Friday, February 23, 2007

A calling

I've always thought people who had 'a calling' - a passionate need to pursue a particular vocation in life - were some of the luckiest people around. It seems quite rare in our society though: most people seem to spend their lives never knowing what they really want to do or be and a lot of them therefore find themselves engaged in full-time contracted work that they might not be suited to, enjoying very much or doing very well.

It's something we've been chatting about here recently, because the teens are quite often asked what they're going to do. The thing is that they all do all kinds of things already - some of it financially profitable, some of it potentially so and some of it just living. None of them are natural born ballerinas, world class champion chess masters, painters, sculptors, actors etc. In that respect they're with the majority, not the minority I think.

And yet the way we live seeks to push most adults into specific full-time jobs, and to reward and value them on this basis.

It's been in talking to the children and reading the closing chapters of Gatto that I've started to wonder how beneficial it actually is to have everyone in our society coerced into taking a full-time specialist role. It strikes me that unless a person received a calling to focus on doing one certain thing to excellence, their natural state is to be a self-sufficient, self-employed jack-of-all-trades multi-tasker. And what would be wrong with that? People who could turn their hands to anything that needed doing - to get by and get on sufficiently in the world - would these not be healthy, vital people to be esteemed and appreciated by everyone?

Of course it would be bad news for the big profiteers amongst us, because self-sufficiency does not make for good consumerism, and such people would be difficult to coerce and control by governments and laws, but rather than turning the clock back to the time when we had few or no specialists, how about letting those people who really passionately wanted to specialise do so, and allowing everyone else to just... live?

We wouldn't have to pay consultants thousands of pounds to do very little because the natural vocational specialists would be happy to be left alone to pursue their passion as long as their basic living costs were covered. And really, what other specialist work is worth doing, other than that which is spontaneously carried out to the point of excellence by someone who was born to do the job?

It's an idea for a way forward that might work, isn't it?

NB: About the BBC's reporting of that study, was I the only home educator raising an eyebrow that out of all these comments, they pulled out that one to highlight on the main news item?


Blogger Ruth said...

Great post Gill

Some of the comments made my blood boil. What a nation of sheep we have become. I had to stop reading them tbh.

7:27 pm, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Paula said...

Totally agree!

7:57 pm, February 24, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Yup, the dumbing-down process is pretty much complete now isn't it? :-(

My latest post demonstrates the extent to which they're not even pretending otherwise now.

1:02 pm, February 25, 2007  

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