Moods of Materialism and Idealism

Let’s imagine a person who, for whatever reason, cannot be employed in a traditional workplace, such as an office, and who generally harbors a deep distrust of employment -- also holding the opinion that wages are insultingly low even in ‘good jobs’ for the efforts and pains expected in exchange for salary.

So, this person must be content with finding ‘odd jobs’, being a freelancer -- what today is called self-employed by ‘gig’-jobs and the IRS -- not necessarily providing high pay, but in temporary work roles that did not demand all of the daylight hours. Flexibility in earning wages (and tips), despite not having high profits, was some respite in poverty.

Now, our hypothetical person has certain skills, talents, and a greater vision for a lifestyle, a livelihood. But, he or she just hasn’t managed to disentangle from the wage-earning syndrome enough to provide the necessary headspace to refine those intimate talents, or the energy to offer them publicly.

So, there is bifurcation in this person’s vitality and capacity to focus: the circumstance of having to do income work distracts from the inner need to pursue one’s love-craft. Or, that is how it most often seems to this person’s mostly depressive state of mind.

And yet, there is a pitiable irony in the fact that the very income work that is drudgery and resented provides, at least, adequate returns to keep alive and keep developing the love-craft, no matter how slow the pace. The person we’re imagining can realize this at times; and from it gains some sense of gratefulness for What Is -- even while having criticisms of the terms for labor, for example.

Now, the point of our thought experiment is this: The person is experiencing daily conflicted moods, and yet keeps on truckin’, coping with being separated from the true vocation – meanwhile, developing it in small steps and even sharing that real work. One day, suddenly the person can see two alternatives that form a kind of relieving summary of the manic moods and conflicting outlooks:

1) Rejecting the status of worker having to work under unfair conditions, seeing oneself as economically trapped, unable to practice one’s most beloved skills: this point of view is distracted  by income-producing work taken as mere labor, in contrast with the conscious craft to which one devotes time and energy during ‘free time’. One lives in a sharp division between opposite experiences. This is a nervous, upset, enervated state.

2) This other perspective understands that life is not fair to human egos. It is an easier-going attitude of acceptance of What Is (flawed as it is), and, in a key distinction from the state above: this one actually appropriates the experience of mere wage earning for survival into the love-craft, since more knowledge and observations of life are gained by it, at the very least. Minimal subsistence profits do, nevertheless, keep one alive, and at this one should not scoff. This state is relaxed, cool, yet focused.

What is most philosophically interesting in this scenario with two ways to interpret a personally experiential phenomenon, is how much life and one’s personality change (mood, perception, creativity) with a shift in how insular and isolated (if at all) one views oneself.

In the first example above, the outlook creates a materialistic plane of separate and discreet entities in conflicts (including: workers vs owners, self vs world, labor vs love-craft). The self is cut off from enthusiasm for beingness -- too captivated by differences between beings -- and is depressed to that degree. In the second example, obviously, the person’s outlook envisions a unified field, without divisions between self and worldly phenomena, and, this is accompanied by a relaxed experience of life.

So if these are correct examinations then there are definite moods exuded, exclusively, by materialism and idealism that are worth exploring.

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