Oct 05 2015
Will we look back and see that maximizing productivity is one of the biggest lies in human history?
In crop management, we spray all these chemicals (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides) on plants in order to make them yield more of whatever they grow. We aim to make them more productive. And what has happened? The plants are yielding more but what else? Wide-ranging side effects including the decimation of bee populations (which are needed, among other reasons, to pollinate all the plants from which we get our food). The pursuit of something nice is causing something awful.
In our lives, we seek tips and tricks on becoming more productive – how to finish more tasks, plow through more email, manage more projects. We marvel at the people in our organizations who get so much done. But what is it costing us?
There is a spirit of compulsion in our generation. We border on the worship of work – devoting more time and more energy to its pursuit than almost anything else. We neglect health in almost every other area of our life while we feed this beast called Work. We’re so busy that we can’t hear the whispering voice of our God who sings, “It isn’t your work… ‘It is YOU I have loved all these years.'” (Water Liars – Let It Breathe)
We must grow crops and we must work. And we should do so intelligently. Productivity isn’t evil. But it’s maximization – squeezing everything we can out of our lives for more accomplishment – will destroy us like it destroys our environment.
Things must change, brothers and sisters. Jesus once said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36)
We’re eroding the health of our souls for a mere pittance – not even the whole world – but peer admiration, a few extra bucks, and a marginally bigger office. And through it all, our soul is dulled as we obtain even duller rewards.
The bees are showing us what happens when productivity is chased after unthinkingly. Certainly we see enough damage in our own lives to slow down. But if we will refuse, we should pay special attention to the continued erosion of ourselves, our lives, and our country. Speed kills.