Tuesday, January 25, 2022
  The Psychopathology of Work  
Self-Defeating Illusions For Sale

Work, now? Never,
never. I'm on strike.

Arthur Rimbaud

From: Deoxy.org – by Penelope RosemontGreen Anarchy #15, Winter 2004

Depersonalization and alienation from our deepest desires is implanted during childhood via school, church, movies, and TV, and soon reaches the point where an individual's desire is not only a net of contradictions, but also a commodity like all the others.

"True life" always seems to be just a bit beyond what a weekly paycheck and credit card can afford, and is thus indefinitely postponed. And each postponement contributes to the reproduction of a social system that practically everyone who is not a multimillionaire or a masochist has come to loathe.

That is the problem facing us all: How to break the pattern of work — of week-to-week slavery, that habit of habits, that addiction of addictions; how to detach ourselves from the grip of Self-Defeating Illusions For Sale, Inc., a.k.a, the corporate consumer State.

Especially ingrained is that pattern of working for someone else: making someone else's "goods", producing the wealth that someone else enjoys, thinking someone else's thoughts (sometimes actually believing them one's own), and even dreaming someone else's dreams — in short, living someone else's life, for one's own life, and one's own dream of life, have long since been lost in the shuffle.

A gang of professional killers

The systematic suppression of a person's real desires — and that is largely what work consists of — is exacerbated by capitalism's incessant manipulation of artificial desires, "as advertised." This gives daily life the character of mass neurosis, with increasingly frequent psychotic episodes. To relieve the all-embracing boredom of daily life, society offers an endless array of distractions and stupefactions, most of them "available at a store near you". The trouble is, these distractions and stupefactions, legal or illegal, soon become part of the boredom, for they satisfy no authentic desire.

When the news reports horrible crimes committed by children or teenagers trying to be satanists, or superheroes, or terrorists, or just "bad guys", we can be sure that these kids lived lives of intolerable dullness, that they were so isolated from their own desires and from the larger society that they didn't even know how or where to look for something different, or how to rebel in such a way that it might actually make a difference. Instead, they picked up some trashy notions from bible school, Hollywood and TV which promised a few minutes of meaningless "excitement" followed by lots of publicity — also meaningless. Each time something like this happens we hear cries to "monitor" films more closely, and to ban "violence" on TV. Rarely, however, does anyone criticize the Bible or the Christian churches, despite the fact that Christianity — by far the bloodiest of the "world's great religions" — is far more to be blamed. Similarly, one rarely hears criticism of the armed forces — a gang of professional killers whose influence on children cannot be anything other than baleful.

And even less often does one encounter criticism of another intrinsically violent institution: the nuclear family. Indeed, at this late date in human history, this relic of patriarchy is still held up as some sort of ideal. Replacing the extended family as we know it today is an invention of the nineteenth century. Constructed by white bourgeois Europeans to meet the needs of expanding industrialization, it reflects capitalism's model of the "chain of command". It continues the sanction of male supremacy as a time-honored tradition dating back to a mandate of God, no less. In the nuclear family, he works at a job, and she works in the home (and increasingly also at a job). As for the children, they are the family's private property, and remain so for years after they reach biological maturity.


Children too learn to work, or at least how to suffer boredom. From the earliest age they are taught to obey orders. School and church teach them the necessity of going to and staying at a particular place for a prolonged period, even when they would rather be anywhere else. All the classic parental admonitions — "Sit still!", "Do what I tell you!", "Don't talk back!", "Stop behaving like a bunch of wild Indians! "— are part of the education of the well-behaved, uncomplaining wage-slave…

The world today is confronted by greater, more earth-shaking, more life-threatening, white supremacy, oppression of women, ecological disaster, neocolonialism, state terrorism, the prison industry, genocide, cancer, AIDS, the traffic death-toll, xenophobia, pesticides, genetic engineering — the list goes on and on.

Ceaselessly bombarded by news reports and sound bytes of one catastrophe after another, most people have no idea what to do, and lapse into paralysis. On the ideological front, this widespread passivity, itself a major social problem, is maintained by Andre Breton called miserabilism, the cynical rationalization of misery, suffering and corruption — the dominant ideology of Power in our time.

Every hour, moreover, countless billions are spent on propaganda, advertising and other mystifications to sustain the delusion that the crisis-strewn society we live in today is the best and only one possible.

The death-dealing juggernaut

What is most important to grasp is that work is at the center of all these problems. It is work that keeps the whole miserabilist system going. Without work, the death-dealing juggernaut that proclaims itself the "free market" would grind to a halt. "Free market" means freedom for Capital, and unfreedom for those who work. Until the problem of work is solved — that is, until work is abolished — all other problems will not only remain, but will keep getting worse… In a world too busy to live, work itself has become toxic, a form of "digging your own grave".massive

Renewed scarcities and engineered economic crises notwithstanding, society today has the capacity to reduce work to a tiny fraction of what it is now, while continuing to meet all human needs. It is obvious that if people really want paradise on Earth, they can have it — practically overnight. Of course, they will have to overcome the immense and multinational "false consciousness" industry, which works very hard to make sure that very few working people know what they really want…

Work kills the spirit, damages the body, insults the mind, keeps everyone confused and demoralized, distracts its victims from all the things that really matter in life… Our struggle calls for labor organizers of a new kind… To bring about the meltdown of miserabilism, we need awakeners of latent desires, fomentors of marvelous humour, stimulators of ardent dreams, provokers of the deepest possible yearning for a life of poetic adventure.

Read 1160 times

The Work 'Ethic'

Revolt Against Work

Revolt Against Work    Source Karl Marx once said that the working class is the only class capable of self-emancipation. But how are workers supposed to free themselves when they are divided by unionization, occupation, income, sex and race? Where will the force, let alone the desire for freedom come from if industrial and agricultural workers shrink to a small percentage of the total workforce? And how can rebellious intellectuals be included... Read more

Aphorisms Against Wo…

Aphorisms Against Work    Source Suggestions to the Slacker Generation on Commencing a Post-Workerist Revolution Humans are congenitally allergic to work - they don't want to work whenever they have a chance not to work. The sacrosanct notion of work is the cause of most of humanity's woes. Never trust the priests of work because they've poisoned their minds with it. For example, the quantity of economically necessary work declines, yet politicians and economists tell... Read more

Zero-Hour Day, Zero-…

Zero-Hour Day, Zero-Day Workweek    Source Are the executives of oil steel aluminum plastic military industrial capitalism to be looked up to as Great Men and Women to be held as fitting examples of enlightened human beings? Or are they miserable failures of greed who betray the Earth and the promise of America? Is who invented napalm to be honored? Is who invented nerve gas to be honored? Slavery did not end... Read more

The decline and fall…

The decline and fall of work In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create. What spark of humanity, of possible creativity, can remain alive in a being dragged out of sleep at six every morning, jolted about in suburban trains, deafened by the racket of machinery, bleached and steamed by meaningless sounds and gestures, spun dry by... Read more

More Time for Leisur…

More Time for Leisure In praise of the national dividend In their paper “Major Douglas’ Proposals for a National Dividend: A Logical Successor to the Wage” Brian Burkitt and Frances Hutchinson defend Major C.H. Douglas’ idea of a national dividend. Conventional economies are based on the exponential growth in production from technological change, which with labour-saving inevitably leads to unemployment. To counter this, Douglas proposed placing “every citizen on a level economic playing-field”... Read more

The Cult of the Job

The Cult of the Job On The Leisure Track I am job-free. Out of the rat race. Unemployed, as they say, but definitely by choice. My self-esteem is intact, thank you, I'm not "in transition", and I have no intention of getting a job again. That's right – I'm on the leisure track permanently. I don't have a cushy nine-to-five job with profit-sharing, "security", stock options, health insurance, advancement opportunities, or free parking. Read more

How Ethical Is The W…

The Work 'Ethic' Reconsidering work and 'leisure time' Did you ever wonder why your parents act so disoriented when it comes to 'leisure' activities? Why they start one little hobby, and either fail to follow through with it or become pathologically obsessed with it... even though it doesn't seem to have anything to do with their lives? Maybe they seek to lose themselves in gardening or following the exploits of some basketball team. Maybe... Read more

Why Work Is Turning …

Why Work Is Turning Into a Nightmare How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots' owners? Meanwhile, human beings do the work that's unpredictable - odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours - and patch together barely enough to live on. Brace... Read more

The Psychopathology …

The Psychopathology of Work Depersonalization and alienation from our deepest desires is implanted during childhood via school, church, movies, and TV, and soon reaches the point where an individual's desire is not only a net of contradictions, but also a commodity like all the others. Work, now? Never,never. I'm on strike.—Arthur Rimbaud "True life" always seems to be just a bit beyond what a weekly paycheck and credit card can afford, and is... Read more

Beyond Capitalism

Beyond Capitalism Classified top secret report of the last Bilderberg meeting My dear contarians, my dear contrarians! This is a special edition, very special that I propose today. I would like you to understand the real ways of the world, the world in which we live but more likely for very long time. I reproduce in lines below the exclusive report of the last meeting of Bilderberg, this meeting which is held every year and which... Read more

The Abolition of Wor…

The Abolition of Work No one should ever work. Work is the source of 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... Read more