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Charles S. Reinhart: The Face-maker . . . becomes the Village Idiot (1876)
"Hardly an ounce of mindfulness required."

Mindfulness has become a topic of popular conversation. People offer training to increase and improve one's mindfulness, and by all reports, that sector of the economy has been booming, this in spite of the contrary trend that most work remains at least ninety percent mindless effort, and growing. I see nobody—absolutely nobody—offering the mindlessness training so sorely needed in this post-industrial economy. The late nineteenth century industrial boom utterly depended upon the efforts of a few committed engineering types who dedicated themselves, their lives, to redesigning manufacturing from the sole purview of skilled artisans into steps so simple and fundamental that a well-behaved village idiot could excel in essentially any trade. The mindfulness necessary to produce virtually every consumer good plummeted between 1850 and 1920, such that mindlessness became the hottest commodity in the overheated job market. Millions of ignorant immigrants, some of your and my forebears among them, were welcomed to our shores and into jobs designed to make the average person stupid and the exceptional, insane. Each successive automation wave, up to and including computers and smart phones, left ever fewer jobs requiring mindfulness and ever more requiring an increasing proportion of Mindlessnessing. And here we are today.

It should not be the surprise it seems, then, for me to discover that even Authoring has become a victim to modernizing Mindlessnessing.
I feel shocked at the amount, the sheer volume, of absolute mindless effort assembling a manuscript involves. Much cutting and pasting, considerable organizing, and seemingly endless repetitive plodding steps produces a finished manuscript, much of this effort occurring after the creative writing's long finished, before even proofreading can commence. It's a genuine wonder that the average, or even the slightly subpar writer such as myself, can even drool coherently by the time the necessary clerical effort's completed, that this author can even still read, let alone consider content or improve with an edit, after subjecting myself to that grueling regimen. Where, oh where, do I find that Mindlessnessing training?

I received my Mindlessnessing training on the actual job, with little preparation, but then I suspect that most everyone ultimately does. What university or even trade school worth their reputation could offer an undergraduate degree in Mindlessnessing engagement, let alone a master's? Nobody enrolls in higher education to receive instruction in the lowlier forms of engagement, yet even earning an advanced degree seems to demand considerable Mindlessnessing from the aspirant. Even a brilliant dissertation remains at least ninety percent perspiration, with only the tiniest imaginable amount of inspiration and even less actual skill. There are good reasons every PhD seems so exceptionally mindless to the rest of us. Their very degree demanded no less than endless MIndlessnessing to earn, more than the rest of us will likely ever encounter. Their resulting careers demanding no less mindlessness, what with committee meetings and email queues, not to mention social media postings.

We learn the fine points of Mindlessnessing by monkey-see, monkey do methods, never by reading instructions, often by rumor. One adapts or one never completes. I suppose that some professionals rely upon secretaries or what The Muse calls Old Marys, to assemble the disparate pieces, but most of us have only ourselves to complete the effort. We scratch around in the darkness until some crude sort of process emerges, then we tether ourselves to that mast to ride out the resulting boring storm of Mindlessnessing until we're finished and wash up on shore surrounded by wreckage.

•Hit the plus sign in the Manuscript App to create a new blank entry,
•open the Source App and copy the essay title,
•paste the title into the appropriate field in the Manuscript App,
•go to Facebook and open up the history to the appropriate month and scroll to the specific entry, copy the introduction,
•return to the Manuscript App and designate the paragraph format: Introduction,
•paste the intro to match that paragraph style,
•enter a space and adjust the paragraph style to Body,
•return to the Source App and copy the body of the essay,
•return to the Manuscript App and paste the body to match the body paragraph style,
•delete extra paragraph spacings the Source App required,
•reformat the Buried Lede's paragraph style,
••Repeat ninety times and a roughly formatted manuscript results. This might take about five hours. Do not forget that drool bib because dribbling on the keyboard can cause unpredictable results, and every operation must work like clockwork or it all falls apart. No, you cannot listen to music while MIndlessnessing. No distractions! Focus! The life of the man of letters ain't a lick different than any other's.

Hardly an ounce of mindfulness required.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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