Shortly after birth, the world was a magical place. It was to be explored, examined, absorbed, learned about, romped in, lazed in. A truly joyous time of life spent outside examining nature and the world.
Then when I was young, from 4 1/2 to 16, I went to school (when I was young in Australia, schooling started at 4 1/2 rather than 5 years old). Being conditioned from 9am to 4pm to sit still, pay attention to repetitive and boring talks by an adult, to go obsessively over and over letters and numbers until they are perfect. Sitting in a hard seat, behind a wooden desk, learning to block out discomfort, learning to ignore the bright sun or wet weather outside.
Learning to take the ruler over the knuckles, the leather strap on the hand, the switch around the arse or legs, every time I did something which didn't fit the arbitrary rules of the classroom. Learning to become voluntarily autistic as I was forced to rote-memorize and absorb things that I would end up never using in real-life.
Then I left school and went out to work as a man.
Instead of spending 6 hours in a room, I am now forced to spend 8 hours (8am to 5pm less lunch break) plus whatever travel-time might be involved (uncompensated). That's the minimum - it might be as much as 12-16 hours, depending upon the work and how demanding it happens to be, either occasionally or continually. I might not get a lunch break, having to work 9 hours right through at my desk.
The days (or nights) might still only be 5 a week, yet they might also become as many as 7 a week. If on call I can be called out arbitrarily when an issue arises. I might be called out arbitrarily anyway. The number of weeks worked in a year rises to more than the number of weeks attending school. Two jobs may be required, the second one being taxed at a higher rate than the first, for the "privilege" of earning enough to keep myself going.
Sitting in a hard seat, behind a wooden desk, blocking out discomfort, ignoring the bright sun or wet weather outside. Shrinking inside whenever a task that I was assigned is deemed inadequate by the so-called managers who know less than I do, yet held arbitrary power over my work-life, capable of hiring or firing me if they deem that I am inadequate to fill out some nebulous role, paying me a pittance for the privilege of draining my personal energy and stunting my ongoing life and joy and creativity.
I then take my pittance home with me, clutched tightly in my fist. With that I must provide myself with food, clothing, and shelter. Anything left over, I am socially pressured to use in an attempt to lure a (predatory) wife into my life. Once a wife has been acquired, my leftover pittance goes to providing a better home, better clothing, better food, luxurious surroundings, "experiences", upgrades or replacements to each of these, plus raising children - to send to school in their turn.
Experiences that my pittance is expected to provide include travel and food and drink and entertainments and sightseeing. Getting to see the beauties of nature. Enjoying surroundings which are beautiful, natural, provide luxury, etc. Going to movies, stage shows, etc. This stretches my pittance - yet there is more. I must also accumulate, so that I can provide an exceptional two-to-four weeks a year of a more expensive experience.
So by performing arbitrary work for 48-50 weeks a year, I manage to accumulate enough money to expensively provide an experience for 2+ people. Sometimes this experience involves going out to "connect" with nature. Something which I have been arbitrarily, deliberately, and unilaterally disconnected from since 4 1/2 years old.
Should my work-performance be deemed inadequate, I must then find another place to work. This frantic search will likely be hindered by my wife, discontented that suddenly there is not even a pittance to provide the minimums of ease and luxury to which she has become accustomed. If another place of work is not found within a reasonable (short) time-period, my wife will likely leave.
Alternatively, even though my work should continue at a good rate, my wife can suddenly become discontented for no real reason. Many accusations and aggravations will be thrown in my direction, often including threatened and even actual physical harm - which I cannot prevent nor retaliate against. Eventually my wife will likely leave. (Note that this is also likely to cause work-performance issues.)
Either form of leaving includes: taking the children with her, taking at least half of what my pittance has managed to accumulate, and forcing me to attend a "hall of justice". In this hall of justice I am castigated repeatedly and then forced upon threat of incarceration to provide a certain minimum amount of money in the form of "upkeep" for my children and my former wife.
The hall of justice may even arbitrarily hand over the house to my former wife (far more than half of what my pittance has accumulated). If the house is not yet paid for, I will also be forced to continue the ongoing payments for the house (remember the threat of incarceration). Even though I am not living in said house, I must provide it for my former wife and our children - plus more of my pittance for things required for schooling of our children - and then must manage to provide accommodation and food and clothing for myself.
Assuming that my wife does not become discontented, eventually our children will leave the home. The house may or may not become "downsized". Probably not, since the space will be required for when our children bring their children over to visit/stay for a time. So we are forced to maintain a space which is far larger than what we really need to live in.
My pittance must accumulate even more. Because soon, I will be deemed "too old" for my work to have any real value. At this point my accumulated pittance must keep my wife and myself alive for another 2-3 decades. If my accumulated pittance is insufficient then I must find other, less-fulfilling work to bring in another pittance, ongoing until the moment of my death.
Even if my accumulated pittance is sufficient then I might find myself restless without "meaningful" work to do - no surprise after 60+ years of conditioning. I might voluntarily do work, often make-work, perhaps something that the younger generations still require for a time yet no longer have the skill to manage. I might attempt to reconnect to nature in the form of gardening - after 60+ years of being disconnected from it. I might still be expected to provide expensive experiences.
All this, a lifetime of effort, of (in)voluntary slavery to others, for the "reward" of being put aside as now being worthless, being looked upon condescendingly by the younger generation. A younger generation who sneer at me as being irrelevant, my accumulated knowledge and wisdom ignored, as they walk lockstep into the same restricted life that I have (in)voluntarily lived.
Mephistophilis to Faust: Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.