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Damn those Protestants

Sentry21 (8183) writes | more than 11 years ago

User Journal 6

I picked up a book last year, when I was still in my 'omg!! Chapters!@#$%' phase, called 'The Hacker Ethic'. The discussion is the sort of thing the average Slashdotter would approve of - 'Hackers aren't evil baddies, they can be good guys. Or even computer-illiterate, like art hackers or car hackers' and blah blah. One of the things discussed there is the Protestant Work Ethic. For those who are unfamiliar, I will provide a short explanation.

I picked up a book last year, when I was still in my 'omg!! Chapters!@#$%' phase, called 'The Hacker Ethic'. The discussion is the sort of thing the average Slashdotter would approve of - 'Hackers aren't evil baddies, they can be good guys. Or even computer-illiterate, like art hackers or car hackers' and blah blah. One of the things discussed there is the Protestant Work Ethic. For those who are unfamiliar, I will provide a short explanation.

World history is pretty long, but it basically starts out with dinosaurs roaming the earth. After a while, they died and the Romans showed up, and they built aquaducts and roads and took over Jerusalem. A short time later, people claim, Jesus was born. For a more accurate historical analysis of this event, rent Monty Python's The Life of Brian, which goes into great detail about the coming of the messiah. Anyway, after he died, but didn't really die, the people who listened to him started gathering together to talk about him behind his back, and eventually they made a church and took over Europe. Everyone had to do what the Church said, or they'd go to hell, which was alright as long as you didn't mind your entire life and the life of your children being indentured servitude to a bunch of ornately-dressed corrupt officials. Then Martin Luther got pissed and wrote why he didn't like the church and nailed it to his door, and then Europe fell apart.

The result of Martin Luther's actions was the splitting of Christianity into Catholics and Protestants. Luther believed that it wasn't what you did that mattered to God, it was what you felt. It wasn't working your ass off and then giving it all to the Church that got you into heaven, no, it was having faith in God, reading the Bible ('New Bible', as I refer to it as, to distinguish it from 'Bible Classic', which contains my favourite book, Daniel), and making up your own mind. This backfired for Luther because he naturally assumed everyone would read New Bible and come to the same conclusions he did, which they didn't. Still, the idea was founded that you don't have to revolve your life around the Church. Normally, I'd be happy about this. I think faith should be a personal thing. But this sucked. Why?

They had to find something else to fill that void, and so they filled it with work. After that, things went to shit, and then we made computers and offices and cubicles and accounting, and now we're all in hell whether you go to church or not. The Protestant Work Ethic came about because people decided that work was a good thing to replace the church with. Today, therefore, you are a failure unless you have a good job and are making good money. But why? If I earned $150,000 a year, I'd probably spend $150,000 a year, give or take. Maybe I'd take a vacation now and then, but who knows. Chances are good. If I made $50,000/yr, I'd spend it. If I made $19,000/yr, I'd spend it. That's how it works. We get this mindset of 'I have more money, I can buy nice things' but no one knows how to manage their money, so it never goes anywhere. But if you're not making as much as your neighbour, or if you're not in a secure job like your neighbour, you're a failure, and you'll die lonely and miserable.

But there's another option. Watch American Beauty for a good example. Life is hell for this guy, until he realizes that it doesn't really matter what kind of job you have, or even if you have one. He realizes that he's happier without a job than with one, because he didn't like his job anyway. Fight Club is another example, until later on when it gets really fucked up.

I'm the same way, but I have a different problem. I can't focus on things I'm not interested in. I honestly can't, no matter how hard I try, my mind drifts instantly and I can't focus. Ask my 'real life' friends if this is true and they'll tell you how I forget what I'm saying in the middle of a sentence a lot of the time, even when I'm really excited about whatever I'm saying. Then apply that to me not caring at all what I'm doing, and imagine how hard it is to focus. It's hard.

I don't want a job where I get hired, get my desk, then retire 50 years later and die having wasted my life. I want a job where I can meet different people. Where I can work here or there or anywhere. A contracting position for example. Alternately, I would enjoy jobs where I could go from one company to another. Small, relatively insignificant jobs that I can leave whenever I want, and find another one right away. Like the guy from American Beauty. He gets a job at a burger joint. I've made a solemn vow to myself never to work in food service, but the example still stands.

So here's the question: what sort of jobs/opportunities are there out there for someone who only wants to work a little bit and then go elsewhere? Or who wants to move around a lot and make sure his life involves different things? Or, alternately, for someone who wants to basically be able to do his job and then be done (sysadmin, etc) except for routine maintenance?

I tell you what I'd like to do. I'd like to be a manager. Run a department in a store like Superstore for a while. Then, leave, and get a job elsewhere. Maybe Radio Shack. Maybe the Sony Store. Maybe Black's Photography. Corporate stores. I think it'd be interesting. But I'm not sure how one gets into jobs like management without being promoted or knowing someone. It's hard to say.

Anyway, that's my thought for the day. Later today, or tomorrow, I'll start scribing the origins of humanity, as I believe they might have been. I'm hoping the slashdot community will be able to add more to my timeline or correlate/clarify some of my points. It's been a while and I've lost all the documentation I had outlining where my evidence comes from, but it's an interesting archaeological/anthropological theory. At least, I think so.

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what a load (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 11 years ago | (#6143466)

Ok first off the Catholics themselves were a split.. there are several flavors of Orthodoxy that predate the Catholic church.

I realise you were trying to be funny but your explanation of salvation was off as well so here it is for a nutshell:

Jesus.. came down and took our punishment(insert massive explanation of the Jewish sacrifical laws and other prophicies and how they forward point) for us and we should be thankfull. If were thankfull we will follow the base requirements. And those are? (Heres where I get to annoy most protestants who are reading.) We forgive others and care about others (and ourselves). So simple and so easilly forgotten.

The bible is actually rather clear that holding grudges is dangerous to one's salvation and I find myself constantly amazed that so many people don't get that.

The rest of the laws? Well the Jewish food laws are probably the most helthy diet ever. The food handling rules are a good way to prevent food poisoning. And the rest (excluding the sacrificial laws) lead to having a more enjoyable life.

Much of the "protestant work ethic" flies in the face of everything the bible teaches. Where does it say we should be greedy bastards who work like mad so we can get stuff we wish we could afford while sacrifising our relationships with friends and family in the process?

Theres a very twisted tendancy that people have to use their religion to justify whatever they happen to be doing at the moment even when the actual teachings say the opposite.

Protestant work indeed. The scarey thing is that the only people Jesus openly slammed publically were the people who had the Jewish faith from something wonderful into the burden of carefully observing hundreds of rules. They even had rules inside of God's rules to prevent people from accidentally breaking God's rules. Sound familliar? I suspect Jesus would have some harsh things to say to many of the people who claim to be his followers if he were to come back tomorrow.

Well yes, but the load was filler (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144058)

I don't take my explanations of salvation too seriously at all, which of course you should know by now. Of course, you should know I don't take anything seriously. That being said...

The Orthodoxy I don't know much about. I might update my post, but for the purposes of the post, the origins of the protestant work ethic are all that really matter. The rest is comic filler (well, supposed to be). As for Christianity in general, I was taking a swipe at all the Eagle3-style Christians that might be reading. You're the only Christian I know that reads my journal, and I didn't expect you to take me seriously. Still, thanks for putting in an explanation where I didn't have time or patience to put one.

New Bible doesn't teach us to follow the protestant work ethic at all, but the point is that since people don't interpret it to mean indenture yourself to the church, they had to fill their time somehow, and work was all that was left. I'm not going to speak at this from a Christian point of view for obvious reasons, but from a practical point of view, it's stupid.

Keep in mind too that I distinguish between 'The Bible', or 'Bible Classic', and 'The New Testament', or 'New Bible'. To continue with the analogy, I refer to the Koran as 'Cherry Bible', but not because I consider it in the same breath as the previous two. I don't consider (personally) New Bible to be in the same vein as Bible Classic. Bible Classic has many laws (if you choose to call them that) that are Good Ideas. The food laws are one great example. It also has a lot of history, in that if you take it as symbolic, it's easy to point to events in the history of the universe and correlate them with what is written. From 'let there be light' (big bang) to the great flood (10,500 years ago there was a meteor impact on an ice sheet in the northern hemisphere. Sea levels rose at a rate best measured in 'feet per minute'), there is, in Bible Classic, either historical evidence of the work of God, or symbolic descriptions of the history of the universe, depending on how you choose to look at it.

With New Bible, however, I see a different trend. The Jewish laws tend largely to be general 'good idea' rules. Don't kill people. Don't steal. Don't covet. I'm not religious and I think these are good ideas too, not because I'll go to hell (or jail) but because otherwise a functioning society there could not be. Bible Classic seems to steer people towards a basic (and vague) explanation of where the whole of creation came from, as well as a basic framework for establishing a safe, functioning, and healthy society, with similarly safe, functioning, and healthy citizens.

New Bible, however, seems to focus more on, well, Jesus. Which makes sense. But it doesn't seem to be in the same vein. I mean, it gives some advise, sure, but it doesn't seem (in my perception) to be along the same lines. I guess it tends more towards spiritual salvation than forming a functional society. Perhaps that's my own perception, but then again, Bible Classic did the functional society thing, so why reinvent the wheel?

I don't know if you've seen Dogma, but your last paragraph rings true with what Kevin Smith says through Rufus in the movie: Catholics treat their faith like a burden. It seems to be a depressing way to live. The grudges thing too, something even I know about - if you kill a man, that's wrong, but if you harbour thoughts against a man, that's wrong by the same principle.

I have an edge against Christianity, I'll admit that. But anyone I know who's known me for a while (which, for this purpose, is no one) would be amazed how much I've changed. It's easy to curse the many for the actions of the (vocal) few, and it's people like Eagle3 who've shaped my view of organized religion in general. Don't worry though, it's all about understanding now. Hard for a guy like me to do, but important, no matter how you look at it.

--Dan

Re:Well yes, but the load was filler (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144252)

I for the life of me can't imagine why you would base your views of Christianity on a single misguided person who youve only ever met on irc when youve known better examples than that in person. On the other hand the better examples tend to not make as much noise about being "Christian" and spend more time actually living by example.

It's all too easy to judge a group based on the wost examples but that's not very smart.

I've been at the "churches suck" phase and some really do but I've since learned that in all the noise there are some really cool churches out there.

Re:Well yes, but the load was filler (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6145577)

I for the life of me can't imagine why you would base your views of Christianity on a single misguided person who youve only ever met on irc when youve known better examples than that in person.

Eagle3 is an example, and worse than pretty much anyone else, but don't think I hadn't met hundreds like him by the age of twelve. That's where the issue comes in. It's the people who you wouldn't know are Christian that lend a good name to Christianity, and make people think 'hey, maybe they're not all bad after all'. The bad ones get in your face about the fact that they're Christian. The good ones just lead good lives.

--Dan

A couple of ideas (1)

bethanie (675210) | more than 11 years ago | (#6147614)

So here's the question: what sort of jobs/opportunities are there out there for someone who only wants to work a little bit and then go elsewhere? Or who wants to move around a lot and make sure his life involves different things? Or, alternately, for someone who wants to basically be able to do his job and then be done (sysadmin, etc) except for routine maintenance?

Have you ever considered being a consultant? Seriously. I used to work for a large consulting practice. Of course, I was one of the office homebodies. But the other consultants did basically what you are describing above. They would get assigned to a job for a few weeks or a few months (occasionally, it was a long-term thing for a few years, but this was usually for people who preferred that type of arrangement), and then they'd move on to another assignment.

You're working for the same employer, but you're hired out to other companies to improve their systems or install new ones or assess what kind of an upgrade would best suit them... There are LOTS of different kinds of jobs that consultants are called in to do. And people with technological skills are pretty valuable in these places, because most of their staff consists of business-school preppy types. (At least that was the case in my experience.)

The cool thing for companies hiring consultants is that they pay for a specific project, and then they're done -- no layoffs, no training, no contract workers. It's a whole alternative layer of doing business.

You want to be able to go in someplace and hit the ground running, get the job done, and check out? That's a consultant! And sometimes you go back to do routine maintenance checkups!

Another area you might consider -- and personally, if someone mentioned this to me, I'd balk -- is sales. But hear me out. Think of sales as a kind of customer service. It's your job to figure out what the customer needs and then educate them about what it is that you can provide them to meet those needs. You could also be involved with the implementation of the system, if that's your bag.

Not being too sure what exactly your skill set is, it's hard for me to go into much more detail than that. But I'd be happy to try to hone it down a bit, if you care to.

....Bethanie....

Re:A couple of ideas (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 11 years ago | (#6149573)

Consultancy was one idea I was thinking of. I'm going to be taking the Novell Certified Salesperson exam in a day or two, which will be a good first start. After that, I'm going to look into Cisco networking certifications, then branch out from there. A friend and I have been playing around with various networking setups, the Novell 6.5 beta, kerberos (oy!), LDAP, and whatever, and I got the idea of starting a consultancy doing things like that. We go in, set up your network, train your staff, and leave. If there's problems, we come back.

Sales is another thing I've enjoyed in the past and would like to look into in the future. There's something to be said for finding that perfect deal for a customer, and having them come back a week later and say thanks. It really is a good feeling.

It's hard to say, but hey, there's always time to try new things.

--Dan
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