You Shouldn’t Need to Join the Dark Side to Tolerate Work

I heard Daft Punk is gonna sue…

Inventors are always trying to tackle problems even before they arrive. If you could see a given problem coming (or at least thought you could) wouldn’t you try to make some easy money out of it? That said, some money is easier made than others and some inventions are perhaps more intuitive looking than…what I have pictured above.

What is pictured above could be construed as many things but my favorite pick goes to Dark Helmet and his choice of headgear. In fact there are parts in Spaceballs where Dark Helmet actually cannot hear what is going on around him because his helmet is so dense and all-encompassing of his small head. The parallels here are easy to find.

In some ways though at least Spaceballs was honest about what would happen if someone tried to use such a device in their life. It would be far too heavy, often burdensome and making communication much more difficult, etc. It’s certainly not an imposing sort of architecture to put on ones head, at least both Spaceballs and Hochu Rayu both understand this.

For Hochu Rayu this device should be a way to mask the inefficiency of work:

helmfon’ is a tool created to help have full concentration at work. the helmet device gives users privacy and doesn’t allow background noise kill the productiveness.

Productivity is an overrated value in the first place (see here) but even when productivity is towards a goal that you really want to accomplish (and not just so you can pay the rent) people often use it as a way to identify themselves. Our identities become locked in a race to figure out just how productive can we be. Can’t we just fit a few more things into our day as long as we still have time? Mindsets like this do not allow us to revel in our victories throughout the day or to even enjoy rest, but instead instills us with a sense that there is always more to be done.

And of course trivially speaking, that’s true.

But just because I could work on my comic book in the same day that I play music, meditate and write an article for Abolish Work, doesn’t mean I should. If productivity is really a value to be held high then it should be held high strategically and thus balanced with slacking off and enjoying your day apart from your to-do list.

And I know how important a good to-do list is. I have one for most days and tend to reorganize it at least a handful of times per month so I keep everything together(ish). But I also recognize that sometimes 3 out of 5 on my to-do list isn’t such a bad average to live with and especially if I put the most important stuff first and only have leftovers.

Anyways, where was I:

‘helmfon’ is also a perfect way to economize the working space. 

instead of organizing the meeting room, where only one person can communicate by skype calls, cell calls, or VR sessions, ‘helmfon’ gives an opportunity to save office space. thanks to the helmet’s special sound absorption functions there is no need in organizing meeting rooms for online communication anymore. everyone can do his or her communication work by just wearing their ‘helmfon’. 

I’m certainly in favor of eliminating as many meeting rooms as possible but the helmet in general (and this purpose in particular) strikes me as something that attacks symptoms than root causes. While it’s nice that you wouldn’t have to hear the inane banter of co-workers around you and you wouldn’t have to move to go to a meeting…you’re still at work?

The important things about work that suck surely involve conversations you’d rather not hear and meetings you would rather not have to be in. But the first one is only partially solved (surely the boss could just order you to take the helmfon off if they wanted to speak more directly with you) and the second isn’t solved at all.

Fixing meetings means not having them at all or at the very least not having them in their present state where it’s mostly listening to your “betters” explain to you all of the things that are going on in the company. Things you either didn’t know about, don’t want to know about or really don’t want to know about (e.g. layoffs). And in any of these cases these are often going to be topics you have very little say in, at least if you’re one of the lowly employees.

There’s also the consideration of how this all applies to open office spaces, which I guess would make office spaces much less likely to kill work then I originally though. On the other hand, this invention would have to actually be adopted as a potential investment from companies or employees (and thus mediated by companies still). It remains to be seen whether this invention will become used at all, let alone popular enough for the hipsters and their open offices.

On the plus(?) side there are some customizable options for the helmet so you can look like Batman or…a Minon…or appropriate Native American culture?


You know what?

Lets go with the Dark Helmet look.

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