There is nothing better than waking up from a good nights sleep rested and ready to face the world. Sleep is something all humans need to survive and thrive. Not only does good sleep improve your immune system, but it also makes you eat less, concentrate better and increase productivity in all of your life. Those sleep-deprived therefore suffer in all aspects as they can’t perform as effectively. So imagine if sleep were taxed, which to some extent it is. Those facing high sleep tax and unable to pay are afforded less rest despite it being something that all humans need to function effectively.
There are two binary points of view when it comes to life; Zero-Sum and Non-Zero-Sum. I touched upon them in my ‘Why is politics so divisive‘ post, but the more I dwell on them the more I realise that that is the actual answer. These opposing views show the differences between left & right political beliefs. Of course, it’d be naive to say that you can only have one perspective and that is your opinion for everything. That’s silly. But it does introduce the notion of tribalism very nicely.
As children, we are taught to share, against our initial instinctive response of “mine”. We have to learn about others’ having feelings, emotions etc that are similar to ourselves. We are taught to respect others, or at least pretend to function within society for the laws are there for a reason.
However, once we’ve learnt the basics of society and reach working age, we become taxed. No one in their right mind wants to be taxed. Just as children have to learn to share, adults have to learn to be taxed. Why? Because we live in a society. By agreeing to live within a society you agree to both the positive and negative aspects of it since this fulfils your needs. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Society has brought the human race forward to levels that we would never have been able to achieve alone. Because of society we have water on taps, each generation doesn’t have to build a home, fire from scratch and we have food easily available (there are of course exceptions). Humans are no longer pure hunter vs gatherers for we have evolved to complexities that allow billionaires to play astronauts for 10 minutes in space. The combination of the human mind put together is -wow- beyond individual fantasy. We grow and develop based on those who have come before us! This shared knowledge is what drives progress. These shared resources in all aspects are how we are no longer dying from dysentery or diarrhoea. Sharing is caring when it comes to knowledge.
To create a system of sharing that is beneficial to all, taxation occurred. However, recently due to populism and a global shift toward chaotic capitalism pushed by business leaders and following “The Sovereign Individual: The Coming Economic Revolution and How to Survive and Prosper in It” ideology, the taxation system has become, in the UK especially, one of the tiers. Those that can afford to, find loopholes to avoid paying tax. They have built fortresses so that they can sleep as much as they want, safe in the knowledge that the walls are high enough, the moats deep enough that no one can penetrate it to disturb their sleep. They thus have the luxury of being rested and performing at peak efficiency. Because they are sleep-rich, they can think and create a world in which they prosper.
They also know that it becomes harder for those who are sleep-deprived to be able to act rationally and behave in the most instinctive way all creatures are born with, self-interest and preservation. If everyone was able to function optimally, competition would increase which is problematic in a zero-sum-game world. With this perspective, since everything is binary (for me to win, you have to lose) capitalism is a mask to hide the true intention of monopoly and world domination. I don’t want you to be rested or sleep well because if it shows that you are better than me at anything, I lose out. Privilege is the end goal. I don’t want a fair society, I don’t even believe in meritocracy or equal rights. To steal from “Highlander”, there can only be one! Thus life is the continuation of ensuring privilege for your lineage. After all, passing on your genetics is the least we can do. It’s the meaning of life – to ensure our genes live on beyond our limited existence. Life is unfair and it’s shown continually throughout nature. The easiest way to do this is to limit those that can attain more, limit the basics necessities of life such as making people sleep-deprived.
Because of the evolution of society and globalisation, the Human Rights act was created. Here in the western society, I live in, you have to show that there is potential for everyone to achieve their desires. The beauty of capitalism is that it ingrains within society that any failings are down to the individual not being good enough. Yes, the system is rigged, but if you work hard, you can make it work for you and prosper. You are special enough to break through the barriers placed before you. I neither agree nor disagree with this. If we go back to the idea of sleep being the basis for success, to ensure my advantage; I need to get the whole population in such a state that a good nights sleep becomes impossible. Rest has to be interrupted so there is no room for reflection or growth. Unable to torture people in the traditional ways or have any unethical measures revealed, the next best approach is to attack the hearts and minds to bring bickering amongst the population.
As with toddlers who have to learn that the world is bigger than themselves, sleep-deprived individuals are unable to comprehend how the greater society works. In the search for that beautiful feeling of a restful sleep, we are naturally inclined to eliminate that which we believe doesn’t disturb us. As a toddler trusts its caregivers, adults are taught to trust the system. People are therefore reluctant to distrust those that taught them how or what it is to be an adult; the state. It makes us uncomfortable to think that we are wrong or that our parents are fundamentally wrong because of the bonds we share. That is the same with society. It provided me with education, healthcare and nationality. To question it is to question who I am. So why then as an adult, am I unable to sleep as well as I used to as a child?
It’s simple (ish). As an adult, your sleep is taxed. Not directly. It’s taxed indirectly by design. Those that govern, in the UK at the moment (2021), don’t want you to fully prosper. The more rest you get, the better you can function, think critically and realise that for the majority, things aren’t working. Everything is chaotic by decree. Where you might have had the opportunity to rebel, as a sleep-deprived pauper you can’t act beyond your basic needs. You have been fooled into submission and you are rightfully angry. Anger like all energy needs an outlet. Questioning the state is akin to questioning yourself and so blame comes in the form of the other. It is the other who is responsible for your lack of good night sleep. It can’t be your nation because it provided you with the parameters to read and write so the lack of resources available must be because of “them”. It’s always “Them” or “Others” for that is an easy target because, in reality, they don’t exist in your day to day life. Measures for austerity are blamed on the population, just as the reason for your worries are blamed on the other. Problems caused by others are more comforting than ones caused by you. Accepting responsibility would mean having to change yourself to get your needs and wants to be met…
And so for my final paragraph, I make the point. Sleep is needed by all. However, in the winner takes all stakes of life, the more you can limit someones ability to function, and pass the blame, the greater a chance you have to be the final victor! There can only be one! To get there you have to be clever so that the masses don’t have the understanding or when they do, can’t change the situation. When one is worried about food, shelter, their place in society or their health, there is no room to look beyond the immediate. Worry seeps into all aspects of life but most importantly it leads to anger and anxiety which disrupt sleep. Fear is one of the perils of being human, be it imagined or real, and will affect the quality of sleep. If you don’t sleep properly you can’t function to the best of your abilities. In such situations you give up critical thinking, trusting the tribe you belong to because you need them to survive, on the base level. You need the tribe for safety. You need to feel safe to sleep properly. The increase in NI contribution, decrease in Universal Credit, increase in the cost of living and decrease in available healthcare all point to an attack on the most basic of human needs. That of sleep. You can’t sleep because it’s better for those in power who want you to keep worrying. There can only be one!