Sunday, December 30, 2012

Meditation on work

I was going to look at some scripture, but my memory of it was incorrect when I looked at the Bible.... and my good study Bible has grown legs... I'm sure scripture has lots to say about work and labor, google it.

Anyways, I was listening to a podcast about robotics and invention. Before that I listened to another podcast about maker sheds, sort of like shop club for adults. The common thread was that American manufacturing is changing as is American manufacturing jobs. The robot podcast provided an example of a robot that can do line work, if the line work is simple, like putting cupcakes in a box. You take the robot arms and show (provide motor memory) the little bot how to do your job for a few hours and the next day you collect your last paycheck. The little robot doesn't need health insurance, bathroom breaks, a union, nor any of those things to make humans happy and healthy.
Yes, there are many manufacturing tasks that have been taken over by robots already, but what about more tasks than now?
Then I thought about jobs my friends and colleagues pity and feel bad about, like maid service, janitorial work, and farm labor. What if in some near future there is no need for maids and janitors because they've been replaced with bots? What if thousands of migrant workers were replaced by bots or tractor parts that could pick the tenderest lettuce, or the ripest grapes. Think of the many labor issues in America for low paying jobs and imagine that those issues went away because the people have been replaced by technology.
I don't know about you but I find something unsettling in that thought. It's not that I want to subjugate people to low paying jobs but there is something in work that is good and eliminating a whole sector of work, bad. 
My first job was as a non-union cashier in a grocery story. I made a dime more than minimum wage to start. My mom, when she had to re-enter the work force got her foot in the door with low skill low paid work. Same thing for sis. Low paid work is not a good place to hang out, but it is a good first step. My first paid job, I'm glad I had it. I'm glad the manager took a chance on a 16 year old girl with no previous work experience. I learned a lot. I learned to challenge myself. I learned there are some really creepy men out there as well as cool couples who clog. I'm also glad I don't do it anymore for pay , yet the experience does come in handy for self check out.
Self-check out, back to the robots.  I like it. But sometimes I need a human and they won't let you buy NyQuil at the self-checkout w/o a human.
But as my history project showed, where we listed occupations that no longer exist, there is little point in hanging on to those occupations taken over by technology (horse buggies by cars; laundresses by diy washer dryers) or fashion or what have you. But whatever, we must have some work for the poor and the young so they can move towards that which hasn't been replaced by technology, yet.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Carol

It has been a while but I think the Penguin Classic's version of the Christmas Carol is one of the best audio versions of the book that made me sense G-d's transforming power. Why? I have no explanation.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Thankful for the grace of G-d and forgiveness

Not to go into too much detail, I serve on a jury, a long term sort of thing that goes for several months and I serve with several other citizens. The hardest part of this is staying awake and quiet when need be. The second hardest part is that it is like a part-time job you didn't ask for or apply, which is hard on your real job.
As I wrote the hard part is staying awake. The foreperson will chastise those nodding off or speaking out of turn. Many of those violators will acknowledge, maybe even apologize for their error, and make attempts to not make the same error. They do eventually fall back into the error and once again seek to not make the same mistake again, over and over. But then you have those who are brazen, who do not apologize and when they acknowledge their error they point out that others make the same mistake, which they seem to argue is justification for them to do what is natural, sleeping, even if a witness is just right there in front of them spilling their guts.
Isn't sin similar?
What me? In the wrong? No! Everyone else is doing it. Go ahead report me, I've got better things to do than sit here.
I thought of this and compared it to our sinful natures and our fellow humans who don't acknowledge that they too are sinners. How can you be thankful and wanting of grace (which we don't deserve) and appreciating Christ's death if you don't think you have sinned and think you're alright with G-d. Better yet, what god, because you got better things to do than worship.
Nobody's job is THAT important and if it were, you wouldn't be stuck on jury duty.