The Inherent Ambition
This book has been an attempt to look anew at the most basic premises underlying how we work in our culture. It has suggested that when we work, much of the time we are being driven by factors we are not conscious of. The goal has been to learn true mobility, to work consciously, and to be free human beings while working. This last chapter is a discussion of desire—the force that fuels all work. Desire is the most personal, most important, and yet most difficult factor to put our fingers on. It is the very heart of our quest.
In the Beginning, There is Desire
What is the impulse that moves us to purposeful action? What is it that motivates or drives our work? We tend to give more thought to how well we are working, what we are accomplishing, or how to get better results. Seldom do we reflect on what is the generating force behind our work itself—what fuels our movement toward our work goals.
Some might think this question is too obvious to be worth asking. Others might think it is too deep to address here. Perhaps it is both. In either case, it is not an easy topic, but I know of no other that is more important. I believe that desire is at the heart of the matter of work, and perhaps of all things human. It is often said that “where there is a will, there is a way.” But we spend most of our time trying to understand “the way” and very little time trying to understand the source of “the will.”
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I give free rein to this long-quieted voice within me. It grows even more bold. I will not censor it. It speaks to me, and to you, if you care to eavesdrop.
Workers of the world, the chains that bind you are not held in place by a ruling class, a “superior” race, by society, the state, or a leader. They are held in place by none other than yourself. Those who seek to exploit are not themselves free, for they place no value in freedom. Who is it that really employs you and commands you to pick up your daily load? And who is it that you allow to pass judgment on the adequacy of your toil? Who have you empowered to dangle the carrot before you and threaten with disapproval? Who, when you wake each morning, sends you off to what you call your work?
Is there an “I want to” behind all your “I have to,” or have you been so long forgotten to yourself that “I want” exists only as an idea in your head? If you have disconnected from your soul’s desire and are drowning in an ocean of “have to,” then rise up and overthrow your master. Begin the journey toward emancipation. Work only in such a way that you are truly self-employed.”