It’s Sunday morning which affords me some time to put some thoughts together. The next couple of weeks are going to be a challenge to my patience and my overall well-being (not to sound melodramatic or anything). I just feel off when I’m unable to have some time to reflect or just be. It is one of my favorite activities. I hate the “go, go, go” attitude. I mean, what does it really accomplish? What does being so damned busy that you cannot see the world around you or appreciate the little things in it that add to one’s life? It’s like an endless chase that does nothing but motivate one to continue chasing something that really isn’t there. Really, it’s mind-numbing. There has to be something more to being here. I refuse to believe that we are here simply to stay busy and produce. I refuse to believe that we are nothing more than units of production.
Take, for example, the word business. It is defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as: 1. a person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade, 2.the practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce, 3. an affair or series of events, typically scandalous or discreditable one, 4. actions other than dialogue performed by actors, and 5. a scolding; harsh verbal criticism.
Then take the root of that word…busy. Busy is an adjective, defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as having a great deal to do, being occupied with or concentrating on a particular activity or object of attention, full of activity, excessively detailed or decorated; fussy, or engaged.
It hit me a little while back, the relationship between the two words busy and business. We probably hear those words in some context everyday, but especially for the word business, do we rarely consider where the word comes from. It comes from the word busy. After looking at the entry for business in the New Oxford American Dictionary, I’ve learned that in Old English the original sense of the word stood for anxiety. The sense has apparently changed, because I know that when I am engaged in business of some kind, there is a level of anxiety, or anxiousness, involved driving me to finish the business successfully. Depending on the level, or importance, of the business being conducted, the level of anxiety can be great or small. Even still, there is some anxiety, so the Old English sense, in my humble opinion, still applies. Then during the Middle Ages, the word came to mean “the state of being busy.” This was apparently used up until the 18th Century, but the word was then changed from business to busyness. That’s just kind of something to think about. Back to business…as it were…
We are given life. Where it comes from really isn’t important in this line of thought, but we are given life all the same. I cannot comprehend that in order for the gift of life to have value one must maintain a level of busyness…or business…the hell with it…one must stay busy. One is deemed as successful if he, or she, is busy. The level of success accorded to a particular individual is directly correlated to the level of busyness he, or she, maintains. Then there are arbitrary notions that one person’s busyness is worth more than another’s. Ditchdiggers or janitors do not receive as much compensation for their busyness as a computer programmer or an investment banker. They could maintain comparable levels of busyness, but that does not matter. The banker’s level of busyness is worth more to society than the janitor’s.
I’m not really sure where I am going with this, but it is something that I want to more deeply consider and think about. There are levels of inequality within this world that are built upon what I believe are faulty premises..staggering levels that we are all immune to simply because we are to busy, or wrapped up in our own busyness or business, to see or to care. With such, I firmly believe that we lose what it is that makes us distinctly human.