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

Total Work, a term coined by the philosopher Josef Pieper, is the process by which human beings are t
April 8 · Issue #39 · View online
Total Work Newsletter: How Work Took Over the World
Total Work, a term coined by the philosopher Josef Pieper, is the process by which human beings are transformed into workers as work, like a total solar eclipse symbolized in the logo above, comes to obscure all other aspects of life. In these newsletters, I document, reflect upon, and seek to understand this world historical process, one that started at least as far back as 1500 and possibly as the thirteenth century.
Announcement: My IHMC public talk has just been released. It’s the clearest, thoroughest talks I’ve given on Total Work to date. I hope you’ll view it and if you feel moved to do so, I hope you’ll also share it around. Also below you’ll find an in-depth look at millennial burnout, which I take to be one symptom of Total Work.

My IHMC Public Talk
Andrew Taggart: The Brief Story of How Work Took over the World and Made Us Who We Think We Are
Life Hacking
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).
Busyness, Workism, And Pseudo-intellectualism
#1: BUSYNESS | The 'Busy' Trap | 5 min. | NYT | Opinion HT Steve Brady
#2: MORE THAN THE 5-YEAR PLAN | Conservative icons: Josef Pieper | 10 min. | The Conservative | Essay
#3: COOPTATION | Beyond McMindfulness | 5 min. | HuffPost | Opinion
#4: WORKISM | The Religion of Workism Is Making Americans Miserable | 15 min. | Atlantic | Long Form Essay HT Daniel Doyon
#5: PSEUDO-INTELLECTUALISM | The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness | 5 min. | Medium | Blog Post HT Daniel Kazandjian
IN-DEPTH: Millennial Burnout
#1: How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation | 30 min. | Buzzfeed | Personal Essay HT Marcus Kreitzer
#2: 'Millennial burnout': This Is How It Feels | 6 min. | BBC | Interview
#3: Burnout Is Real, But It’s Not An Exclusively Millennial Condition | 10 min. | Slate | Rebuttal
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What I’m Reading…
1.) Recently finished: Many books including
  • Anthony Giddens, The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love, and Eroticism (1992). A prescient book on the social consequences of the sexual revolution, consequences that are being felt today.
  • Nicholas Agar, How to be Human in the Digital Economy (2019; advanced copy). Not mind-blowing by any means but definitely a reasonable discussion, here by a New Zealand philosopher, of what the Digital Age may mean for human agency in general, for human work in particular.
  • Joseph M. Reagle, Jr., Hacking Life: Systematized Living and Its Discontents (2019; advanced copy). Though generally lackluster and without great depth, the book does help to shed light on “lifestyle design” and life hacking, Silicon Valley subcultures that have since gone mainstream.
  • Rupert Spira, Presence, Volume 1: The Art of Peace and Happiness (2011). I find Spira to be one of the clearest voices and ablest teachers of non-duality today. This book was marvelous!
  • Lao-Tzu, The Tao Te Ching (1993). I’ve read a number of translations over the years, and this one, which is the Hackett translation, is the very best in my opinion. The poetry is sinewy and direct, and the translators manage to capture the fact that Lao-Tzu (also: Laozi) is writing for those with a meditation practice.
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Comments, Suggestions, Articles on Total Work?
Feel free to send comments, suggestions, thoughts, and articles about total work to me at Andrew Taggart <>.
If You’d Like to Become a Patron…
Thank you to my growing list of patrons! If you feel called to support my philosophical life, you can do so here <>.
For Newcomers
Looking for some clarity about the nature and history of total work? Start by reading my brief overview of total work on my Patreon account <>, Next, take a look at the first issue of this newsletter <> Next, check out my Quartz at Work pieces (December 2017- present), which are available here <>.
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