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On Our Leisure Hours
In this midst
We are in the midst of the information age. In this midst, the loss of stable employment is a fact; one with a global effect. New jobs are generated in the low-wage sectors and are - in general - temporary jobs. The increase in productivity associated with the introduction of technology supports the idea that the global economy can produce more by employing a continually lesser number of the existing workforce, "what we do during our working hours determines what we have".
This realization makes us say: “Wait! We need to work, don’t we? If stable employment doesn’t look promising, what does that mean for us? Will we keep jumping from job to job throughout our lives?” The idea of a society not based on work is so outlandish to any conception we have about one that we would be faced with having to rethink the very basis of it.
Yes, we - nowadays - understand work not as a means but as an end in itself. An end that turns out to be one of a political matter: work trains the masses, turning its members into machines, robots, slaves. The herd man/woman is subjected - among other practices - because of work. "With most animals, as with man, the alertness of the senses diminishes after years of work, after domestic habits and progress of culture."
Take someone that sits on a bench in - let’s say, Tompkins Square Park - contemplating leaves fall from a tree. After being recognized by a passerby, he justifies his “not working” by saying that he is there unwinding the stress from work. But not with the mere purpose of enjoyment! That would be understood - quite often - as a waste of time.
Dignified Ways of Life
Interesting how leisure and entertainment were positive values for ancient and medieval societies, who held contemplation, meditation and spiritual retreat as dignified ways of life, "what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are".
Reclaiming Work: Beyond the Wage-Based Society
© 2016 Aydasara Ortega