Hm... On my previous post on Freedom
, Cameron Souza left a comment
the end that got me thinking more on this topic, and about why it is on my mind lately.
About 3 weeks ago, I was browsing a post on security guru Bruce Schneier's blog on the topic of Economic Distress and Fear
. This is actually a discussion spurred by a quote from Irish novelist Tana French, which I will dare to reproduce here:
Part of the debtor mentality is a constant, frantically suppressed undercurrent of terror. We have one of the highest debt-to-income ratios in the world, and apparently most of us are two paychecks from the street. Those in power -- governments, employers -- exploit this, to great effect. Frightened people are obedient -- not just physically, but intellectually and emotionally. If your employer tells you to work overtime, and you know that refusing could jeopardize everything you have, then not only do you work the overtime, but you convince yourself that you're doing it voluntarily, out of loyalty to the company; because the alternative is to acknowledge that you are living in terror. Before you know it, you've persuaded yourself that you have a profound emotional attachment to some vast multinational corporation: you've indentured not just your working hours, but your entire thought process. The only people who are capable of either unfettered action or unfettered thought are those who -- either because they're heroically brave, or because they're insane, or because they know themselves to be safe -- are free from fear.
--- from The Likeness, by Tana French.
Undoubtedly, the present global economic situation is bringing a lot of fear to the workplace, irrespective of where you may live. The headlines in the paper every day paint a rather bleak picture here in Japan, and ditto for the news I get from Yahoo and Google for the States.
And yet, even while I strongly suspect the situation at my present company might not be very good. and that my own position and livelihood could be in a tenuous situation, I somehow don't feel all that negative. Denial? Naiveté? Incurable optimism?
Why should anyone feel frightened about their job situation? I certainly don't want to fool myself about a false sense of loyalty to a paycheck, especially since I know that chasing a salary will never amount to anything real. I recall, again, reading The Joys of the Craft, early on in Chapter 1 of Brooks' The Mythical Man Month
. Yes, I code for money, but there is the sheer joy of making things, of making useful
things, of creating castles in the air from exertion of my imagination.
I love my coding, and even if my job were to disappear, I would return to coding something else, somewhere else. I want to continue creating castles out of thin air. I don't know if I am heroic enough, or insane enough, to be capable of unfettered thought or action.
But wouldn't it be nice to be free from fear?