Importance and Luxury -- Bias of Prestige in Work
Updated: Sep 15
Although some may see the values of importance and luxury as the same when thinking about jobs, we should take into consideration the fact that an important job isn't necessarily a luxurious one, and a luxurious one isn't necessarily more important than a less luxurious job. We should also consider the fact that, while the importance of a job can technically be measured objectively through its functionality, the luxury of a job is in fact subjective, not only to its time but to local culture.
Therefore, when searching or aiming for an occupation, one should prioritize what exactly they want in a job beyond its pay: to do important work, or to be appreciated by others, even if the occupation isn't as important.
The irony of it all is that the more basic a job is, the more important it is. In feudal times, for example, farmers were basically the backbone of both humanity's survival and its economy. What is a lord, after all, without his army of farmers? If all farmers were to stop working for long enough, people would starve, including those at the top. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, "An army marches on its stomach," and even though farming isn't a luxurious job, it used to be one of the most important jobs out there, and arguably still is today.
You as a farmer won't necessarily get a lot of praise from your surroundings, but at least you are able to provide food for them, and obviously, life is impossible without food. The same goes for any other job that is about a basic human need, such as water, shelter, security, and so on. And still, the irony in all of this is that at least today, such basic occupations will not be met with great pride—all due to the bias created by luxury, towards jobs that are considered much more desired.
Recently there was this international competition, the "Eurovision", a singing contest that strives to happen every year.
Singers beforehand compete for the representation of their countries, and upon getting this honor, constantly train for the annual occasion, not only by singing, but by dancing, choosing a specific attire, and so on. And all of this—for something that occurs once every year, and continues for two nights. For some reason, these two nights appear to be far more appreciated than the hard work of the more basic-oriented professions, which are responsible for making their nations be able to stand up on their two feet. It isn't to say that singing isn't a good profession—it is less important, functionally-wise, than the many, lower-paying jobs which serve as the backbone of every country.
How ironic it is, to be paid less for something that contributes more to society. A song, on the other hand, may contribute to the culture of a nation, and even to others abroad who listen to it, but we should remember that we live in an age of immense prosperity, content-wise; there are countless other songs which are just as fun to listen to, whether or not you will actually get to listen to them. Food and water on the other hand, are those which are truly responsible for our growth, our health, and our survival. Why then, should the celebrity be more valuable than the hard worker?
After thinking of all of this, I have begun to understand that the many forms of entertainment are not that functional to us, even if they help us pass the time, make our free time more enjoyable, and so on.
Actors, singers—all of the "giants" that we grew to hold dear to our hearts—are technically but entertainers; entertainers that, like in the reunion of the series "Friends", will get millions of dollars for a 20-30 minute-long episode, while those who we survive upon, are usually left ignored and far less appreciated. This is all because of the luxury bias; because we want to be appreciated, honored, and loved, more than we care to work in a less-paying job with far more contribution to the world, in terms of necessity.
That is at least how we currently see it, or at least some of us, in a world where it is more favored to get rich and famous, than it is to serve others and to one's country. This priority is embedded to us since childhood, where even there we are encouraged to think what we wish to be when we grow up, and according to that, we receive feedback from the world around us, which teaches us what is desired and what is not.
A kid may say that they want to "become a football player" when they grow up, but what are the odds of them saying they want to "become a factory worker", "become a farmer", or "became a technician", and so on? Is it that important, functionally-wise, to play football or basketball professionally, then it is to maintain the economy, provide food, and fixing essential electronic devices that allow people to work and learn?
And of course, there is philosophy; the one field that is left overlooked as there is a constant need to explain and convince people why is it still a relevant field, in a world conquered by science and research. Some may think that it is not that important, but when it comes to existential topics, such as the meaning of life, and what should we do with ourselves, and why should we continue living—philosophizing will seem to be a far more valuable field than one may initially think, as it potentially could save lives and give reason to an otherwise-absurd existence.
That's why I keep this website and hope to help others as well. In my early teens, I wanted to be an artist, but today I realize that, while art is very appreciated by some, it is ultimately merely a representation of beauty. It is something that already exists in movies, video games, and other electronic media. Even if one is to be great at painting, what is painting, after all, other than a way to make others astonished for a short time before they move on with their lives?
No offense has been intended to anyone who works in any of the jobs whose importance I have criticized. The criticism is more of an attempt to make people consider the value of essential jobs, rather than to shame or make others regret their life choices.
We are, after all, free to choose our jobs in accordance with our priorities in life, but that does not mean that certain jobs are not more important than others when it comes to contribution. I can say at least that the more essential your job is, even if you receive a lower wage, the more you technically contribute to your country—or even to the economy of the world. That is objectively more valuable than a reunion episode on TV, or scoring a goal in a professional sports game.