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Culture of Caffeine

A few years ago I read the section that follows from a book about the history of caffeine. It instantly was added to my quiver of knowledge of how culture defines us as individuals, often for reasons of convenience and advantage for a very few.

I liken it to the fact that organized schooling didn’t exist in this country until our industrialist-minded Founding Fathers and their cohorts realized they needed a docile, compliant work force to fuel their future factories. 

After a visit to Prussia, whose new industries were thriving, the Fathers exported their concept of compulsive schooling, regulated by bells and a strict timetable, attendance required by law. 

Enough years of bending the will and spirit to this kind of scheduling and a graduate of the public schools would be a willing participant in the factory culture, already conditioned to someone else’s arbitrary demands. 

Citizens didn’t take to this idea very kindly and put up a fight to preserve their rights as parents to choose their child’s method and timing of education. 

Where there is money to be made, however, it seems laws get pushed through, and eventually, municipality by municipality, truancy from your local neighborhood school became punishable by law.

Culture of Caffeine

Going to school has become one of the common denominators in our culture – everyone’s lives have been touched by it, and as of this generation, we collectively don’t remember anything different. 

Of course, there were those tenacious types who fought for the right to educate their children as they see fit, and more and more families home school and unschool their kids today in response to the less-than-desirable encounters their families have with compulsive schooling. 

Caffeine and the minute hand on the clock are major contributors in part to the 40-hour workweek being a common denominator in our culture. 

Knowing the origins of a system that doesn’t allow for individual difference, body clock and ability is a great argument in my mind for telecommuting, 4-day weekends, and flex-scheduling. 

Productivity and talent would soar if we gave ourselves permission to do the work we love in the manner and at the rate we do it best. 

Power to the tenacious.