Life as a tool

The Argentinean animated short film “Employed Life” depicts a world where everyone is a tool man: at 7:15 in the morning, the alarm is masterpiece, and with a sigh, the protagonist gets up and starts the same day. The lights, mirrors, tables and chairs, coat racks in his house, the vehicles on commuting roads, the traffic lights, the gates of the office building, the elevators, are all undertaken and constructed by people—for example, Mr. Red Light and Mr. Green Light are hung on On the traffic light pole, when the red light is on, Mr. Red opens his coat to reveal his red clothes; when the light needs to be turned green, Mr. Green opens his coat.

The protagonist himself is also a tool: he is a floor mat, stepped on to rub off the dust from his shoes.

People around you, including yourself, may be instrumental people. Everyone is a part of the system of society, interlinked, orderly and stable, and maintain the operation of the entire system. Therefore, another translation of this short film may be more accurate-“Screw Life”.

The so-called tool man is originally a management concept, which means that the manager issues orders, and the managed objects passively accept the orders and are used as tools. As a tool, you only need to execute instructions without thinking or feeling, which brings about the materialization and alienation of people that Marx and subsequent Western Marxist scholars are concerned about.

In the contemporary context, the term tool person has a tendency to be generalized, and it can be applied to various scenarios:

“Social animal” tool man-“little transparency” in the workplace, the secrets for doing things are “good”, “received” and “understood”; housework tool man-an entrepreneur complained that his partner’s wife had not given it for more than 20 years He has washed his socks, that is to say, even if you are a strong woman, in the eyes of your spouse, you have to perform the duties of a housework tool; a successful learner-writes 2,000 poems every day, even when he is 5 years old, he flies on a plane and 8 years old. The various prodigies of the university are just instrumentalists of utilitarianism.

When young people call themselves “tool people” ridiculously, they use this to dispel the helpless and embarrassing situation they face, and express their desire to get rid of this situation. As the Douban “Tool Man Rehabilitation Center” team wrote: “Tool Man never wants to be bullied anymore! Tool Man is fed up with being used as a tool, but still can’t get out of it!”

This group has a vote to select the reason for becoming a tool person. More than 80% of the candidates chose the two items of “character (such as gentle personality, good old person)” and “communication (such as not rejecting, poor expression)”, 27% Of people chose the “environment (such as workplace PUA)” item.

How do people become tools? The Hungarian scholar Lukács believes that the continuous rationalization and mechanization of the labor process is the basis for the gradual elimination of human characteristics. Capital requires the maximization of profits, so the division of labor has become a rational arrangement; production is divided into many components by a whole, and human labor is divided into many partial labors accordingly.

Although the division of labor improves production efficiency, it also makes workers fall into the simplistic “intuitive” labor method. Everyone is just an insignificant screw on the assembly line and a meaningless part of the mechanical system.

Workers think they are creating self-worth, but the reality is that they are constantly exploiting their value through work, dissolving their subjectivity, confining themselves to cramped working spaces and becoming tools.

Animated short film “Hiring Life” stills

Animated short film “Hiring Life” stills

In 1986, Wang Shuo published the novel “Rubber Man”. In the article, he called “rubber people” professionals who lack enthusiasm for work, are low-efficiency, are made of rubber, are unwilling to accept new things and new concepts, and have an indifferent attitude towards criticism or praise from their boss.

Compared with rubber people, tool people are not dreamless, painless, and boring. They live in an era of material abundance and advanced information. They pay more attention to spiritual pursuits and the realization of self-worth. In their job requirements, salary is not the first, and whether the “three views” are consistent is the key factor.

As for whether they accept being used as a tool, it depends on how they understand the matter: in one case, they don’t care about the identity of the tool, but only care about whether they can do what they want in this company. For this reason, they don’t mind putting in effort or even sacrificing something, and being a tool man now is for the purpose of being a tool man in the future.

Another situation is that they mind being seen as a tool, but they are really unable to change the current situation, so they use “eating” as the reason to complete psychological self-consistent.

The tool people are not all “small and transparent”, the tool people are the ultimate, still radiant-this is the enlightenment given to us by the Japanese drama “The Character of Dispatcher”.

In 1986, Japan passed the “Labor Dispatch Law”, that is, companies can hire short-term contract employees called “dispatched members” at an hourly or monthly salary. Dispatch members to perform auxiliary tasks such as administrative assistants and project assistants. The company does not need to provide them with medical insurance, training and other benefits, and can even terminate cooperation at any time-there is no doubt that it is a tool person.

In “Character of Dispatcher 2”, the young dispatch member questioned: “Isn’t dispatch member worthy of creating value at work?” At this time, the dispatch member with strong aura and outstanding ability, namely the super tool renda former Haruko, appeared She told the younger generations that instead of talking about “work value, this invisible and elusive thing”, it is better to be responsible for yourself, get a day’s salary, and do this day’s work seriously.

As a result, we saw the familiar “counter-attack” story: Daqian Haruko always came forward at critical moments. In addition to helping to negotiate big business and cope with the company’s public relations crisis, she even saw the door with a chainsaw to rescue being sexually harassed. The younger generation who was bitten by the company leader after reporting.

There is an “Easter Egg” at the end of “Hiring Life”: The lampshade man in the film lifted his lampshade and threw it to the ground severely-this means a self-conscious awakening, no longer self-materialization, but Treat yourself as a person.

Preserving humanity is what separates us from tools.