THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY EIGHT

James Livingston in Aeon.

So this Great Recession of ours … is a moral crisis as well as an economic catastrophe. You might even say it’s a spiritual impasse, because it makes us ask what social scaffolding other than work will permit the construction of character – or whether character itself is something we must aspire to. But that is why it’s also an intellectual opportunity: it forces us to imagine a world in which the job no longer builds our character, determines our incomes or dominates our daily lives.

In short, it lets us say: enough already. Fuck work.

Certainly this crisis makes us ask: what comes after work? What would you do without your job as the external discipline that organises your waking life – as the social imperative that gets you up and on your way to the factory, the office, the store, the warehouse, the restaurant, wherever you work and, no matter how much you hate it, keeps you coming back? What would you do if you didn’t have to work to receive an income?

And what would society and civilisation be like if we didn’t have to ‘earn’ a living – if leisure was not our choice but our lot?

THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY FOUR

From FrameWork 5/17, Katie Lyle on Shirley Wiitasalo (thank you James).

To begin, you might lie down with your eyes closed allowing all of the room to fall away except the floor beneath you. Letting the push of gravity sink your weight, feeling the horizontal leveling of your body as it settles against the hard surface. You might let your muscles relax, and each bone soften at its edges until your skin is slumped loose against the flat, cool surface. Taking a moment to let the nape of your neck relax and the back of your head flatten like a soft, old grapefruit. Let your head flop to one side, if it needs a resting place, and let the weight of your skull be supported by the bony cartilage of your outer ear and cheekbone. You might imagine that you are a soft puddle, an onion skin or body-shaped trapdoor. An intricate outline of a body traced, around each hair on your head and each finger from the tip of your nail into the soft webbed tissue between them. We might be careful to consider the difference between imagining the body and paying attention to it.

That being said, to think about something in detail (one part of the body at a time) involves the necessity of forgetting something else. To think about the body like this inevitably means forgetting another part of yourself, forgetting about associations or narratives except for the ones presented in the very moment.

THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE

From Rob Horning’s Sick of Myself.

“And the creation of identity in the form of a data archive would seem to fashion not a grounded self but an always incomplete and inadequate double — a “self partially forced from the body.” You are always in danger of being confronted with your incohesiveness, with evidence of a past self now rejected or a misinterpreted, misprocessed version of one’s archive being distributed as the real you.”

THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY TWO

Junot Díaz, quoted this morning in theread.

“Nations are very antagonistic, they pick enemies, they pick borders, they create borders, they create characters and mythologies that exclude. And, I always think that the nation is its silences, the nation is its exclusion, and for someone like me, in the art that I do, its disavowed dead. Because the nations’ love to create stenographs for its good dead, the dead that it recognizes, the dead that wanna help perpetuate its project of the nation. But, there is also an enormous population of its disavowed dead, the victims of this national project, the people who are decimated because of the national project.

I tend to define the nation by who’s on the other side of the bayonet. And, who doesn’t get a tomb, and who doesn’t get memorialized, and who doesn’t get mourned. And, yet, that’s as much a part of what a nation is as whoever we decide to toast on whatever holiday.”