Our world is broken. Don’t let it break you.

Freedom Preacher

Our world is broken. Don’t let it break you.

How many ways can I say it? We struggle with a built-in conflict. Our economies are based on division of labor, exchanges, and specialization of skills. Yet our societies are conflict-driven, exclusionary by design. As always, cui bono? Who benefits are those who wish to rule us for their own power and gain. It’s a tired old game – centuries, if not millennia – but it still works. And it still damages us.

From our smallest social unit, marriage and family, we learn to “forsake all others” and that “our kind are special.” We live in a world with billions of souls yet actual interaction with others is kept primarily to a tiny handful of “approved” others, those in what Stefan Molyneux calls the “Accidental Biological Cage,” otherwise known as the family.

After growing up in such a hermetically sealed environment, how on earth can people be expected to suddenly be good at interacting with new people? In spite of it all, most of us do figure it out, more or less. But the damage takes its toll.

Interactions take place because they have to. Once in a while they even work well and the organizations involved take on the “well-oiled machine” metaphor. But mostly they creak along, more heat than light in many cases. And let’s not forget about those armies of “specialists” pressed into service to keep our interaction-challenged society limping along: unions and lawyers, to name some of the obvious players.

Undoing the damage done at an international or global level is way beyond the scope of this article, to put it mildly. “World Peace” – right. I’m not holding my breath on that one.

But what about damage done to individuals, specifically, to their careers? Careers suffer for the same reason that nations do: we don’t know how to interact with each other. Companies make a great show of how much they care about their employees and their customers – and proceed to wipe out their employees’ retirement funds, create products that kill their customers, and cover up as much of this as possible. The unions and lawyers then feast on the remains.

All of this is part of the culture, more or less accepted, at least until people start shooting each other (which happens all too often at work; “Violence in the workplace” has become a topic in its own right). We laugh at Dilbert; Dave Barry writes about topics at today’s managers’ meeting: “Why is Employee Morale so Low?” and “How Can We Get Away with Paying Them Even Less?” Movies like “Office Space” achieve cult status, along with the famous red stapler, of course.

(I actually attended a mid-level management meeting very much like this in my “corporate” era. More on this later.)