Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gone fishin'

I'm frantically trying to clear all the work off my desk at my job, racing to today's early closing for the three-day weekend -- and then I'm on vacation for the rest of the month! (Yes, it's good to have a union, and seniority!) My plan is a remedial course in the three Rs: reading, writing, and resting.

Which brings to mind a classic work of Marxist philosophy: The Right to Be Lazy. This piece was written in 1883 by the French revolutionary Paul Lafargue, who happened to be Karl Marx's son-in-law.
A strange delusion possesses the working classes of the nations where capitalist civilizations hold sway. ... This delusion is the love of work, the furious passion for work, pushed even to the exhaustion of the vital force of the individual ...

... the proletariat ... the class which in freeing itself will free humanity from servile toil and will make of the human animal a free being -- the proletariat, betraying its instincts, despising its historic mission, has let itself be perverted by the dogma of work. Rude and terrible has been its punishment.

Work, work, proletarians, to increase social wealth and your individual poverty; work, work, in order that becoming poorer, you may have more reason to work and become miserable. Such is the inexorable law of capitalist production.

If, uprooting from its heart the vice which dominates it and degrades its nature, the working class were to arise in its terrible strength, not to demand the Rights of Man, which are but the rights of capitalist exploitation, not to demand the Right to Work which is but the right to misery, but to forge a brazen law forbidding any man to work more than three hours a day, the earth, the old earth, trembling with joy would feel a new universe leaping within her.

O Laziness, have pity on our long misery! O Laziness, mother of the arts and noble virtues, be thou the balm of human anguish!
Comrade Lafargue, you inspire me (and I even forgive you, trapped in the 19th century as you will always remain, for using "man" as the generic). O Laziness, here I come!

If I succeed in achieving true vacation mode, postings here will be sparse for the rest of the month. Cheers.