Money buys time
Buy your time! About the privilege of being able to change yourself and this world
Our civilization is well on the way to destroying its livelihood and the climate youth rightly wonders how entire generations could see it. One possible explanation: We didn't watch at all. We worked.
Anyone who is 100 percent employed has no time to do the right thing
If you don't have time, you will not replace a flight trip with a train ride, you will hardly have your own vegetable garden or print out posters that draw attention to the life-threatening situation in Moria. If you don't have time, you can only read “Basically good” on the beach, Carolin Emcke only touches on the newspaper and probably still doubts the power of our words. If you don't have time, you won't check products for origin, manufacture or ingredients, reflect your own deep-seated racism and sexism and certainly not ask whether life and our social structures could be different. When also?
Zurich is in constant stress. And that doesn't just start in the job. Bologna ensures that burnout symptoms already find their place in the course of study. So it is not surprising that the climate movement was initiated by schoolchildren and not by students. Education and work rob us of the time we need to use our privileges as Zurich residents. Living an enlightened life is a privilege that comes with peace, prosperity, and human rights. Unlike the majority of humanity, we are capable of acting. We can take responsibility. We can change something.
You can hardly blame anyone who doesn't have time. But only almost.
Employees in the city of Zurich earn an above-average amount compared to the rest of Switzerland. The average wage for a full-time position is 7,820 francs. Half of all Zurich residents earn more than that. Around a quarter even earn more than 10,000 francs. In other words: a lot of people in Zurich would be financially able to work less. They have other choices, but they don't choose.
Rather, sentences like: "In my job or in my position a six-hour day is simply not possible." But statements like this one again make it clear that lack of time and lack of clarity like to go hand in hand. Because we now know that shorter working weeks make you more productive. Smart workers * work less, but more concentrated and selective, says Morten Hansen, author of the book “Great at work” and professor at UC Berkeley.
And that is just one of many insights that we miss every day when we lead a life without time but with money.
Money is not the problem - our understanding of freedom is
Originally, this was supposed to be a "Why Money Sucks" article. But at some point I had to admit that money - like data or social media - is not the problem. How we deal with these things is the problem. And our understanding of freedom.
Like so much, our relationship with money is influenced by the way we grow up. The “working class child” has to achieve something - after all, the hard work of the previous generation should pay off and the gap between their own reality and MTV Cribs should be reduced. The “offspring of prosperity”, on the other hand, should avoid relegation and, in the best case, should go one better - after all, adult life started with a language stay in New Zealand and you want nothing less to offer your own children.
In order to escape the pull of money in time, both types have to complete the most difficult exercise of man as early as possible: Be honest with yourself. The type of “working-class child” has to find out what is really “worth wanting” from what it never had. The “prosperous sprout” type has to find out what is really “worth wanting” from what it has always had.
Because the crux with money is this: to a certain extent money allows us freedom and from a certain extent it leads to the exact opposite. With a lack of self-knowledge, money makes us slaves of our possibilities. Freedom doesn't mean being able to fulfill all of my wishes. Rather, freedom means seeing through my desires. Or to put it in the sense of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant: If one has not freely chosen wishes, how can one believe that one is free if one follows them?
The world is full of solutions, you just need time to find them
The math is simple: when you work less, you have less stress and more time to do things that make you happy. When you are more satisfied, you are not consuming to compensate for your dissatisfaction. And when you consume less, you need less money. In other words, you have to work less.
My tip to all young professionals: never get used to more money, always to less work. Set an income cap and convert every raise into time. And if you already inherit something, you should at least inherit it immediately and exchange this money for time. Call your parents. Now. And not only when the 1.5 degrees are exceeded - below that 1.5 degree goal one understands the goal of limiting the man-made global temperature increase due to the greenhouse effect to 1.5 degrees Celsius, calculated from the beginning of industrialization around 1850 to the year 2100.
If you work less, you can enlighten yourself, start to see through yourself and our world, find solutions and start with the utopia in your own everyday life. With more time, you can have more fulfilling relationships with yourself and others and become more independent - of status, money, and what others think of you. That sounds banal, but it has been scientifically proven. Financial success and achievement are much less critical to a good life than relationships. This was shown by a Harvard study with 754 participants and a duration of 75 years.
Your own example will prove to you that change is possible. And this experience will open your eyes to everything that can be changed in this world.
Not all can afford to change the world
Time will also help us be more forgiving. With all those who do not have the choice of working less or living more sustainably. We will learn to empathize with other social realities and hopefully understand why diesel is more important to some people than the climate.
We cannot expect this world to be saved by people who have to keep themselves afloat. Committed to prosperity. And if you live in Zurich, chance threw you on a cruise ship. We can do nothing for our comfortable situation. But we can decide whether and how we use this convenience. Buying your time at last would be the crucial first step.
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