Saturday, July 28, 2007

Balance and Functionality

I envision this blog to contain mostly creative works I'm working on, or poems I have finished. For lack of knowing where to start, I found some non-fiction writing, which I also enjoy, to post as my first original entry. I originally wrote this in my private journal. This is only an excerpt. The entry is dated November 17th, 2006.

I agree there is a lot to be said about "balance," like eastern texts relate. When someone diets, the key to food for every person is "moderation." There is a lot to be said for moderation. We are told that "money is the root of all evil" - but money, itself, is not called "evil." So there is a balance - a moderation - and there is an instance in which one can have too much. When people are addicted to things, like money, or drugs, or sex, the addiction, in the views of other people, "gets out of hand" when that person goes to that addiction "too often"; they are not practicing moderation. Wine, in moderation, is very good for you. Vitamins, in moderation, are very good for you. Vitamin B, a vitamin taken to improve mood and energy/metabolism, will cause irritability when too much is taken. Another thing that experience has taught me is the balance of "function." Everything on earth serves a function that constitutes a whole, or "the whole" of our existence. In a job-setting, like the grocery store business, people serve different functions to serve other people. The cashier functions in accounting for products a customer wishes to buy, as well as the money given, and also functions as an aide to the customer in general. The problem, then, is in deciding what essential functions to overlook, and discovering the primary functions of humanity. A disgruntled customer, for instance, might be angry when a cashier fails in his or her function to help the customer in some way, or if a customer service representative fails in their function to serve the customer. But is this person functioning in that role, functioning only in that role? No. While it is their job to function in that role, there is a larger function to which they belong. I function primarily as a human being. I cannot get away from or detach myself from that "function," as part of the cosmic web of humanity. The problem is that most people try to exist in a web of mechanical function, and forget how to connect with others within that cosmic web. If a customer was angry with me over a technical failure, or thought I was not doing the best in my ability to serve them, they could focus on my failing in that function, or we could discuss it as human beings. I apologize to the customer, and if we have the chance to talk, I may realize there is something in the customer's outside life that caused their anger towards me - they will often apologize for their anger if they also see this in themselves. We have thus communicated on a human level. I have worked with people that have, from the other side, given into the mechanical. Those who function only to convey rules, principles, shortcomings - the people everyone complains about as being "mean" is the employee or employer that believes he or she has only to fulfill that mechanical function, only answering the questions he or she must answer, and only doing as much as is necessary, and no more. There are balances that are necessary here, and not merely in the corporate world: one cannot expect someone to only serve a mechanical function, but they should not try to appeal to them human function in an effort to usurp that mechanical function, to "get away with something," so to speak. Also, the perfect worker is one who recognizes their human function, and tries to connect with everyone along that human web while fulfilling their mechanical function. Humanity needs to see the HUMAN, the BASIC, before demanding the mechanical.

On a side note, having re-read this old journal entry, I'm startled at how strongly a link there is here with the fate of Bartleby, the scrivener, in the short story of the same name. He is asked to serve only in his mechanical function, and there is strong suggestion that it is the ignorance of the humanity, or the human function, of Bartleby that causes such things as his isolation to drive him to nihilism, and death. Just a thought.

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