gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Where Freedom Lies.

Having lived in this western wonderland now for many years, I have noticed a few small quirks. Hardly any worth mentioning, perhaps, although here I go:

I’m sure you’ll agree, for example, that a schedule which does not allow you to spend a reasonable amount of time out in the light of day is in need of some reconsideration. To trundle off to one’s place of employment as the sun is just showing its glorious countenance over the horizon, only to return home zombie-like after dark, day after day, is just a bit unfortunate. That is even more obvious in winter, of course.

I recall listening to a report on the CBC a while ago about the pervasive problem of sleep deprivation. People are just too damned tired. They’re falling asleep all over the place: at work, in cafes, on busses, while driving, apparently even during sex! And when the program began to discuss the possibility of extra scheduled nap times in the middle of the workday as a solution, I guffawed and smugly turned the radio off. I felt that they were missing the point, and i needed a nap. I obviously liked the idea but, firstly, i felt that the sleepy-time rooms would no doubt be as airless as the offices that knock the people out to begin with. Secondly, the days are already too scheduled. Even sleep is scheduled. There’s a total disregard for the natural rhythms of the life. Our society is all about productivity and, that being the case, I doubted many employers would ever agree with such a proposal.

I always remember the day, during my time working on Sparks Street, when I lay down on a bench in the Clarica building during my lunch break. Even though I was dressed in shirt and tie, even though the bench was out of the main part of the building, a security officer came over and demanded I sit up. I had to sit up! I asked him why, but he only repeated that I was not acting appropriately and that I had to get up. I was not being allowed to lie down even for a few minutes. Indignantly, I pulled my pants back on and left the building.

We know that the most immediate way to change this system, or the world, is to change oneself. It’s a personal thing. Creating a natural, healthy life, replete with ample rest, fresh air and sunlight, is all well and good. It's certainly a laudable goal. And a nap or two during the work-day could be a tremendous help. Meanwhile, however, here's another quirk i've noticed: so many good people continue to sacrifice for their families and that is even more laudable. As well, many great people through the ages, from Sri Aurobindo and Ann Frank to Nelson Mandela, have shown by their examples that no system, confinement or even the innate limitations of our own bodies can really bind the spirit of a person.

'Wall street is where people go in limousines to get advice from people who take the subway.' Warren Buffet.

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