I’ve been interested in Buddhist and Hindu systems of thought for a long time because they say that consciousness goes beyond thought, and this has struck me as correct. Lately though I have connected this to the fact that I work by selling my thoughts. I’m a writer, and even before I was a writer I was going to school and thinking in part for instrumental ends. Maybe my attraction, and the attraction of others for mind-transcending systems comes from the experience of alienation of labor, which comes about from having a job where you sell your mental labor. Alienation means feeling like a stranger in a situation, and is related to feeling like a subject separated from a world of objects. If you sell your thoughts in a sense your own thoughts become strangers to you, because they serve a master other than yourself.
If that’s the case then the world of nirvana would be a fantasy projected by this situation of alienation. It would be a realm of negative freedom. However the real path out of this alienated situation for me and people like me would be to put thoughts back into a context of concrete action, emotion, imagination, and the body.
I wonder. And I also wonder whether simply selling something makes you alienated from it. It seems like if I write a poem and somebody trades their sheep to me for the poem then I’m not alienated.
What other conditions have to apply to labor for it to count as alienated?