edphil on Tue, 3 Jun 1997 03:20:11 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> orgies, works, play


I don't think that our esteemed friend, El Iblis, is quite so unaware of
the social conditions in which we all live, although, perhaps, he is not
writing policy papers or working out compromises.

It may be the very impraticality of the zero-work "solution" that gives
it appeal. Yet, the adoption of a zero-work strategy is not the
exclusive provenance of a smug and self-satifisfied techno-elite
retiring at 40, those code writing Charley Marlowes. 

The celebration of the ludic to the exclusion of work has it's terrible
undertows, well worth exploring. But your 'nuff said is not going there,
or anywhere, really.

Last week, I met and spent some time with a drifter whose "class
origins" would place him well below your French Workers. He has been
drifting through post industrial America for the last fifteen years.
He espouses a philosophy very similar to that of our fine fallen friend.
A philosophy tested, I assure you in the fires of this oh so fallen
world. The man had more in him of wisdom, humanity, and courage than
almost anyone I've met. The "laborious lies of the rich" and the dream
of progress were tattered rags this man has tossed off. I felt after
speaking with him that what kept the rest of us on the treadmill was
really cowardice.

There is a nice quote from that mad elitist, Bataille, that came to my
mind. "the true luxury, and the real potlatch of our times falls to the
poverty-stricken, that is to the individual who lies down and scoffs. A
genuine luxury requires the complete contempt for riches, the somber
indifference of the individual who refuses work and makes his life, on
the one hand an infinitely ruined splendour, and on the other, an insult
to the laborious lie of the rich." I met that man.

It's not so easy. This is no policy statement. Nor is it so easy as to
just say "make work into play", as John just said.

Norman O. Brown has recently had some interesting things to say in the
way of critiquing his own celebrations of play in Life Against Death.

He wrote a Georgics, a Palinode in Praise of Work and he has been
exploring some of the vulnerable, tragic eroticisms of Bataille. We
suffer our own play.
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