This is to demean play. The point is that the consequences, if any, are gratuitous. Playing and giving are closely related, they are the behavioral and transactional facets best of the same impulse, the play-instinct. They share an aristocratic disdain for results. The player gets something out of playing; that's why he plays. But the core reward is the experience of the activity itself (whatever it is). Some otherwise attentive students of play, like johan huizinga ( Homo ludens define it as game-playing or following rules. I respect huizinga's erudition but emphatically reject his constraints. There are many good games (chess, baseball, monopoly, bridge) which are rule-governed but there is much more to play than game-playing.
It is reviews something historically original and horrible. It was beyond the capacities of such demonic dictators of yore as Nero and Genghis Khan and ivan the terrible. For all their bad intentions they just didn't have the machinery to control their subjects as thoroughly as modern despots. Discipline is the distinctively diabolical modern mode of control, it is an innovative intrusion which must be interdicted at the earliest opportunity. Such is "work." Play is just the opposite. Play is always voluntary. What might otherwise be play is work if it's forced. Bernie de koven has defined play as the "suspension of consequences." This is unacceptable if it implies that play is inconsequential. The point is not that play is without consequences.
But modern work has worse implications. People don't just work, they have "jobs." One person does one productive task all the time on an or-else basis. Even if the task has a quantum of intrinsic interest (as increasingly many jobs don't) the monotony of its obligatory exclusivity drains its ludic potential. A "job" that might engage the energies of some people, for a reasonably limited time, for the fun of it, is just a burden on those who have to do it for forty hours a week with no say in how it should be done. This is the real world of work: a world of bureaucratic blundering, of sexual harassment and discrimination, of bonehead bosses exploiting and scapegoating their subordinates who - by any rational-technical criteria - should be calling the shots. But capitalism in the real world subordinates the rational maximization of productivity and profit to the exigencies of organizational control. The degradation which most workers experience on the job is the sum of assorted indignities which can be denominated as "discipline." foucault has complexified this phenomenon but it is simple enough. Discipline consists of the totality of totalitarian controls at the workplace - surveillance, rotework, imposed work tempos, production"s, punching -in and -out, etc. Discipline is what the factory and the office and the store share with the prison and the school and the mental hospital.
My first, day
To define it is to despise. 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 of "Communist work invariably acquires other attributes which accentuate its obnoxiousness. Usually - and this is even more true in "Communist" than capitalist countries, where the player state is almost the only employer and everyone is an employee - work is employment,. E., wage-labor, which means selling yourself on the installment plan.
Thus 95 of Americans who work, work for somebody (or some thing ) else. In the ussr or Cuba or Yugoslavia or any other alternative model which might be adduced, the corresponding figure approaches 100. Only the embattled Third World peasant bastions - mexico, india, brazil, turkey - temporarily shelter significant concentrations of agriculturists who perpetuate the traditional arrangement of most laborers in the last several millenia, the payment of taxes ( ransom) to the state or rent to parasitic. Even this raw deal is beginning to look good. All industrial (and office) workers are employees and under the sort of surveillance which ensures servility.
To be ludic is not to be quaaludic. As much as I treasure the pleasure of torpor, it's never more rewarding than when it punctuates other pleasures and pastimes. Nor am I promoting the managed time-disciplined safety-valve called "leisure far from. Leisure is nonwork for the sake of work. Leisure is the time spent recovering from work and in the frenzied but hopeless attempt to forget about work. Many people return from vacation so beat that they look forward to returning to work so they can rest.
The main difference between work and leisure is that work at least you get paid for your alienation and enervation. 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. This is what work necessarily.
First, day of Class
Just as clearly, none of them have any objection to power as such and all of them want to keep us working. You may be wondering if I'm joking or serious. I'm joking and serious. To be ludic is not to be ludicrous. Play doesn't have to be frivolous, although frivolity isn't gpa triviality: very often we ought to take frivolity seriously. I'd like life to be a game - but good a game with high stakes. I want to play for keeps. The alternative to work isn't just idleness.
They'll gladly talk about anything but work itself. These experts who offer to do our thinking for us rarely share their conclusions about work, for all its saliency in the lives of all. Among themselves they quibble over the details. Unions and management agree that we ought to sell the time of our lives in exchange for survival, although they haggle over the price. Marxists think we should be bossed into by bureaucrats. Libertarians think we should be bossed by businessmen. Feminists don't care which form bossing takes so long as the bosses are women. Clearly these ideology-mongers have serious differences over how to divvy up the spoils of power.
un employment. Trotskyists agitate for permanent revolution. I agitate for permanent revelry. But if all the ideologues (as they do) advocate work - and not only because they plan to make other people do theirs - they are strangely reluctant to say. They will carry on endlessly about wages, hours, working conditions, exploitation, productivity, profitability.
Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us essay want to act. Oblomovism and Stakhanovism are two sides of the same debased coin. The ludic life is totally incompatible with existing reality. So much the worse for "reality the gravity hole that sucks the vitality from the little in life that still distinguishes it from mere survival. Curiously - or maybe not - all the old ideologies are conservative because they believe in work. Some of them, like marxism and most brands of anarchism, believe in work all the more fiercely because they believe in so little else. Liberals say we should end employment discrimination.
My school days, essay, cram
No one should ever work. Work is the source of tree nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you'd care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working. That doesn't mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a ludic conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child's play, as worthy as that. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance.