The most basic freedom is the freedom to quit

i-quit

Bernie deKoven points to this fascinating article by Peter Gray that examines quitting. Here’s an excerpt:

We like to think of human rights in affirmative terms, so we speak most often of our rights to move toward what we want:  our rights to vote, assemble freely, speak freely, and choose our own paths to happiness. My contention here, however, is that the most basic right—the right that makes all other rights possible—is the right to quit.

He looks at our freedom to quit i.e. work and relationships and show how important that is.

Gray points to hunter-gatherer societies as the origin of our freedom to quit:

As anthropologists have repeatedly pointed out, band hunter-gatherers are highly mobile.  Not only does the whole band move regularly from place to place, to follow he available game and edible vegetation, but individuals and families also move from band to band.

Because hunter-gatherers don’t own land and don’t own more personal property than they can easily carry, and because they all have friends and relatives in other bands, they are always free to move.

People who feel oppressed in their current band, and who find no intra-band route to overcome that oppression, can, at a moment’s notice, pick up their things and move out, either to join another band or to start their own band with a group of friends.

Fascinating stuff that has applications in all aspects of life – especially at work. As I’ve often pointed out, many people stay way too long in jobs they don’t like. Here are some examples:

 

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