NEGATIVE - CRITIQUE - CRITIQUE OF WORK 315
WORK: DEFINITION AND HISTORY
DEFINITION OF WORK
Bob Black, the abolition of work, 1992, FringeWare Review, 01:25 Bob Black, PO Box 2159, Albany, NY 12220; http://www-personal.usyd.edu.au/~sfraser/cat/dwu/ // acs
I am not playing definitional games with anybody. When I say I want to abolish work, I mean just what I say, but I want to say what I mean by defining my terms in non-idiosyncratic ways. My minimum definition of work is forced labor, that is, compulsory production. Both elements are essential. Work is production enforced by economic or political means, by the carrot or the stick. (The carrot is just the stick by other means.) But not all creation is work. Work is never done for its own sake, it's done on account of some product or output that the worker (or, more often, somebody else) gets out of it. This is what work necessarily is. To define it is to despise it. But work is usually even worse than its definition decrees. The dynamic of domination intrinsic to work tends over time toward elaboration. In advanced work-riddled societies, including all industrial societies whether capitalist or "communist," work invariably acquires other attributes which accentuate its obnoxiousness.
THE INSTITUTION OF WORK IS A RECENT INVENTION, MOST OF HISTORY INVOLVED PRAISE OF LEISURE
Leisure Party, 1999; Beyond the Work Ethic http://freespace.virgin.net/sarah.peter.nelson/menu3a.html // acs
This obsession with work is a very recent phenomenon in our history, and dates from the post war period. In the past people worked because they had to not because they wanted to and the ideal was to be a gentleman of leisure, a word taken from the Middle English 'leisour' meaning freedom or opportunity. Aristotle believed the main purpose of life was the proper use of leisure by self-development through education, contemplation, philosophy, music and sport. In his Utopia Thomas More set aside several hours a day of leisure to be spent reading, playing games like chess, attending lectures, holding conversations and listening to music. Thackeray in the nineteenth century wrote of the "leisure, independence and high ideals" that propelled Britain to its cultural heights. Bertrand Russel wrote in The Conquest of Happiness "To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilisation".