Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beware of Work, or How to Become a Zen-Surrealist-Socialist (Polemic) by Alison Ross

"What workers need most is to rediscover play - collective, imaginative, liberating, non-competitive, and full of fun" (Penelope Rosemont, Toward a Politics of the Pleasure Principle, Surrealist Subversions)

So the Surrealist Subversions anti-work tirades have tapped into a primitive place in my psyche. And by primitive I don't mean crude and underdeveloped; I use the word primitive in its most elevated sense, to signify the "original mind," the one that has not been muddled by the toxic miasma of fear and ignorance.

And this original mind, which deploys as its oh-so-dastardly device the intuitive faculty, tells me that the surrealists are right in regard to their anti-work fervor. It's not so much that they stand completely contrary to work itself as they don't believe in the current feudalistic system which subjugates worker to boss, features profit as its primary (and perversely "benevolent") aim, and that enforces lock-step conformity while dissuading the prolific employment of our fertile imaginations.

REAL WORK would sublimate our narcissistic proclivities toward a more creative communal effort that would be woven into the tapestry of daily activities, mutating it into pardoxical "non-work work."

As it is, we dread our jobs, or are obsessed with them in order to imbue the hollow spaces in our souls with something meaningful. With REAL WORK, dread or obsession becomes extinct, and we can mindfully partake in our tasks at hand.

The equation for authentic happiness is creativity and compassion. Leisure is a part of both sides of the equation; creativity flows when the spirit is relaxed, and compassion comes more readily when we are not entangled in meaningless minutiae that encumbers us pyschologically.

We are miserable because we are stressed. We are stressed because we are overworked and forced to take jobs we dislike.
And we are overworked and forced to take jobs we dislike because we have allowed ourselves to be maniuplated by the malevolent mentality that WORK is what gives us purpose, and we must WORK to LIVE.

NO NO NO. It's not to say that some not jobs are not enjoyable, and of course in our current context we DO need to work to live... but firstly, ALL jobs should be enjoyable vocation-type jobs or it's pointless, and secondly, working for someone else's benefit is NO way to LIVE!

Work should ALWAYS be for OUR OWN benefit, and the benefit of the planet as a whole. As it is, the majority of us toil in jobs that pollute the planet, or that profit someone else at our own expense, and that are only superficially constructive. For most jobs, any "purpose" we place in our work is manufactured in order to justify having to devote such a large chunk of our lives to it..

Think about it. What do you enjoy most in life? Cooking? Reading? Writing poetry? Painting? Traveling? Seeing a movie or play? Listening to music? Creating music? Walking in the park? Biking? Swimming? Gazing at the stars? Drinking wine? Dining out? Gardening? Communing with your pets? Hanging with your friends or significant other? Helping others in need, like children or the elderly, or the poor or the disabled?

We are most happy when we are indulging such spiritually profitable activities.

Shouldn't it rationally follow, then, that we should have MORE time to dedicate to such activities?

Let's face it: We have permitted the purchasing of our souls by pernicious profiteers. They leech off of our labor, rendering us inert to fulfill any other function but the weary roles we have allowed them to carve out for us. They make us THINK we are leading lives luxuriant in significance and dignity, but the reality is, we are but a sliver of what we COULD be if left to our own anarchic devices. We are not autonomous, but automatons, programmed to do what others in positions of power want us to do.

Instead of working at some deadening dead-end job, we should all be out decorating the sidewalks, bouyantly embellishing the bridges and drab buildings with vibrant art, thumping in drum circles, tribal dancing, shouting poetry, climbing trees and swinging from vines. To be an adult is to be a responsible kid, not a rigid robot devoid of soulful whimsy.

How would we get things done, you ask, in this fantastical utopia of non-work? We'll communually educate our children, we'll grow our own gardens, we'll sew our own clothes, we'll make our own museums and concerts and plays and playgrounds. It'll be Zen-surrealist-socialism, and not only is it positively possible, it's already happening to varying degrees around the world.

Our hobbies should be what we spend the bulk of our day doing, and work should be something that we never have time to pursue, because we are too busy enjoying our pleasure-filled LIFE.

"Once free of wage-slavery, humankind will immediately redesign its labor so that it will not be work at all, but play. Today's society, unfortunately, has all but forgotten how to play; it has mechanized exercise, regimented leisure, and substituted miserabilist megasports spectacles for real play" (Penelope Rosemont, Toward a Politics of the Pleasure Principle, Surrealist Subversions)

"Either we collectively find out way out of this hall of mirrors, overacome our alienation and atomization, and create a non-repressive society in which each and every individual can be true to her/himself, or we continue pell-mell on the ignominious business-as-usual course of greedy self-deception, making throwaway commodities of ourselves, making life more and more miserable for everyone, and ultimately making the Earth itself unlivable." (Penelope Rosemont, Toward a Politics of the Pleasure Principle, Surrealist Subversions)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with this , but HOW can it be done? really.