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in philosophy •  2 years ago

  Whatever a modern man does, he has an Objective. And a  schedule. He was taught that way. He thinks about Efficiency. He runs towards the Objective like Achilles ran after the tortoise, and stretches out for it like the proverbial donkey stretched out for his carrot. He would make seventy five million dollars in seventeen months (I've seen it with my own eyes). He would do that, and then raise the bar further, in the name of Efficiency. If he's out on a vacation — he'd be resting like there's no tomorrow, all according to the performance target. If he's at a restaurant, he aims for the maximum amount of service for his money. If he's at a restaurant with a woman — his objective is commitment-free sex, her objective is soap opera followed by marriage. They will both be late for that date.

 Naturally, acting like that typically ensures that neither the carrot gets eaten, nor the tortoise caught. Even if that succeeds, the price of achieving the Objective is such that screw it all, I need some rest. But that's a no-no (sleeping is considered terribly inappropriate for the Efficient man, hasn't he got that 24-hour fitness club and yoga at 5 am at his disposal). I would nonetheless thoroughly recommend Efficient men to visit graveyards often. Not just because we'll all be there, for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. But because that's pretty much the only place where one can stay, even for a little while, without any purpose. Just to appreciate that surreal, unaffordable and unreachable modern luxury.

 The very nature of the graveyard is such that it slows down, and occasionally halts, the sprint of any donkey and any Achilles. The latter will, of course, try to escape and have a good think, at least about the choice of those bloody objectives. But the graveyard is stronger. And so, the Efficient man starts to simply wander, without any purpose, along the alleys, not looking for anything specific and not studying the faces on the stones, even though they do attract his attention, all at once. He has no idea that it is only during these moments that he truly lives and is present within reality. Until his mobile phone, that agent of rampant chaos in the field of paper flowers, jerks him out of it. And what's interesting is that he would be told over that phone that the Objective for which he had been working his ass off for the last half a year — that it it's just gone and achieved itself. Or things just settled down without any consequences that he had been fearing so much. Without him. That it turned out he wasn't necessary for that to happen. And the general look of the surroundings kinda indicates that that the world would be just fine without him and his Objectives, and vice versa: the time will pretty soon come when he would be just fine without this world. That's been demonstrated in the previous experiments — and here they are, decorated with little plastic flowers.

 Don’t get us wrong — we haven't gone bonkers here on the Dark Side and aren't proposing to fuck it all to hell and become a night porter at a cemetery. We mean something different — same old, just between us, girls. We mean working in a way that is conscious and fully aware. Did you ever wonder why Achilles can't overtake the fucking tortoise, which would move that little bit further every time? That's because the focus of his attention is at the specific point in space where that specific tortoise currently is. If he were just moving independently in the same direction, he'd have bypassed the whole creep and had them for dinner.

 That is all that is necessary and sufficient to know about targeting. When you set a specific objective and a specific deadline, as mortal managers are advised to do, you become an Achilles and your objective slips away at the last moment. But when you are simply moving through space in a direction that is appropriate for you personally and for that space, all tortoises and carrots are yours for the taking without any special effort from your side. You have likely noticed that yourself: if you just go and rush straight up without taking your eyes off the summit, you quickly get tired. But if you calmly move up, listening to the birds singing and breathing in the mountain air — the summit gets closer by itself. Needy teenage boys aren't getting pulled and wedlock-crazed women aren't getting married. No matter how hard they try. Workaholics are earning disproportionately little, et cetera.

 All of that is absolutely not because the world just works in the kind of crappy way that makes sure we don't get what we want. Only because, when we focus our attention on the target, we are dropping out of the space that contains that target. Achilles's space simply does not contain the tortoise, you get it? And all of your carefully laid out and scripted objectives are external to your space. If you are achieving anything, that's not because, or even despite, your own effort, but independently of it, by a kind of miracle. But miracles are expensive and require the sort of energy that's not readily available. And so it is a lot more (pardon the word) efficient to spend that energy on getting into the required space. For a modern man, taught from school to do the exact opposite, that is not an easy task, and so one is led to use extreme measures. Like that graveyard. Who knows — the man might end up being able to afford a restaurant date with a pretty girl and no purpose.

 Text, illustration © The Dark Side of Business
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