Michael Carr shares his story with Bill Kirton

  “I am a human being!”
                                               --Michael Carr, FUSD Member
 
“All the ancient wisdom…tells us that work is necessary to us, as much a part of
our condition as mortality; that good work is our salvation and our joy….”
                                                             --Wendell Berry
 
The Whole Souul Economy Circle seeks to connect economics and soul, a challenging assignment. “Economics,” according to Webster, is “a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.” Soul is “a quality or dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart and personal substance.”(Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul). Apparently economics and the “economy” are without soul. Across America, millions are experiencing the soulless economy, having been downsized, deregulated, demoted, dehumanized and demoralized.
 
Ways to connect to the soul include people’s stories. The following is a brief rendition of Michael Carr’s “economy” experience. In a recent conversation, Michael, who has a college degree, shared his values and personal substance when he said that his primary interest in finding employment was “to work with others to make a company a better place, as well as to make a contribution to the larger society.” “Like a rock thrown into a lake, resulting in the ripple effect, what I do affects others. Small rocks can make a big difference.” And, for that gift, he seeks a modest financial exchange that would not only be a recognition of his humanity, but provide him with greater opportunity for participation in the larger world. 
 
Human beings want to be “seen,” but, in a recent job interview, Michael’s humanity was ignored. In economic terms, he was nothing more than a number on a spread-sheet, easily erased, or, as is the case with online applications, quickly moved to the “recycle bin.” “Online applications are insults,” Michael said. The interview lasted five minutes, then silence. A week later he received an email in which his name had been misspelled, and he was informed that another person had been hired who was “more qualified.” Michael discovered that the job had not been filled and that the message he received was a lie.
 
Michael’s soulful response: “What do I have to do to prove myself? Let me know how I can do better! There are no pathways for me to demonstrate who I really am. I have been walled off.” After experiences like this, defeat begins to rule one’s psyche (soul), and debilitating fear becomes “huge.”      
 
Michael described past work settings that left little room for the soul (depth, value, relatedness, heart and personal substance). In one job, he was not allowed to deviate from a strict obedience to the job description, even to assist fellow-workers. “I was put in a box, seen as a drone, as the only thing that mattered was the bottom line. It was disgusting!”
 
Being a film buff, he mentioned the Charlie Chaplin film, The Great Dictator, a satire about Hitler’s domination system and a Jewish barber from the ghetto. The following is a speech made by the barber, which seems very relevant for Carr in these times which threaten to debilitate us all. 
 
"You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!
 
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!"
 
Thank you Michael for sharing your story!