In my work, I get to see the underbelly of our social order: the patterns of unhappiness and hardship which we suffer alone, but which are shared by others in epidemic proportions. These are the disorders of society which breed widespread personal unhappiness.
James Hillman, Jungian analyst, alludes to just such a societal disorder when he comments that one of the hardest things which he has to treat is his clients’ schedules. Hillman notes that their schedules are their defenses against change. Said another way, your personal organizer is your defense. Your to-do list is your personal tyrant. Your busyness is your soul’s captor. We haven’t the time to allow into our lives the changes that would be a salve to our souls.
Another expression of this societal disorder is a profoundly unhappy friend who regularly works 60 to 80 hour weeks. When asked why she doesn’t refuse to work such hours, she replies, “I can’t.” She’s is afraid of losing her job, although she is losing her soul. She notes her company’s informal motto is “excellence through anxiety.” I kid you not. It reminds me of another person who mentioned his company’s informal motto is “excellence through paranoia.” Read more »