Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The disastrous effects of work on the human capacity of reflection

Marx knew it, the Transcendentalists knew it, and so did Ruskin and Morris. Work is BAD for the creative human mind. Mind you, I have nothing against work as such; I even really like mine. And I can´t imagine doing altogether without it, either. But I can´t help noticing the paralysing effect it has on my writing and, while I am at it, thinking as such.

Scary? Quite. I used to think it was only dull manual or office jobs that, after some time, turned people into dumb beasts, whose mind was unwilling to undertake the least effort to react adequately to an unexpected situation, and deprived them of their capacity of rational analysis. But this is something else. It isn´t about mental fatigue, but sheer lack of time; a busy schedule, social life, talk, and chiefly– because it takes more than a half of your waking hours, whether you like it or not – work!

The capacity to reflect on things and analyze events is severely impaired by the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I have always found the Transcendentalists somewhat on the ridiculous side, but they had a point. No need to go live in the woods, of course; that, as a matter of fact, might even prove counter-productive, seeing the disproportionate amount of time one would spend trying to survive... All I want to say is that there is nothing like the far niente to make you see life more clearly. See?

And the lack of sleep doesn´t help, either. When I don´t sleep well, I go through the day like a zombie, perceiving my surroundings through a fog of sleepiness; unfortunately my age-long inability to go to sleep before 2 a.m. unless I am totally exhausted fits ill with the ways of the Society, which I depend on for my living...

Au fond, is social tango dancing an anti-social activity?