What a contradiction. We hate work. For the last 200 years every fibre of our collective intellect has been focused on avoiding and finding ways to NOT work. From the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s to the household conveniences of the 1950’s to our cars and the paperless office. Everything is all about not working.
And yet, work is fundamentally the way in which most of us relate and connect to the world. When we’re not working we’re… well what do you even call it? At leisure?
Almost 100 years ago the famous economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that with increases in efficiency and machines by 2030 no person would need to work. We would all be able to live the life of leisure. As his deadline date approaches there are often articles pining for this “life of leisure” and claiming sadly that people have to work more now than ever.
I believe the core of the problem is the drifting meaning of words. Few people in 1928 would describe what most of us do for a living today as work. In fact, Keynes life of leisure may have arrived early and no one even noticed because we’re all too busy complaining about having to do anything at all. Keynes had a very rich definition of leisure - and it did not entail sitting in a half stupor in front of a screen. Neither at work nor leisure, we exist in a new state of (un)consciousness.
And so its Labour Day week end.
Working it out. Here’s my Labour Day thought.
Time is the currency of life.
Imagine, let’s suppose, heading into this week end that you spend Friday on your deathbed. What, from your life, would you most want to have just one more experience of ? What would you most regret leaving behind ? What would you do if you had just one more week end to experience.
Do that this week end !
If you answered spend more time with your family and loved ones. Good. Do that. Write the history of love for all the future to read. I’ll be writing my heart out too.
If you thought you’d like to see the ocean one more time, great, maybe I’ll see you there.
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.