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Mommy, am I cult?

A former literary snob making her way back to commercial reads.

Currently reading

The Silver Linings Playbook
Matthew Quick
You Should Pity Us Instead
Amy Gustine

The Right to Be Lazy

The Right to Be Lazy - Paul Lafargue, Len Bracken Brings interesting perspectives about the past, specially about how our amount of work should be minor with technological progress, but we are actually working more.

But the author fails to see the following inevitable things about the future:

Petroil is going to end;
Primary sources of minerals will end;
So we'll need more intelligent materials... or at least a way to recycle them without losing quality;
We'll have to make assembly lines more scalable in order to free manual laborers to do some analytical work;
We have to make a transition to renewable energy;
We will need even more doctors and engineers that we already need;
We have to end poverty;
We have to automate housework in order to liberate women;
We have to figure out a better way of public transportation so we won't waste so many time (a.k.a. the most valuable resource ever) on stupid traffic.
We have to educate the masses so they'll be able to adapt to the ongoing automation;
We have to figure out a practical way to distribute wealth better than the flawed capitalism (that same capitalism that makes us waste time in meaningless jobs so we can fulfill the short-term needs for shelter and food).

These problems are not going to be solved by themselves. They'll need a lot of work.

So, Lafargue, as much as I know you have good intentions, you are wrong. We don't have the right to be lazy. The future of mankind depends on our work. The life quality of our peers depend on our willingness to provide value to them. (And I mean real value, not elitist-consumerist-values, and definitely not the I'm-better-than-you-because-I-have-an-Iphone value that Sillicon Valley claims is "changing the world".)

What we need is not to stop working, but to attach our work to a purpose, even if it is a completely small and non-pretentious one. Working just so you can pay bills is a waste of human potential, and I think Lafargue would agree with that.

Maybe Lafargue would also agree that we need to study more. Reflect more. We need to stop being such champions of whatever obligation is thrown at us. It is hollow to define our values in how well we accomplish predetermined tasks. (Remember epitaphs? "Beloved mother, wife", meaning she was good at fulfilling societal obligations.) This book criticizes it to some extent.

But, since we messed up with the exploration of natural resources in the last few centuries, our existence is not just about us anymore. It is also about how we need to solve the crap the we and our ancestors did to the world.

So the world doesn't need less work from us. The world needs more. A re-purposed work, an intelligent work. A work that builds progress in the long term. But how are going to do that? How are going to prepare socially, politically and economically to solve the problems that really need to be solved? Well, that's subject for another book.