We live in a culture now where any talk of not wanting to work is immediately understood as a desire to freeload on the work of others, an activity understood to be engaged in by the poor, not by the investment bankers. And clearly an end to work is not a program for a piece of legislation to be passed this year in Congress. But as a very-long-term vision for our society: is our ultimate ideal really to keep everyone spending a huge percentage of their time obeying bosses' orders to perform often useless and very often uninspiring tasks?
I read some excellent books at the beach this summer. Chris Hedges' new book is terrific, particularly if you enjoy despair and suicidal thoughts. In fairness, it is wonderfully reported and it does point toward solutions to the catastrophic apocalyptic trends it describes. But I found more enjoyable for sand-reading a rather stream-of-consciousness rant against work and those who exploit it called "Waking Up: Freeing Ourselves From Work: A Call to Envision Our Future Freedom Without Bosses. Only We Can Create the World We Want," by Pamela Satterwhite.
This brilliant book mixes history, philosophy, autobiography, poetry, anger, community, and love. It has plenty of quirks. The obsession with Nikola Tesla is a little weird. Barack Obama has somehow made it to the side of the angels in this book, based on nothing documented herein. And, while the book breaks down and opposes all sorts of divisions, it erects a major one between most of us good people and the predatory overclass that Satterwhite calls podrunks. Nonetheless, there is more careful thought, more pain, more joy, and more courage in this book than in any dozen I could take off the shelf.
I write this as a workaholic, but also as someone completely incapable of doing work I don't enjoy and believe in, and as someone horrified by imagining the rage that would consume me were I not privileged to do the work I do.