There was a time and time to gather cherry stones over the season, which were then made into pillows for loved ones who could warm them by the stove before bed on cold winter nights to ward off aches and chills.
In my father’s time, he worked at the factory between 9 am and 5 pm. At 1 o’clock he came home for an hour to eat dinner, and had a chance to read the paper. We lived 10 minutes from the factory which was a small collection of buildings tucked in among trees. He had time in the morning to calmly shave, to eat porridge and eggs, to talk to his children, and leave ten minutes before the whistle to walk to work. And he had time after work to think. All the way till midnight or later if he wished because he could have a civilised sleep. As did everyone. The ladies had time to curl their hair before leaving for work, to chat to neighbours over the fence, to think about the world in regular moments of quiet.
Now work is usually centralised, and people must travel quite a distance, either in crowded public transport or in their cars which will sit often for long periods of time in stressful traffic jams. Work usually starts at 8 am. That was a ruse – how did they slip that one past us so easily? Lunch break is a bare half hour not paid for by the company and in the evenings there is the long commute home, often after collecting children from the child care service. Home is a rushed affair of hurried meals and shortened nights of snatched sleep to prepare for early rising.
When the European Union was mooted there was great talk of freedom of movement of workers. As if this was a dream. It was in fact an ominous threat, back when globalists used to carelessly spit out the truth. That was before they got wily. What it has meant is the freedom to uproot oneself and slavishly follow the corporatist piper. Affording a home is difficult if not nigh on impossible. The chance to build a family, a community, a tribe is unobtainable to many, especially in the younger generation. They have the freedom to work themselves to stupor in a time when we were supposedly going to have shorter working weeks or half days. But that was not allowed – and why not, one might ask. Perhaps it would leave too much time for the minions to cause trouble?
Weekend hedonism, purchasing, indulgence barely compensates for over-stressed work days where pay, which has remained stagnant for most over the past several decades, has totally detached itself from human productivity, which has soared.
People are being shaped into drones, consuming, ceaselessly occupied drones, rootless atomised individuals with no time to think.
G.K. Chesteron said the ”modern world has made everybody much too insignificant. It has made every man far too much of an idiot…The commercial and industrial world is conducted by a vast army of idiots…What is called the Termite State has followed on from what was understood, or rather not understood, by the Servile State.”
Speaking in more recent years Guido Preparata has echoed this insect-like metaphor of modern people – he says ”The “Techno-Structure” is what in pop iconography is known as” The Matrix”: i.e. a giant, soulless apparatus of social coordination, which transcends “Left” and “Right,” “Public” and “Private” and seeks to control humanity like, in point of fact, a termitary, an ant-heap, a hive.”
Machines make the cherry stone pillows now and we briefly lay our bodies down to rest.