Jack Saturday

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Anti-Job, Pro-Freedom Quote Of The Week 63

In no sense are the wars and revolutions of modern times examples of what happens when civilized repression is removed. They are the outbursts of sadistic rage for which the civilization of repression must always provide. They are its price.

But technological civilization can no longer afford the price, for the same reason as Marcuse argues: it does not need to pay it. For the technology which makes these outbursts insanely destructive also makes the culture of repression unnecessary because in principle it abolishes the need for drudgery and labor. Yet technology is not permitted to abolish labor, because, of all things, hard work has become a virtue instead of the curse which it was always advertised to be by our remote ancestors.

"Our children should be prepared to bring their children up so they won't have to work as neurotic necessity. The necessity to work is a neurotic symptom. It is a crutch. It is an attempt to make oneself feel valuable even though there is no particular need for one's working." (Marcuse)

When technology is used, quite absurdly, to increase employment rather than get rid of it, work becomes busy-work, an artificial creation of every-more meaningless routines. An interminable production of things that are not so much luxuries for physical gratification as pretentious trash. Technology then works against Eros, and as a result labor is all the more alienated, and the necessity for violent outbursts increased.
Alan Watts,
Psychotherapy East And West


  • A great quote from Watts and a fascinating concept for a website. I've been trying to get out of the working world--and point out the absurd waste of my time (and everybody else's) that working your life away is--for a long time. But so many people accept working as an inevitable part of the fabric of their life. An overhang of Puritanism, definitely. Me, "I loafe and study a spear of summer grass"--or whatever Whitman says.


    By Blogger Bruce Hodder, at 10:28 PM  

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