The dogma of success

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover art by Priscilla Livesey.

“People who don’t actually know chronically poor people always assume the poor are simply down on their luck and getting oppressed. When you actually know poor people you quickly realise why they are poor... Poor people are poor because they make bad decisions. 

Some examples of bad decisions that lead to poverty include chronic drug use, not finishing high school, having kids when you can’t afford them, having kids out of wedlock. 

Examples of good decisions that pull one out of poverty include seeking gainful employment and working 40 hours a week.” - some poor sap.

According to this premise, the onus is on the individual to escape poverty, and work hard at it, too. All contexts and circumstances are omitted so the reasoning seems sound. 

Most people agree.
At least those who are not free.
They are the fettered. 

It is a great tragedy that the person who finds themselves poor should think slavery to the rich their only way out of poverty, the only way to live life, and in manifesting this attitude begin to resent their own peers for their apathy and inaction. 

I believe this problem stems from how the average person defines “success” as quantifiable by money and power. By money I mean currency to manipulate others and by power I mean ability to manipulate others, into fulfilling your personal desires.

The problem is solved by revisiting first principles.  Remember in school when you were explicitly told your measure of success was directly proportional to your ability to perform the exact tasks laid out before you? I do. You really didn’t have a choice in the matter. Yet you unwittingly internalised the dogma. We all did. 

The dogma of success. This nifty idea helps one to justify a lifetime of nose to the grindstone with minimal compensation. A gift from the rich to the poor - the tool that allows the average person the cognitive dissonance of thinking themselves successful while also dismissing their fellow humans as irredeemable, who refuse to be slaves, who are unsuccessful, who in turn foster a reciprocal resentment.

In this way the dogma of success polarises poor people and jeopardises the prospect for unity and meaningful discourse. On one hand, it is only intuitive to strive for the best opportunities one is afforded, and on the other there is only disillusionment and apathy. In any case the average person is really trying their best, and it would be wrong to fault the individual for systemic problems created by the ruling elite. 

In our Brave New World of normalised slavery and manufactured consent, the true meaning of success is irrelevant, not pragmatic or efficient, just another brick in the wall, an article of no consequence, a dust-covered tome preserved in a library someplace. So it goes.


Submitted: May 27, 2021

© Copyright 2021 olive tree. All rights reserved.

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Comments

moa rider

From year dot we have had to work to survive. Food gathering and making shelter was work and there was probably no free time. I think of my time managing a forest and a tree nursery, Olive Tree. I would take on workers who had been on the dole, and hadn't much schooling. We paid them not much more than the minimum, but I tried to instill pride in their work and a bit of discipline. Gave them a few skills and encouraged initiative. Few stayed with me for more than two years, but none returned to the dole and all went to a better paid job - a lot told me later they weren't any happier. I had the opportunity to look into the lives of the people in one corner of rural Africa. They all aspired to a life that they thought Amaericans have. Drought, famine and disease considered, they were far better in the life they had. Not many will agree with me I know. Usianguke

Thu, May 27th, 2021 9:37pm

Author
Reply

That’s diverse experience. I envy it and at the same time don’t think I’d have it in me. Who knows? Opportunities and circumstances are unique to each person who is bound to their respective time and place. Thanks for comment

Sat, May 29th, 2021 9:43pm

LE. Berry

When basic needs are met, is material gain beyond it a true measure of success? Thought provoking piece olive tree.

Thu, May 27th, 2021 10:38pm

Author
Reply

Much appreciated

Sat, May 29th, 2021 9:41pm

Ann Sepino

A very keen observation of how the world works, from both perspectives of the socioeconomic spectrum. Even in my developing country, there are many variations to the definition of success, mostly depending on which need was most and least met during a person's developmental stages. This is possibly one of the most interesting commentaries I've read in a while. :)

Sun, May 30th, 2021 1:49pm

Author
Reply

Thank you :)

Sun, May 30th, 2021 6:58pm

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