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Life as a Commodity

Lately I’ve been struggling quite deeply. I’ve been between jobs, and similarly to how my furlough status during the start of this pandemic allowed me to re-evaluate the life that I’ve been living, this “break” of sorts has done the same once again.

This world often makes very little sense to me, and the more sense I try to make of it, the less I understand it. We all want to be happy, to spend time with our loved ones, to be free to chase after our passions and desires, and yet we sell the hours of our lives without a single moment of contemplation. When you apply for an interview for a job, you are reaching out to that person to ask, in some deeply concealed form, “How much is my life worth?” Then that person has to come up with a response and make a justification for your life being worth X amount of dollars. It matters not how much you have struggled, nor the victories you’ve achieved, nor the impact you’ve made. Your life is a neat little numerical value.

Does that not strike anyone else as horrendously inhumane? That one has to bargain with their worth to be alive. That the mother or father who doesn’t work, yet provides to the world a fully-developed person, is unworthy of any means in which to live and raise their child adequately? That the person who struggles endlessly is required to work and never has the proper time to learn and care for themselves, which would then allow them to contribute far more to society? That there are people that, others have collectively decided, are not worthy of food, water, or a roof over their head?

Is that not wrong? That we literally have to sell our lives, hours at a time, in the one shot we have at experiencing all of this? No one seems to like it very much. Everyone is looking forward to a vacation, a time where they can actually decide what their hours mean and have the ability to exercise their own autonomy. I feel like that speaks for itself about the nature of the lives we have.

Life does not feel like something to be lived anymore, but something to be bought. One does not live life, but purchases it. It feels as though it has boiled down to a commodity, a subscription-based business model. 

How did we let ourselves get to this?

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