Unification News for November 2000
Labor Pains - Part Two
This is the second half of an article about work and careers. Here we’ll look at the psychology of work, and speculate about its future. As mentioned last month, women have the most challenging and noble task of all: raising good children. In this particular article we’re focusing on work outside the home.
Every adult is at their best when they have something constructive to do. Men especially need to channel their energy, and supporting a family is the best incentive of all.
One of the Nazi’s cruelest experiments was actually bloodless. It involved making prisoners dig up a huge mound of dirt, and cart it across the camp. Then haul it back again, over and over. Frustrated with this meaningless task, most of these prisoners went insane.
Older men tend to identify with their jobs. They will tell you, "I am an auto worker," rather than, "I work at an auto plant." When laid off, most choose to wait, rather than accept a job in a different field. But even people who say they hate their jobs would rather work than sit idle for long.
When able-bodied men will not work, they’re still depending upon people who do, whether it’s generous relatives or a government program. In such cases—and at any time in history—their demands for respect are likely to fall upon deaf ears. (Read II Thes. 3:10.)
Even the handicapped, when possible, find jobs that fit their abilities.
Some 90 years ago, Jack London (famous by then) frequented the taverns of Santa Rosa, California. He and his drinking buddies would speculate about "the problem of motivation." That is, how to inspire workers within soon-to-emerge Socialist collectives. (This was shortly before the Russian Revolution.)
But this problem was never solved, and partly as a result, the Marxism that London had such hopes for collapsed utterly. In reality, Soviet citizens used to joke, "We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us."
The situation in many post-communist nations remains grim. Their current system has been called ‘crony capitalism.’ Personal work ethics are lacking, as is the corporate drive to expand. Bribery dominates their lives. Robert Novak explains that communism robbed these people spiritually, relentlessly grinding down every meaningful aspect of life.
One wishes that each American worker was truly reliable. Were your author to become an employer, I’d ask every prospective employee three questions (were it allowed, which it isn’t). First: "Can you do this job?" Experience shows that about half of new hires cannot. Second: "Will you do this job?" Many quit within a month or two. And third: "Do you care?" If honest, almost every worker would admit that, beyond their immediate situation, they do not care how their company is doing.
Those few who fulfill these conditions will become highly valued employees. And if they don’t, there are some hilarious ‘worst boss ever’ web sites waiting to accept their horror stories!
Millions of workers, particularly in older industries and government jobs, are unionized. It is widely believed that unions once served a vital purpose, but have now outlived their usefulness. Unions have had almost no luck in organizing newer, high-tech corporations.
This author has occasionally worked alongside members of one large union. I later commented to a fellow truck driver that "I’m not loud enough to belong of that union." (Just before I realized the guy probably belonged to it himself . . . )
I must note that this union has won clear and specific rights for their members, and maintains a valued pension fund. By now they’re a bit over-organized; they have absurdly strict procedures, and one gets the impression they spend about half their time on breaks.
Many nations have not even begun this process. Shamefully, a large portion of the goods on American store shelves are imported from factories that keep their laborers—often children—in penury, sometimes chained to machines. Both the left (National Public Radio) and right (Insight magazine) have worked to expose such conditions.
Our members own many companies, large and small. Some pay minuscule wages, designed for loyal young (single) people. Often, in practice, they must accept a heavy turnover in their work force. A few Unificationist businesses have gone to the opposite extreme, granting their employees lavish house-buying bonuses and such.
Sometimes our standards have odd consequences. Soon after its founding, the Washington Times was served (by a well meaning, non-Unificationist employee) with a widely-reported wage lawsuit. As a result, employees who had taken a voluntary ‘sacrificial’ vow received large raises. Long ago, your author made more money working there than he ever had in his life.
Over the past 30 years, our members have made difficult choices concerning ‘front line missions’ vs. ‘career paths.’ Some remained in church centers, and devoted themselves full-time to the many crusades we’ve carried out over the years. Their work will always be honored.
Other members finished college, and/or developed professional skills for a lucrative career. Now, many of these members are applying their skills in our movement’s increasingly complex undertakings.
True Father has stated that our movement was "pioneered by warriors." Their efforts produced many unprecedented, heroic; yet up-and-down, and sometimes convoluted, achievements. They’ve been loyal and enthusiastic, but not always terribly skilled.
Father says that today is "the time for Kingdom builders." Educated members who can inject Heavenly meaning and purpose into every aspect of work, society, and civilization. Thus the True Children have been earning prestigious college degrees, and gaining sophisticated work experience.
Long ago, hand plows allowed a farmer to eke out a living. When animal-driven plows were introduced, he could produce enough to feed some nearby town.
A whole series of inventors had a hard time perfecting the sewing machine, and an even harder time getting anyone to accept it.
Automation was both feared and welcomed. One man can now oversee a production line that used to require the hard and dangerous efforts of twenty. In Japan, some factories resolved union protests by granting their assembly robots dues-paying membership!
In a recent UNews article, Dr. Tyler Hendricks tackled a thorny issue: what is this ‘Heavenly Socialism’ mentioned in the Divine Principle?
No one has produced a clear model, though we all know it will achieve socialism’s goal of fair and abundant sharing—and lack the old version’s bureaucratic, atheistic tones.
The American founders made it clear that their new nation was only fit for a righteous people. And America’s original colonists, most of whom were literate and God-fearing, fit the bill. (As for today—please pray!)
One supposes that Heavenly Socialism, to work right, or even to exist, must rest upon an even more righteous society.
People have longed for Utopia since before recorded history. Many old American Indian tales describe a "sky country," or a place "far across the mountains," where game is abundant, and beautiful people live in health and harmony.
In James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, Shangri-La could only exist in a small and isolated valley. Everyone sings while they work, and lives for centuries, but they can never leave the place.
Aldous Huxley saw Utopia as a fragile place. In his novel Island, everyone is a philosopher, and gladly supports their society. But the whole thing collapses when their greedy neighbor, Colonel Dipa, sets his sights on the place.
In his novel Voyage from Yesteryear, James P. Hogan’s planet Chiron is full of atheistic (and rather uninhibited) citizens. They work hard, and value personal competence above all. And when the bad guys show up, they ‘convert’ as many as they can—then calmly blast the remaining aggressors into atoms.
Eventually, the Restoration will elevate the hearts, and the morals, of a large portion of humanity. Versatile robots, and then nanotechnology, will make virtually every type of work unnecessary.
Perhaps, certain elements of each Utopia mentioned above will be incorporated into the Ideal society. Then we can all enjoy the ‘hobby culture’ proposed by True Father. This has already been shown, in embryonic form, at Jardim in Brazil.
Personally, I can’t wait!
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