Slaves by Day, Tyrants by Night

· October 5, 2018

Many of us are slaves by day, tyrants by night. We feel bad about our situation and want empathy, but we’re also the ones who perpetuate the system that creates these situations. There is low-cost food, low-cost flights, and these days we even have low-cost delivery services to bring us whatever we’d like at all hours. This might represent the worst manifestation of the saying “He who wants to work will work ’till the end”.

In this regard, we’re the doctors who exploit a medical system that lacks resources. We’re the ones who buy brands made in countries with precarious working conditions. As a society, at the end of the day, we anesthetize ourselves by endlessly consuming and spending our most valuable resource: our time. This anesthesia is necessary because, if we didn’t have it, we’d poison ourselves with our own discord.

“We’re slaves during the day, and tyrants at night. Although we complain about our situation, we reward the ones who impose it on us.”

Survival is an illusion

Time to take care of a family we never see, pay for a trip we don’t enjoy, or to buy a camera we don’t use. This time slips through our fingers like ice cold water. Little by little, it erodes your bones.


We’re slaves by day because we work under precarious conditions and earn just enough to survive. Survive, and maybe see a dream or two come true every once in a while. We’re tyrants because we feed into that same system. We call UberEats when we want food, knowing that they don’t treat their workers well. We do it because it’s cheap, because it’s fast, and because it makes us feel like we have more free time. The dream of more free time is what makes us slaves by day, tyrants by night.

We accept jobs that don’t pay very well. We feel like if we don’t do it, someone else will. Maybe they will even do it for less. Because there is always someone needier. It’s this attitude that allows for present survival but slowly eats away at our lives. We end up wasting away for hours behind a counter, looking at a screen, or driving a bus… Watching as car after car passes us by.

A sad woman on the floor who is a slave by day.

Modern habits are a black hole – we need a personal revolution

What we need is a revolution. Big or small, but a revolution that starts with us. We have to stop being slaves by day and tyrants by night. It’s time to speak out again poor working conditions. Resist the temptation of buying cheaper things. Remind ourselves that the person at the bottom of the food chain is the one who pays the price in the end.

Set aside the idea that eight work hours are the same as three or four if everything goes fast. Fast food, fast exercise, fast sleep. Why do we want things to be faster in a world that already travels at light speed? We want to work out less and we want everything to be delivered to our house. Why, in a world that is getting fatter by the day? How is it that we want so much technology if we just end up working more anyway? Why are sales so important if material things aren’t fulfilling anyway? Nothing compares to the sense of peace we feel when the sun comes out after days of rain.

This “fast” way of life is just an illusion that the system created to give us the idea that we have enough free time and enough resources. But we should ask ourselves, do we really? Even those of us who think we have a decent salary. If you didn’t have all of the cheap options, would it still be a living wage?

We work so much, but are we really earning our money in real time? Or is it fast time too? All of this fast stuff, without any transcendental weight, disappears with the first breeze. Then it’s just us, face-to-face with reality, naked, without any clothes to protect us from the cold. We look at ourselves in the mirror and we feel strange. We’re ourselves, but we’re absent. Far away from our bodies, from the people we love. They’re over in the living room, staring at a screen and gossiping about people they don’t know…

We have plenty of reasons to start a small revolution. We need a revolution that saves us from being slaves by day and tyrants by night.