Core Verbs

January 16, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Human occupations can be simplified to a small group of “core verbs” that define the activities that job undertakes. In law enforcement these verbs might be “preserve” and “punish” and in education one could select “nurture” or “inform.” All human activities have these core verbs- they drill down to the reason the behavior exists in the first place and explain why people are drawn to a life of service in the field. Ask people why they entered an occupation and these verbs will often dot their responses. Core verbs strike at the heart of what a job does and offer a perspective on what we perceive to be the major activities in a field and the reasons we are drawn to certain occupations.

Careers that we select are far more than providers of income; they are reflections of our interpretations of our identity.

Focus on these verbs further and we can narrow down further to a general verb to include all professions. What do all jobs do? Is there a reason why we have jobs in the first place? All occupations seek to “maintain” the way things are. With the recognition of popularity came a sense of power. For example, the speaker who observes an audience paying attention thinks, “Wow, they’re actually listening,” or the possessor of an item that others want thinking, “Hey, they want this thing that I have.” From this awareness comes a sense of power and an instantaneous awareness of the need to maintain.

With awareness of influence comes the instant need to maintain. We know power is fickle: easily gained and easily lost.

Each human being works to maintain a way of life. The preservation of the status quo is a common desire for all human beings and the corporations these humans create to muster power and maintain hegemony. Even the entrepreneur, a luminary of “disruptive thinking” seeks to maintain a personal status-quo of independence. Behavior that is different is power of potential, a kinetic force waiting to be unleashed. One can strive to maintain fresh thinking, working in a way to maintain change, a seemingly paradoxical state but one that occurs in many cases where common behavior differs from personal perspective.

All human actions are focused on maintaining the way things are. Law enforcement seeks to preserve an entities accepted “normal” state and punish those who aim to alter this normalcy. Likewise, a company seeks to preserve dominance and punish those who challenge domination. These are large examples, but narrow down to the individuals functioning inside this large entities and you will find individuals working with identical motivations. Even a worker employed to clean the bathrooms works to maintain employment by striking down challengers. We function in micro-economies of power which connect to larger economies with common goals of power maintenance.

In order to maintain the status-quo we function in formats that choose safety over innovation. Why would one behave in a way that could challenge dominance? Why would a rational entity do something that sacrificed power? This does not happen to groups that act carefully. In order to maintain our power we function with a single goal in mind: stay safe.

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