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  1. #51
    Senior Member Shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kangirl View Post
    I agree on your last point, Wolfy. I'm no Marxist but the devaluation of real craft/real hands-on skillz makes me a bit sad, too. I often find myself thinking it's all about context anyway. If nature decided to kick our collective ass tomorrow (disease, global-scale natural disaster etc.) we would find ourselves in a situation where people like me and those around me, who have some pieces of paper from higher educational institutions but NO skills when it comes to actually surviving/attending to basic needs - shelter etc. would find themselves on the lower rungs of 'worth' pretty damn quickly.

    It also amuses me sometimes to see people categorizing themselves as 'thinkers' or 'works-with-hands-ers'. Just as not every construction man is going to do a good job putting up your house, not everyone with a degree is going to be a *good* thinker.

    The arrogance of "I feel myself to be above x, y or z" group also strikes me. It just comes off, to me, as ill-thought-out and a little immature.

    I agree. Not everyone is able to do both physical and mental labour to the highest standards (I admire those who can!) Both types of work are essential for life, and progress doesn't only come from mental work (i.e. some ideas need people to construct and manufacture things so they can come to life).

    Personally I prefer mental work. I can work like that for weeks on end, without seeing anyone and only stopping for food, washing and the occasional internet to relax in the evening. I've done it. When it comes to physical labour, forget it. I helped some builders out once, and couldn't believe the effort needed. Exhausting. Other people get exhausted just thinking about mental labour and academia.

    I actually think this devaluation of physical labour is very obvious in the UK. Until the recession hit in recent months, everybody was encouraged to go to university, regardless of if you were academically able or not (you can get 3 Es at A-level and still go to uni.) University is expensive, and especially with the economy as it is now there are fewer jobs going for graduates. Most people who have graduated, no matter what their results, subject or their university, are looking for the admin and graduate jobs rather than skilled practical labour.
    Meanwhile, many British people are on job-seekers' allowance because they see physical labour as being beneath them. This attitude has been encouraged by scrupulous employers for a few years now; they've been taking on desperate immigrants and paying them minimum wage or lower for longer hours. Obviously this makes the British who were doing these jobs beforehand very upset that they're now competing for a lower wage than they had before, and automatically devalues this kind of work.
    I sense that things are going to change with the recession, as people appreciate productive work again (like manufacturing and trades) because it is what keeps an economy going, at the end of the day, not services jobs. Plus there are fewer services/graduate jobs going, so people need to re-evaluate their careers.

  2. #52
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    I stumbled across this forum whilst googling for other people in my position...

    I had to take a job in construction labouring as it was all I could get due to this economic crisis and the fact I emmigrated to Australia. I had been a self employed graphic dsigner back home and realised I needed to upskill to get a job in this field again over in Sydney, but with no money and bills to pay I had to take what I could get before taking on any training. I am physically fit, go to the gym most nights and only 32 but I find the labouring exhausting. After a 5am start and 10 hours on site, I find when I come home I am way too tired to even think about starting any creative projects to get my graphics career on track again! I have been a marketing manager too, and even although that was stressful, it wasn't nearly as bad as digging a 40m drainage trench all day through compacted road base then clay, only to have the foreman shout at you that you're not quick enough. Also I find the day mentally tiring as its difficult to find anybody on site who'll talk about anything else other than cars and engines....

    I've been at it 2 months, and I am dying to get my teeth sunk into a 10 week night class in CSS so I can have the skills here to get a graphics job again and get the hell off that construction site!

  3. #53
    Senior Member edel weiss's Avatar
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    The option of physical labour as a job was never really an option for me, it was always assumed that I'd be in an occupation that required mental labour. i'd definitely prefer mental labour, but I think that interspersed with physical labour would be really good and balanced. I've enjoyed whatever physical labour I have undertaken, but I can't imagine doing it on a daily basis.

  4. #54
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    I think it's safe to say that the huge variability in human body types can provide an hint on the fact that some of us are better off with mental work, some others are more tailored towards something active. I don't think that intelligence necessarily ties into this, because I know plently of smart people that are too energetic to sit at a desk for a long time.
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  5. #55
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    "But without the thinkers to invent the technology physical laborers use, they'd be sitting there twiddling their thumbs."

    At it's most reductivist form, you cannot think food from the ground.

  6. #56
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    There are many interesting points in the thread and worth expanding upon.

    @ Habba: Without designated physical laborers, you wouldn't have the luxury of being able to think (or at least act on) new ideas.

    @ Kangirl: Physical labor is generally less demanding of skill than mental labor in that almost anyone is able to do physical labor, even thinkers. If a thinker doesn't want to think, despite being good at it, they could probably still compete for a laborer's position against a person who is only good at physical labor, but the reverse isn't often the case.

    Shadow brings up another point: immigration. Any one person, ignorant or not, can come to your employer's doorstep, willing to work for less. How many "thinking" jobs does that affect?

    Quote Originally Posted by 79x View Post
    "But without the thinkers to invent the technology physical laborers use, they'd be sitting there twiddling their thumbs."

    At it's most reductivist form, you cannot think food from the ground.
    Not reductivist enough. People were initially foragers and did not use agriculture. Someone had to notice that planting seeds = food from ground, and I will classify that person as a thinker. (Also, proper irrigation, things like that, etc.)

    To put it bluntly:
    Physical Labor = Support of society
    Mental Labor = Expansion of society


    I prefer mental labor, personally, because it's extremely difficult for me to tire of it. I really don't like physical labor, because it feels like more "work" to me. I also have had experience doing a physically laborious job (night sky pyrotechnics,) and it could be extremely exhausting. Anyone was able to do the lower rung of work, but it definitely was all due to the thinkers who had to mentally set things up.
    Ti = 19 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Te = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ne = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fi = 15 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
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    Ni = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Se = 11[][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fe = 0

    -----------------
    Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why;
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand

  7. #57
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    I stated quite some time ago in this thread that I prefer physical labor to mental labor, with the assumption that the labor is an obligation put upon me by an external choice.

    For the same reasons, I should say that I prefer mental labor over physical labor when it comes to labor that I choose to carry out at my own leisure.

    There are exceptions though. Right now, my independent, unobliged mental labor has led me to feeling like I should take a rock pick to my cranium.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  8. #58
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I'd rather be told to do something with my body than with my mind.
    So... Can I tell you what to do with your body? :pornstar:

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

  9. #59
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    So... Can I tell you what to do with your body? :pornstar:
    "Rather" is hardly the same as "willingly".
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  10. #60
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    Not reductivist enough. People were initially foragers and did not use agriculture. Someone had to notice that planting seeds = food from ground, and I will classify that person as a thinker. (Also, proper irrigation, things like that, etc.)

    To put it bluntly:
    Physical Labor = Support of society
    Mental Labor = Expansion of society




    My point was that in a survival situation, the act of attaining food is a physical one. Sure, you can say that a person has to think in order to arrive at the conclusion that food can be grown from the ground, but that is not an example of specialised intellectual application.
    A better modern day example of extremities would be the university lecturer v the farmer; who could you live without?


    A good example of a structure working better without specialist mental application is here The Take (2004 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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