The Industrial Age gave us a lot of bad legacies, and a couple of the worst are:
2) Separation of Work and Play
We’ll deal with Work and Play in a later post.
Retirement. What a dumb idea. In 1889, Bismarck invented it to give German laborer’s hope that there was a carrot at the end of the stick. He set retirement at age 70 when the average life expectancy was 42.5, and for those who made it to 20, they could hope to live all the way to 60. In 1913 the U.S. institutionalized it at age 65, three years after the average age of death in the U.S. Hmmm… great – thanks.
This was actually only the natural evolution of an Age that asked us to give the best 8-12 hours of our day, the best six days of our week, and the best 40 years of our lives to do something that was many times not fulfilling and did not allow you to think, be creative, or express your humanity. But if you worked hard, you could enjoy what’s left of your day, your week, and your life – AFTER we got the best of what you had to offer.
The Industrial Age worker bought it hook line and sinker, and as a result we have a whole nation of people who dream about “retirement”, which implies at least two things:
1) Work is not fulfilling – it’s just a means to a future end a long way off.
2) Significance and fulfillment is something you get AFTER you’ve worked really hard for decades.