161 // Avoiding The Rat-Race

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Grass-hoppers by their nature are typically solitary creatures, spending most of their time alone. Occasionally though they spontaneously begin to fly, on mass in One Direction™. It baffled humanity for centuries, and typically when we don’t understand something we assume a god did it. Interestingly, a god isn’t responsible*, and the explanation is very simple.

They’re avoiding canabilism.*

Although grass-hoppers are typically herbivore they get a sudden urge for protein, which they have in their bodies. So one day a grass-hopper, who we shall call David, decides to take a bit out of Silvia. She doesn’t like being eaten for some reason and flies off, with David in hot pursuit. They both pass by Shaun who is starting to have a craving for protein too, so he starts chasing David. This makes David speed up which in turn makes Silvia speed up and this pattern continues until there are 10s of millions of grass-hoppers all chasing after each other. All chasing the same thing – protein.

So there we have it they’re both simulteanously chasing something and running away from something at the same time, whilst doing something they wouldn’t normally do – eat each other.

In some western countries we have something called the ‘Rat Race’, which is very similar. It is where a bunch of rats people decide they suddenly want something they naturally wouldn’t. As we know humans want and need; shelter, food, oxygen and water. Then Bruce Willis* came along and introduced the Fifth Element; money.

Then in our wisdom some countries decided to let money dictate everything. Sounds great so far!

OK, so Imagine Dragons a group of people going to catch a plane, the first people to the gate get the choice of the best seats and the last pretty much get the worst seats and then theres a small group of people who are dead last and don’t even get on the plane at all.

The group checks in and they pretty much all know the score. They’re relaxed however, slowly walking the (seemingly) 2.7 miles to the gate. They’re happily chatting, but then they notice Silvia walking just a little faster, admittedly still with the group but slightly ahead. Dave wants what she’s about to get, so he ups his pace. Not wanting to miss out the group increase their pace too, so we are back to square one – except everyone is walking faster. Then we fast forward to a break away by Silvia – she sprints off! Not wanting to be outdone the group are in hot pursuit but they feel betrayed and its now every(wo)man for him/herself. The old people lose pace easily, the kids are pushed to the side (Who would bring a kid on a plane anyway?), people are jumping over furniture and pushing others out the way. Once polite conversation turns to anger or silence. They consume masses of Australian crop.

So we have the youngest fittest, most agressive and cut throat people in the best seats, then theres the people with slightly iffy morals behind them (they weren’t the fittest, fastest or most aggressive but they were happy to push other people out the way). Then in the worst seats you have the majority of people who arrive, sweaty, out of breath and with a new found distrust of everyone onboard. Then the ones who miss out are the ill, old and nice people who were pushed out the way, attacked or taken advantage of.

Now if that is not the best explanation of capitalism in a paragraph I don’t know what is.

OK, yes, we can try and charge different prices for seats or even explain how amazing the best seats are to the ones that missed out to inspire them to try harder, obviously. What we don’t seem to realise however is that we have complete control over how airlines check in passengers. We could have a system based on need, and we could also put on extra aeroplanes to cope with the demand.

It is simple. If the game produces terrible behaviour then change the game.

Today I had the sudden feeling of stepping back into this world. This environment where I have to sprint to get the Money, to fight off others, lie, eat a grass-hopper and take advantage where possible. The worst part is I don’t particularly want a seat on that particular plane. But it is the only one going.

I suppose I am back in this world now, I’ve started applying for jobs and the lying has already begun. Enthusiastically explaining how much I want a job I know that I don’t want, or being excited about certain industries I have no interest in. The worst part of all is that at the moment it is not enough, as I received two notices of rejection today. Their heart felt email explaining their regret, sorrow and appreciate in all of 1.5 lines of automated text meant a lot though.

I’m now in a race that I have no interest in winning, but I’m also acutely aware that if I don’t run I could easily be left behind. Oh and as for the swarming grass-hoppers? They destroy their environment, fight amongst themselves and ultimately die. At least we are so much cleverer than that.*

Paul Green

*In every sense of the word.

 *I should probably say that this is just one theory, and probably not the most ‘mainstream’ one, ok I think its actually been debunked but the whole analogy falls apart with it so lets just pretend I’m right.

*Don’t worry, I am not 100% sure he is entirely responsible for the obsession with money, but maybe 60%.

*Not sure where I am going with this.


Read more, its good for you.

160 // The Great Escape, Getting Away With It

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Guest Post by Nicole Sundays: Finally, Proof That Thinking is Bad for You


  1. asimuel

    Love this. So true and a great comparison. The older I get, the more I want to stay away from all of those racing to get in the same line, trying to get the same thing. Highly overrated.


  2. stainedclassmonarch

    The “reality” of “running” to go to places and do things you don’t even want has made us what we have become. Sure, capitalism is realistic and people will always have infinite needs, but we all could use the concept of coexistence and respect the idea that EVERY BLOODY THING is important, even the things we deem “pointless” very often. Sigh! We’ve reduced ourselves to rodents and insects, how can we brag about the fact we’re a gifted species, we just let our gifts rot.
    Tool rightfully sang right in two.
    (Please listen to that song, if you haven’t).

    Liked by 1 person

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