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

April 20 · Issue #40 · 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: I’m chuffed to announce that I was interviewed by my friend Peter Limberg for his Intellectual Explorers Club (IEC) podcast. Peter started IEC in Toronto in 2018, I believe, and since then it’s really taken off. To learn more about it, him, or both, you can check out his website or his Meetup page, which boasts over 1600 members, or find him on Twitter @peternlimberg.

Philosophizing In The Age Of Total Work
You can listen to the podcast interview on Anchor here.
“996” refers to working 12 hours each day (that’s 9 a.m. to 9 a.m.) 6 days a week. So, “9 to 9 over 6.” Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba, is cited as saying:
I personally think that being able to work 996 is a huge blessing…Many companies and many people don’t have the opportunity to work. If you don’t work 996 when you are young, when can you ever work 996? (HT Paul Millerd)
Um, OK.
From The Work Ideal To Suicide
#1: THE WORK IDEAL | UBI Is A Hammer And Not Every Problem Is A Nail – Noteworthy - The Journal Blog | 7 min. | Medium | Opinion
#2: CORPORATE CULTURE | The Rise Of The WeWorking Class | 15 min. | NYT | Long Form Essay HT Daniel Doyon
#3: SUBSERVIENCE THESIS IN ACTION | A Tiny Break Can Have A Huge Impact | 1 min. | LinkedIn | Summary HT John Tracey
#4: AI ETHICS | Ethics guidelines For Trustworthy AI | 2 min. European Commission | Overview
#5: SUICIDE | 'Big Law Killed My Husband': An Open Letter From a Sidley Partner's Widow | 7 min. | The Recorder | Letter HT Paul Millerd
#6: Jack Ma Endorses China's Controversial 12 Hours A Day, 6 Days A Week Work Culture | 3 min. | CNN | News
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What I’m Reading…
1.) Currently reading:
  • Lauren Groff, Florida (2018). A beautiful book of short stories.
  • Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces (1985). Beautiful nature writing about Wyoming and ranching.
  • Rupert Spira, Presence, Volume 2: The Intimacy of All Experience (2016). Spira remains the clearest voice in non-duality today.
2.) Recently finished:
  • Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. I think this may be the third or fourth time I’ve read this treatise to day. It is spectacular!
  • John Passmore, The Perfectibility of Man (1970). I re-read portions of this book for an article I’m writing. Upon second reading, I still found it to be an insightful book and a wonderful example of the field known as “history of ideas.”
  • Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-class Performers (2016). I can’t recommend it; I simply used excerpts from this book as part of my research for the article alluded to above.
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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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