Total Work Newsletter: How Work Took Over the World

By Andrew Taggart, Practical Philosopher, Ph.D.

Weekly Newsletter on Total Work

Weekly Newsletter on Total Work

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Total Work Newsletter #43: This Is A Story About Metaphysics

P.D. Anthony from The Ideology of Work (1977):We are concerned here with the construction of economic man. Economic men, as we have concluded, have always existed but the construction of economic man as a concept was new. The concept and its survival explains…


Total Work Newsletter #42: Death In The Time Of Total Work

A close friend of mine, a man about my age, recently discovered that he has a tumor measuring 2 inches (5 cm) growing on his brain. He will learn what his treatment options are soon and will likely have surgery in about a week.I'm about that age--40 to be exa…


Total Work Newsletter #41: Silicon Valley's Philosophical Tipping Point

An excerpt from Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming (1978) (HT Jonatan Spejlborg Juelsbo):The more the farmer increases the scale of his operation, the more his body and spirit are dissipated and the further he falls…


Total Work Newsletter #40: Philosophizing In The Age Of Total Work

You can listen to the podcast interview on Anchor here.


Total Work Newsletter #39: My IHMC Public Talk And Millennial Burnout

Joseph M. Reagle, Jr. writes in Hacking Life: Systematized Living and Its Discontents (forthcoming 2019):Life hacking is self-help for the creative class (p. 149).


Total Work Newsletter #38: Protestant Critiques Of Monasticism--And Why They Still Matter To Us Today

Dear M,I finally got around to taking a look at this Buzzfeed article, which, I believe, has been making the rounds. Thank you for thinking of me.When you write, "It seems to me like this journalist is keenly aware of the phenomenon of Total Work, but unfortu…


Total Work Newsletter #37: My Life After Sesshin

The following is an excerpt from an ongoing epistolary exchange with a Dharma friend on our respective practices. We met at the sesshin (or Zen meditation intensive) that we both attended. I hope you find my replies edifying. I believe they provide you, the r…


Total Work Newsletter #36: Political Theory And Total Work

In answer to the question "What is right effort?," the Buddha proclaims that one should guard against the arising of unskillful, evil qualities; should abandon the unskillful, evil qualities that have already arisen; should arouse the skillful, wholesome qual…


Total Work Newsletter #35: Critiques of Pieper's Leisure: The Basis of Culture

I accidentally took a smartphone photo of my inbox when it was at Inbox Zero. Not surprising to total work readers at this point, Google elected to represent work in terms of the work ethic ("You're all done!") while (also from the vantage point of the work e…


Total Work Newsletter #34: The Source Of Leisure Is Worship

Here is the wonderful opening of Daniel Rodgers' The Work Ethic in America, 1850-1920 (1974 [first edition] /2014 [second edition]):This is at bottom a study not of work but of ideas about work. In particular it is a study of those threads of ideas that came …


Total Work Newsletter #33: De-proletarianizing Everyone

Maya Angelou (HT Paul Millerd):Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.


Total Work Newsletter #32: Acedia Vs. Leisure

A complicated, messy picture of life in China: the drudgery of factory work juxtaposed with the dreams of a wannabe dancer. Read Hardy Green's The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills that Shaped the American Economy (2010) to get a sense of c…


Total Work Newsletter #31: We Do Not See This As A Prison

Lewis Mumford writing in his magnum opus Technics and Civilization (1934):Mechanical invention, even more than science, was the answer to a dwindling faith and a faltering life-impulse. The meandering energies of men, which had flowed into meadow and garden, …


Total Work Newsletter #30: We ARE All Workers Now (Preface and Section I)

The article above makes me think of Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit and of David Graeber's Bullshit Jobs. I clarified their views in a business presentation I gave in June 2018.


Total Work Newsletter #29: Announcing Extended Commentary On Josef Pieper's Leisure

An Opening Remark By Way Of ClarificationLeisure: The Basis of Culture consists of two essays: one on leisure and the other on philosophizing. It's the former that I mean to comment on. Pieper's Searching QuestionsJosef Pieper's seminal essay, "Leisure: The B…


Total Work Newsletter #28: A Liberal Arts Education For The Twenty-first Century

I would like to draw a contrast between what the liberal arts, if it can still be called that, has become and what it used to be. I do so in order to track how the Principle of Utility insinuated itself into an institution--by which I mean, the university--th…


Total Work Newsletter #27: Join Me In A Day of Rest

John Hughes in The End of Work: Theological Critiques of Capitalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), p. 185:Business and commerce are not evil activities in themselves; the tragic difference in the modern period is that these activities are no longer subordinate to…


Total Work Newsletter #26: The East Is A Career

Peterson: "I'm always trying to do everything I possibly can as fast as I possibly can." Later: "I don't even know what I would do if I didn't do that." And the punchline: "I don't like to be unoccupied. I have to be occupied, doing something productive all t…


Total Work Newsletter #25: Samu

In Issue #24, I briefly discussed how we framed the future of work in terms of Universal Basic Income and "the right to work." One reader, Alex Hardy, elaborated on his disagreement with Universal Job Guarantees (or UBJ) in this following way.+ + +I’ve long t…


Total Work Newsletter #24: Q & A Issue

Public intellectual Jordan Peterson commenting on the state of universities recently at the Aspen Ideas Festival recently: Unsuspecting students are given free access to student loans that will cripple them through their 30s and their 40s, and the universitie…