"Give Me Back My Life!"
You see, I took on temporary legal work and have been reviewing documents for over 4 months now and it's just been sucking the life out of me with 60 hours/week minimum requirements. It's not the hours that bother me cause I can work all sorts of crazy hours when I'm doing something I love. Do I love the kind of legal work I'm currently doing? No, and I can't delude myself into thinking that I do. However, I do have to pay my bills. What bothers me is the little time I have left to advance my artistic endeavors and nurture my inner Amazon Goddess.
Although I have managed to squeeze in a few performances and auditions, I'm not doing as much as I'd like and I've fallen behind on my writing (not just blogging - I'm actually trying to finish a full-length play and a webisode series). I've tried to force myself to sit and write, but I feel as if the quality of my writing has been diminished - either that or my insecurities of having to be perfect at everything I do have managed to creep up again (working in a legal environment can affect me in that manner). I could blame myself for having "resistance" vis-a-vis my writing (read the "The War Of Art" - great book) or I could blame work for making me lose my "oomph" since running on 5 to 6 hours of sleep a day isn't at all beneficial. I mean, I can't think straight anymore. In fact, I think I may be going delirious. So, who can I blame?
Blame It On Capitalism!
I told you I was starting to go delirious.
Because I'm a socialist? No. Actually, I'm picking on capitalism because I recently read Karl Marx's Theory Of Alienation and one of his claims seems to fit what my day at work is like, which, in turn, may explain the origin of my delirium...?
Theory Of Alienation
According to Karl Marx, alienation is a systemic result of Capitalism. That is, in a capitalist society the laborer does not feel realized as a human being since he/she is forced to work for "the man" (the one who owns the means of production) in order to survive. Therefore, work becomes about satisfying the goals of "the man" not his/her own personal goals, which, in turn, alienates the laborer from the work he produces, from working, from him-/herself and from others.
The theory makes sense and definitely seems applicable to my current line of work. I mean, it's as if Marx were referring to all those contract attorneys who sit day in and day out in front of their computers for a minimum of 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, reviewing documents and clicking onto the next. Who could actually feel realized as a human being doing that sort of work?!
I must say that although Marx's theory makes sense in certain circumstances, I don't completely agree with it because he fails to acknowledge laborers who may actually feel realized as human beings in their work, even if they're working for "the man". As interesting as I find Marx's theory, I will spare you further details and advise you to read about it here: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/ollman/books/a.php and get a sense of it's application in our modern society here: http://barrymblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/karl-marx-and-his-theory-of-alienation.html.
The claim I was referring to earlier is the following:
"Marx claims that as a result of his productive activity,
'man (the worker) no longer feels himself to be freely active in any but his animal functions—eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling and in dressing-up, etc.; and in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal. Certainly eating, drinking, procreating, etc., are also genuine human functions. But in the abstraction which separates them from the sphere of all other human activity and turns them into sole and ultimate ends, they are animal.'"See Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 p. 73
Oh no, I'm becoming an animal!
After reading this, I looked up from my cubicle, examined my surroundings and realized that I, along with the other 70 to 90 contract attorneys in the room, had managed to no longer feel freely active, but in our animal functions. You see, a contract attorney sits at his/her desk all day, motionless, starring at the computer screen with a blank glassy stare, reviewing documents and clicking away - akin to Marx's capitalist laborer - all in an effort to aid the production of documents for the law firm. It's no wonder that some contract attorneys tend to gain weight when on these document review projects. And can you blame them? I mean, the highlight of a contract attorney's day is what he/she is going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why? Because we get our self-realization from choosing what to put into our stomachs than from clicking documents and so we eat any chance we can, which, in turn, leads to more bathroom breaks - another highlight of our day - and by the end of the day all we have left to look forward to is sleep. So, basically, self-realization for a contract attorney is achieved by eating, shitting, sleeping and....
Well, Marx did mention procreation, but I think it's more about the act that precedes procreation. S-E-X! Of course, contract attorneys exercise more self-control in the work place. After all we are not animals, and contrary to what Marx may have thought, these functions would never become sole and ultimate ends for us (at least, I hope that's not the case). However, that does not mean that the mind does not wander away from our productive activity. Mine does for sure - involuntarily and voluntarily. For e.g., whenever I feel like blowing my brains out from reviewing documents, all I have to do is look up across the room to that cute attorney who sits a few rows in front of me and feel self-realized. Oh don't be so shocked - girls think about these things just as much as boys. Although, I must admit I'm more like a 15 year old boy when it comes to this one attorney. Now, he's not a contract attorney; he's an actual associate so he probably does get his self-realization from his productive activity, in which case he would be the exception to Marx's theory. But if that is true then that would also mean that he probably doesn't feel self-realized looking back at me...? Oh what a bummer! :((
Anyway, I guess my point is that working as a Contract Attorney sucks with the exception of those moments where self-realization is achieved by performing our animal-like functions throughout the day. Seems to fit Marx's theory, but still doesn't explain why I can't think straight enough to write and why I feel like I'm going delirious even when I'm not at work. Although, I think I may have stumbled upon the real culprit in my somewhat garbled analysis of Marx's theory: that darn cute attorney. Arrrgghhh.
Disclaimer: This post is meant to be humorous. I am not a proponent of Communism. In fact, I am grateful to Capitalism for the job I have, which affords me the ability to pursue my artistic endeavors. And when unemployed, I am grateful to Socialism for affording me the same.