I’ve never been that person who just sees the world as the only one possible. In sociological terms I’ve always largely rejected functionalism. In essence I’m a critical structuralist. We made this system, and it works for elites
After a life of critique though, sometimes you’re struck by something so obvious, so simple, that it takes you back a step. It started with the question: why is life so hard?
Why do most of us slave away for hour after hour at jobs we detest for little emotional or material reward? Why are so many of those jobs totally unnecessary? If we laid down our tools would it make any real difference to the workings of the world? I think Covid answered that for many us, didn’t it?
And then I came across this guy called Jon Jandai from Thailand in a Ted talk and he said something so straightforward and so ridiculous that I had to laugh. Life is so easy. And he kept repeating it.
Easy? Easy for whom? In which universe? I felt angry at him at first. What an irresponsible thing to say! Look around you, I thought, does this look easy? But his story was profound, and in the end, I was forced to agree with him, at least, that life could and should be easier…
He told the audience that he had lived in a small village in Thailand where everything was wonderful until the arrival of television. His community worked for a short amount of time each year and then lived off the rice they’d grown for the rest of it. It was a calm life, a life of play, peace and leisure.
Television created discontent. It showed people they were poor, ignorant, uncultured. So, he packed his bags, went to the capital in Bangkok and his life was transformed. He enrolled in a university and got a part-time job.
From his perspective the course was too much work, was incredibly boring and most of what was taught was environmentally destructive. Wow! He’s right, I realized. My achievements in academia were gained through grueling self-negation. The status and pay were recompense for the boredom and pointlessness. It was all a giant hoop!
He went on to say much more about his life back in the village, and how easy it was compared to his friends in Bangkok. If you want to experience it yourself go to the talk on YouTube – just put in Jon Jandai…
For me I came away realizing, with new eyes and new evidence, that life is hard because a small number of people (whose lives are easy) want it that way. The only hardship they face is the fear that we might all wake up and refuse to participate any more.
Life could be easy, it SHOULD be easy, and I for one sincerely hope we see that before it’s too late.
Radical Rhymes is a professional artist working with a range of media – predominantly animal/human portraits and landscapes – including, most recently, hand painted furniture. You can see his work on Instagram Radicalrhymes1969 or on Twitter @RhymesRadical.
For commissions, please contact him on Twitter via Direct Message or by email at: email@example.com His work is also available to buy on Etsy