with the broken system that is the college rat race and get fired up about it.