The misery of applications

Our world is now one full of applications. Not the computerised ones, although it’s full of those too. The form-that-you-need-to-fill ones.

Applications for jobs, for universities, for conferences, for loans, for house shares, for changing countries, for support, for licenses, for volunteering—not even free work is unconditionally accepted.

I find these applications exhausting. I have filled in thousands probably. Almost all of them unsuccessful. Commonly expected in the life of the 21st century human.

One of my goals in this life is to never have to fill another application again. I know it’s a mad ask. It’s another way of asking for unconditional acceptance. Unconditional acceptance is unconditional love. Imagine a world where all interactions are met with unconditional love. Even the adjective “utopian” seems like an understatement for such a world. Too unreal even as content of dreams.

Yet one of the few things I knew ever since I remember myself is that in my mind, I am free—everyone is, right? Since I (at least) think I am, what if I start thinking about this insane world where everybody is accepted without conditions? Well, what if I go even further and actualise a part of this world? What would happen then?

Last year I published a mentorship program on web programming. I said to the world, i.e. the world around me, which is essentially my friends, my ~400 twitter followers, and a couple of friendly forums of IRL communities I am part of: “I will help whoever responds to learn Python and Django. No questions asked. No money required, no CVs needed, no motivation letters—I believe you are motivated—and if you’re not, I don’t have to”.

The world wasn’t convinced. My plan was to persuade by showing—not just telling—that the way of no applications is so much better. Yet, it’s a year and a half later and people are still asking for applications! I was hoping to lead by example and be done with this constant misery of wondering if one makes the cut; if one is good enough; if one’s demonstration of submission is convincing.

It really is yet another master-slave dialectic. Some people’s meaning in life is given by upholding the gates of their sacred organisation only for the best to enter. I know the why: how else can we have the best doctors? Who would want to be operated by a doctor who hasn’t passed their exams?

In parallel universe where Walter Bishop from Fringe is real and Slavoj Žižek speaks using clear arguments, Walter would ask why are we so limited in our thinking and Slavoj would reply that what Walter calls limited thinking he calls ideology.

Who would want to be serviced by a pub waiter who can’t serve the perfect pint? Who would want to have their boiler fixed by a heating engineer who can’t devise a more efficient heat pump? Who would want their bins emptied by a bin worker who doesn’t naturally leave a scent of lavender in their trail?

Now let’s turn the question around: should people who fail to outcompete their peers not enjoy life?

Finally, let’s reach our verdict: extremely advanced technology has enabled extreme productivity, wealth, and comfort for everyone. Hierarchy and power imbalance has enabled some to be much more productive, wealthy, and comfortable than others—and this unfortunately happened and keeps happening in a zero-sum way.

We don’t have to perpetuate this uneven distribution. We can break free; it doesn’t need to be zero-sum. The only requirement for success is the lack of maximisation. The lack of one of the ultimate evils.