Is a slave a slave if he does not know he is enslaved? has been edited by Rushi Bhimani.
Slave\ sleɪv \ (noun)
a person held in servitude as the chattel of another.
The word slave was first used in the 14th century. But over time, its meaning has changed, or rather, has become well-segregated to meet the ethical and moral definition of today’s world.
When I first told my editor the title of my next article, he laughed and said: “Oh! Corporate world pe likh raha hai?”
That was funny for a while. But the moment I started thinking about it, I remembered how my friends called themselves “corporate slaves.” I remembered them saying that they worked their arses off for things they did not enjoy. Some of them were so depressed that they reached out for medical assistance.
Now, what exactly is a corporate slave?
Urban Dictionary defines a corporate slave as, “The people who make the business world go round and round. Without them, executives might actually have to do something besides make rules to make it more difficult for the slaves under them to do their job. Corporate slaves can be easily identified by the vacant look in their eyes as they are always overworked, underpaid and underappreciated.” Funny but equally true.
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
The process of being enslaved starts at a very early age. We pay schools to learn things that we might never use and do not learn about things that actually matter. If you look at it, the very institute that should teach us about the beauty of life has been spitting us out like Ford Motors did with the Model T. They are generating well-mannered, obeying and mindless slaves for the world.
“School. Degree. Job.” That is all that people expect from us.
If you strip this problem down to its very bones, you realise that all we require for survival is to get money. But the idea of a “normal job” gets drilled into us at the very core of our learning. And eventually, any other idea that pops in our mind seems eccentric.
What the corporate world has successfully done is instead of directly owning people, they have created a layer of abstraction in between. They have devised a concept of corporate personhood.
No, I am not an anti-schooling, anti-education freak. But do tell me if your school ever taught you how to do your taxes, or taught you the wonders of the world. Did it teach you the things you actually needed to live or needed to survive in the corporate world?
I am 21 and still do not know where would I use binomial distribution. But sure. learning LGBTQ+ rights is a waste of time.
One thing that people have to understand about life is that in society, we naturally comply with authority without questioning it. The best example in Indian context would be “Always listen to what elders say. Do not question them or argue.” We are not clued up on the system we live in, but we like to believe that we are. We delude ourselves.
To be precise, workers in corporations are free to decide when they want to move to another corporation. But this freedom itself is quite theoretical. You have the liberty to choose between your bosses (read: owners) until you stay in the system. Of course, you can always have an out from this loop, the real freedom. But where would you get the money for that?
Welcome, my son. Welcome, to the machine.
At last, I will leave you with a question that led to the rant you read above.
“Is a slave a slave if he doesn’t know he’s enslaved”
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