Only coerced labor can keep humans accountable

There is a theory about how people would just do drugs, have sex, and do no good in general if they did not need to be accountable by their jobs and the pressure of society to keep them under control. Note: not that doing drugs and having sex are bad things, but they are only good (for individuals and society) when in moderation and under control.

I have always thought I was not that kind of person. I have always thought that if I had some basic income, for example, then I would spend my days doing free software, publishing some research, and also having a healthier life: exercise every day, respecting sleep hours, enjoying more time with family and friends, etc. But I found myself wasting most of the time that I am not working.

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.

Charles Darwin

Back to the point, certainly a job is not a sufficient condition to keep humans accountable, if that was so, work addiction would not be a problem. All sorts of volunteers, NGOs, parents,… prove that it is not a necessary condition either. A fulfilling life with a purpose is a much better way to keep humans accountable. Sometimes it is not about what you want from life, but what “life” wants from you, and caring about that.

Therefore, the theory mentioned in the first paragraph is clearly wrong. It is a quite harmful model, and something to forget. At this point in time, I do not think that life wants much from me. But I know that I do not want to be the kind of person described in the theory. Therefore, for various reasons, I am going to start to write some blog posts. They are going to be short and fairly crappy, to be honest, but they are better than nothing. This may be one of those rare cases of information published on the Internet where only the author reads it, and I am fine with that.

But more importantly, this may be one of those rare cases where a person (or group of them) can prove a theory wrong, intentionally. So if you say: “people will not do anything useful unless you pay them”, I respond: “you cannot stop me”.

To try to give a take-home message: try to do something that you genuinely enjoy and that you think that it is valuable, because that may be what gives you energy (motivation, not stamina), a sense of purpose in your life. Some things provide instant gratification (like Twitter), some things take a bit longer (like WordPress), and some much longer (like GitHub). I am going to try to train myself to get more and deeper gratification by doing gradually harder and more useful things. Maybe you should try to do the same thing.