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  • Writer's picturecaedynwheeler

Hustle Culture vs Slow Living

Sniff sniff

Freedom? Nah, smells like bullshit.

Hustle Culture vs Slow Living

Hustle culture is pretty ingrained in our society, being a simplified modern lens of how to achieve the American dream. You achieve meaning through materialism + hard work. It’s particularly exemplified in these types of videos. In these hustle bubbles, the more time you spend working the better, and everything else you do is a means to that end.

Hustle culture's counterpart is the Slow Living Movement, which is proposed as a solution against the commodification of time under capitalism and consumerism. It calls for a deeper appreciation of sensory experiences, the ability to live in the moment and appreciate quality. Slow living can be observed in videos like these.

You can live in either of these bubbles having escaped the rat race, but escaping the rat race because of these bubbles is highly unlikely.

Why you can’t escape the rat race through Hustle Culture or Slow Living

Hustle Culture

So, the idea of “money buying freedom” perpetuated by Hustle Culture is ultimately true in a society fueled by money, but the advice given to get there is… inadequate. It claims that hard work is a 1:1 with money, which simply isn’t true. Hard work = Money is an already existing societal script of how to achieve success. It’s not actually pitching anything outside the box of how to game the system; it’s just participating more efficiently. The tools and goals it gives are insufficient.

If the objective is to literally work hard and get rich, that’s a terrible goal. A good goal can be broken down into actionable steps, and this one, ladies and gentlemen, is intangible.

Slow Living

I’ll admit that as a movement, I’m more fond of Slow Living, because if you’ll ultimately end up in the same place as the “hustlers,” why not enjoy your day-to-day?

The Slow Living Movement doesn’t pitch escaping via “gaming” the system, but rather “withdrawing” from it. Refusing to participate in the arbitrary constant productivity, 4 AM ritual of peak efficiency. Instead, appreciate the present, opt for quality over efficiency and quantity. In the Slow Movement, you strike a balance of trading time for money, with an emphasis on your non-working time. That sounds good, but how free are you if you’re one emergency away from being robbed by the system, having to change your quality of life, and trading more chunks of your time for money? You’re only free as long as nothing goes wrong, and then you are plopped back at the beginning because you don’t have the adequate tools (money) to not be a participant.

Achieving freedom through both tenets is possible - you work extremely hard to achieve financial freedom under Hustle Culture, or you slowly build a self-sustaining community to successfully withdraw from the race. But these are anomalies, and both require external tools to what is perpetuated by the movements.

Until you are financially free under capitalism, your time is a commodity, and striking a better balance won’t help you escape. Listen, I’m not saying you need to be free from the system to be content. There are plenty of people who don’t have that as a goal at all. That’s not what success means to them. Rather, these movements are pitching time trade-offs as freedom, and they’re not the same.


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