Noah denkt™  -
    Project for Philosophical Evaluations of the Economy
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The fiction of being busy
Dialog with the Alter Ego about the need for educational reform, first drafted on Feb. 26, published on March 3,
2010
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Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): What does the title of this dialog refer to?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): It tries to capture our perception that there are not only ever fewer people out
there who have a real job but that among them there are also less and less people who are truly busy in their job.

AE: I can see that your first assertion might be correct. But you must be joking when you claim that people who
aren’t busy anymore. Just think about the waiters that (at least in Mexico) have to jog from table to table in order
to satisfy their clients appropriately. Or think about the nurses and the doctors who (at least in Germany) have to
manage a ridiculously high number of patients on a daily basis. And finally think about people in the limelight such
as politicians, company executives etc. that have to meet so many demands that they cannot even afford to have
a private life any more. Isn’t it in the face of this evidence way off to maintain that people aren’t busy any more?
Nd: Surely, some people still are very busy (factory workers, for instance.) But the busyness of others such as
politicians and company executives doesn’t necessarily respond to an actual need that is out there but much
rather does it have to do with a neurotic hypertension that is prevalent in the system itself.

AE: What do you have in mind when talk about a neurotic hypertension in the system? Nd: Well, there is first a
neurotic stress that stems from the individual’s need to pretend to himself and to others that he is “really busy”.
After all, too many people feel that they need to put on a show of busyness in order to secure their present
employment and to keep their self-esteem up. Then there is also a pretty ridiculous social stress that is created
by the fact that too many people perceive themselves as being chiefs rather than as being Indians. In other
words, there are too many people that want to be recognized as important, and so workers tend to have their
hands full with distributing recognition just for recognition’s sake. And finally, there is also a huge amount of
dysfunctional management in organizations that creates an unproductive stress on its own. Just think about the
overly bureaucratic healthcare system in Germany, or the hypocritical insanity that drives the financial industry
these days (
witness the self-destructive management of the Greek bonds).

AE: A lot of what you are saying here comes with the idea democracy. After all, it’s democracy that wants people
to be recognized as equals. So it is in nature of the matter itself that the workplace is full of chiefs rather than
Indians.
Nd: It is true that democracy requires more recognition work than other systems. What’s also true though is that
the amount of recognition work that is expected in our days has more to do with a lack of innovation in the market
place than with the legitimate expectation to treat people as equals.

AE: Why do you say that?
Nd: Because all this fiction of busyness is ultimately driven by fear, - fear of losing ones job, fear from falling form
grace, fear of losing electoral or economic support etc… . And fear has nothing to do with the proud idea of
freedom and self-determination which is at the core of democracy.

AE: It isn’t though as if fear as such were unreasonable. After all, it can be quite helpful at times to pay attention
to one’s uncertainties?
Nd: Correct. Still, it’s unreasonable to institutionalize fear in the way the fiction of busyness is trying to do this.

AE: So what’s the way out of this?
Nd: The way out of this is, first and foremost, to embrace
our philosophy of capitalistic existentialism and create
more innovation. That in turn will lead to more jobs. And that will ultimately take a good chunk of the fake
busyness out of the system.

AE: And embracing your philosophy of capitalistic existentialism will miraculously do all that?
Nd: It will do all the heavy lifting that is required here. Obviously, one could complement our philosophy with an
educational reform that roughly follows the lines of what ex-Yale and Stanford-Professor Roger Schank is
proposing. But the main issue here is to provide personal evidence that a surprising and even miraculous social
success is possible, if the precepts of reason and capitalism are being followed in an honest (i.e. existential)
manner. Because that will provide the core inspiration for others and that will take us a sizeable step closer to
sanity.

AE: Let’s hope that you are right?
Nd: Just wait and see.
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Keywords:

hypertension in the workplace, pretending to be busy, workplace stress, dysfunctional
management
, hypocrisy in the workplace, insanity in the workplace, self-esteem in
the workplace
, chaotic workplace, overwhelmed by work,  managing work expectations