Malcolm’s Counterpoint


Another excellent blogpost over at workessence (, telling the story of Malcolm and his Workoid, inspired me to write this by way of counterpoint. I’ve given mine a Planet of the Apes-style denouement. Funnily enough, Charlton Heston’s character in the original movie has the surname Taylor…

Malcolm slid aside the glass door and stepped out onto the verandah that ran the length of his single-storey, wooden home overlooking the lake. Beyond the still, mist-shrouded waters he could see the towering peaks of the Torres del Paine national park silhouetted against the vivid blue sky over Patagonia with the CommWeb above it just visible in the lower atmosphere. A light winked on his handheld device. At a slight gesture, the screen came to life, displaying a message from the man his grandfather might have referred to as his “boss”. As was usual, this morning’s communique was congratulating him on a job well done and thanking him for his contribution to the success of the Collective. A deep sense of satisfaction welled inside him. Since The Awakening that resulted after The People had finally thrown off the shackles of the hated Taylorist machinery he was free to work how and when he chose and the CommWeb had made it possible to do so anywhere he wished.

Like a new dawn, the spread of social media and universal connectivity had shown The People that everyone truly could realize their full potential. Thinking, writing, and sharing had become accepted for and by all. A true human voice was ultimately heard ringing out across the ailing planet and the Great Ice Storm had forced a radical change. Governments and corporations had ceased to have any relevance and with power now resting with each individual, the democratization of work as a force for collective good had replaced the status quo. Communication and connectivity were now as much a part of the fabric of the world as it’s mending ecosystems.

With the CommWeb uplink enabled he was able to hear The Voice and make his contribution. Slipping on his headset, he walked down to water’s edge and let the cool water wash over his bare feet, effervescing almost. The dark days were behind them all now.

This freedom made it possible for him, for all of us, to work. He spoke a universal language that broke down barriers, removing the need for status. He was motivated purely by knowing that each and every contribution was valued. His health and well-being were of vital importance to the Collective and the regular unConferences allowed him to co-mingle in free-flowing interactions that were simply not possible under the old systems with their quaint Gormenghast-like protocols and hierarchies. Conflict and disagreement were still possible but, with everyone aware of the value they brought by their efforts and given everything they needed to succeed, there had been no reported instances since 2037.

Malcolm’s existence, living in harmony with the world made him happy. A contented smile spread across his countenance and his dog, Ford, nuzzled against his leg and he affectionately pressed its shaggy flank. Work was no longer something simply to be borne. He turned, and tripped on something buried in the shallow soil. He knelt and brushed aside the shale, revealing the corner of a rotting ping pong table.


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