There’s misery in many forms – and happiness is found
in many things in many ways by you and I and more.
But let me speak awhile of woe that’s come from speeding up
and of the joy that once was here, when most were moving slow.
For Mammon wants us each to work and also spend our wages
at faster rates and more and more, expending all we've earned,
and then He wants the ant disposed before it ails and ages.
So each of us should swiftly then be buried or be burned…
For both in labor and in payments, humans serve their lords,
the ones that now we bow to, who are seated on their thrones.
So most of us are racing at our work and through our lives,
for he or she who doesn't, soon, in poverty, atones…
The more we work, the more it is that profits large are gathered.
The faster that we do it, the faster profits grow.
The more that we are spending, the more the stocks that rise.
And who can dare to posit, that all of these should slow?
But see, what all that speeding up has done to humans ‘round –
the illnesses of body, mind that also grow at speed,
the madness in the zones of peace, the madder zones of war –
and ask, “Is this what humans want or what they truly need?”
And those of conscience suffer most, while those with fewer qualms
can still survive and flourish. So our breeds are still evolving
to be of better service to our masters, as we race
upon the treadmills that, at speed, are always now revolving.
The artisans have gone their way; the workers took their places.
And then the robots came – and those, that slaved before, displaced…
The quieter joys of life and work are lost in all our races,
and so our satisfactions are, by paychecks, now replaced…
So who has time to be with children, teach them, tell them stories?
And who has time to taste their meals, to savor still their lives –
to slowly walk, to pause to see, to read of woes and glories,
to hold another in their arms and be as husbands, wives?
For humans always knew to race, when moving fast was needed –
in hunting or in fleeing, in the battles of the past.
But we also knew of slowing – and the need for it was heeded,
for there are things we cannot do, when we’re moving fast.
The work that’s fine, that’s focused, be it that of mind or hand,
the attention that is needed, when we’re learning what is new
or pausing from our schedules to attend to those in need,
were understood to be for all – and not for just a few.
There was a time when most of us were “primitive” indeed.
We then would hunt and gather – and were truly artists each.
Our lives had woes but also joys and flowed as rivulets.
We sang and danced and worked and did our children duly teach.
And no, it was no paradise, but yet we each were free
of masters who could make us work and rob us of our labor.
For we were truly humans then, in all our little clans.
The quiet joys of human lives, we then could truly savor.
No clock-alarms, no rushing then to work in soulless mills,
not even fields, by brigands owned, to whom we owed their share –
no landlords then to claim their rents, no trace of feudal ills,
no “paradise on earth” and yet – a life that we could bear.
For we had friendships then – and bonds. We cried at deaths, departures.
We laughed aloud and smiled a lot, we joked and had our fun.
No hospitals or nursing homes – and yet we did our best
to care for those who needed care – until the setting sun.
And those, who first then tilled the land, enjoyed awhile their grain,
and so could settle down and tend to elders and the sick.
But then there came the bandits who became their masters and
who put in place their feeding chains from populations thick.
So predators can feed off prey, when prey becomes abundant.
So just as men had “tamed” the beasts and set them then to toil,
so also men were tamed in turn, so others then could feed
on all the work that peasants did upon the yielding soil.
And then the cities, then the trades, the ships and factories –
and so the trek towards the towns, to work in dreary mills,
and then the start, towards the end of all that humans had
that can’t be bought. And so the starts of many present ills.
So having told this history, however poorly, I
would now beseech you to observe and question what you do.
For only when such attitudes are prevalent will we
return perhaps to slower lives – as meant for me and you.
For those conditioned by their times – this age of packaging
and those that came before – they rarely pause to question why.
But to survive and to “succeed”, they quickly learn to race,
and so their lives become a blur. They never see the lie.
And only when the lies that we are fed, from when we’re born,
are seen for what they are, will men and women start to stop
and question wars of arms and those that now are waged in “peace” –
in all the races that consume our lives, until we drop.