the work ethic

work will make you behave

driven to this page while reading Pat‘s, the play ethic.

here’s more:

ch: work ethic

Play’s ultimate function for humankind is to maintain our adaptability, vigour and optimism in the face of an uncertain, risky and demanding world.75 However, we endure a political tendency in the developed countries that believes, by and large, that work is the most functional and useful mode of human existence.

Whatever Brown thinks ‘the work ethic’ might be, he is clear – and has been for a number of years – about its emotional and moral content. A comprehensive search through Brown’s various public performances over the last few years reveals that the phrase always appears within a highly charged, highly judgemental context.  (Brown pm talk 2001)

This is Brown acting in the very best of Puritan traditions. The first legislature to make idleness a ‘punishable crime’ was that of the state of Massachusetts in 1648, set up under the zealous Calvinism of early settlers like John Winthrop.3

luxury ness

the soul’s play day is the devil’s work day, said another, anonymous, eighteenth century reformer.

why can’t we say angels make work for idle hands?

The work ethic is a tough adversary because, as Max Weber said, it represents the ‘spirit of capitalism’.11

The work ethic is useful to the governing classes of early twenty-first-century market democracies because it has the time-honoured effect of imposing social order.

To ‘do nothing’ useful or good after a hard week’s alienation is permissible; to do nothing but do nothing useful or good is utterly impermissible

there is never nothing..

No one can deny that violence, substance abuse and low spirits are rife in areas of Britain that have been beached by the end of industrialism. But it’s my argument that those pathologies are partly generated by governmental ‘regimes’ which regard the possession of work – no matter how shoddy or meretricious – as the only proper measure of social status.

us creating adolescence, mid-life crisis… et al

How can we live in such a schizophrenic way – when we work we are essentially slaves, and in our leisure we are potentially gods?

the opposite of the work ethic is this: being ready and feeling capable. Renton doesn’t say it, but I’d suggest it’s what he really meant. ‘I choose something else. I choose play.

something else ness – bravery to change your mind

Work will make you behave

Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labour. – Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

If the essential foundation of character, as the classicists had it, is ‘Who needs me?’, then can our characters survive the reply of the new capitalism – not that much, not for too long, and only in these specific ways?

couldn’t get the life space to pursue his talent

how we value work indicates what we value about humanity. Sennett poses the question very beautifully in his chapter comparing Diderot and Adam Smith: do humans thrive by routine and order, or by flexibility and spontaneity?

When our non-work lives become more significant than our work lives, we become less tolerant of our office pathologies – the power games, the sharp practices, the empty values. The challenge this already presents to standard cultures of work is enormous. And perhaps we should start to accept, politically, that we need a newly conceived public realm (or commons) to support our aspirations to play well and expansively.43

commons perhaps via a people experiment

And this is where my interest in play moves beyond workplaces and organizations and into the realms of civil society – the hackers, down-loaders and Linux-heads who are slowly evolving their ‘open-source’ constitution through the rich games of their coding; the protestors who integrate carnival and pranksterism into their otherwise deadly serious manoeuvres; the refugees from the patriarchal workplace who want to ‘play’ a role in their community, or just ‘play’ with their children more

thurman ness


earn a living

rework ness

radical econ (d&c):

1:07 – D: best evidence for that – look at prisons… work is a reward.. because no one wants to do nothing..


– – – – – – –

and that’s just from the chapter on work ethic…

so much that we’re missing.

be\cause we think we have no choice.


sept 2014:

We have this factory model, and we think someone’s working if they show up in the morning and they’re not drunk, they don’t sleep at their desks, they leave at the right time. But that has so little to do with what you create. And we all know people who create a lot without fitting into those norms.  

Many of our workers were self-employed or freelance at some point in their careers, which helps them understand how to be self-directed,”

Matt Mullenweg



for the people, a job merely serves as a conduit for income, and consequently, the crisis is not an “employment crisis” but an “income crisis.”

“Unemployment is not a disease that needs to be cured by creating more employment. Unemployment is the cure. So we devised a better system.”

The solution to all of this is simple, really:

Pay people to create shared infrastructure


future of work


mar 2015 – Paris on David:

Stop fighting for bullshit jobs // Paris Marx: Propaganda [003]


David in amsterdam uni mar 2015-

no jobs graeber







end of meaningless work april 2015:

– – –

David’s 2013 phenomenon of bullshit jobs, embeded in – end of meaningless work april 2015:

Graeber argues that we failed to live up to this prediction, not because of a failure of automation, but because of the fear of the social effects that would occur when large numbers of people had large amounts of unstructured time.

fear of run a muck ness leading to actual run amok.. ness.. below

(again from David’s 2013 phenomenon of bullshit jobs this time embedded in utopia of rules book review):

huge swaths of people graeber





let’s do this first: free art\ists.. leisure/luxury ness toward the energy we crave/need.


Roland Paulsen