Back to work blues? What we can learn from slackers

Our culture demonises those who don ’t work – but maybe it’s time we were more like Homer Simpson and Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski, writes Josh CohenIn 1999, crowds of art lovers, many of them baffled, filed into London ’s Tate gallery to viewMy Bed, a work quickly established as one of the most iconic and notorious of our age. Tracey Emin ’s installation painstakingly recreated her bed as it appeared after an alcohol-fuelled breakdown, triggered by the end of a relationship. A disordered tangle of used and dirty stockings, towels and sheets, the undersheet spilling freely over the bed’s base, was bordered by the accumulated debri s of an exhausted life. This was not a bed of peaceful rest, airy dreams or frenzied coupling, but of illness, exhaustion and despair. The intoxicants and condoms strewn around conveyed not a lively appetite, but a quest for physical and psychic numbness, plunging us into a state the French sociolog ist Alain Ehrenberg called “weariness of the self”.Ehrenberg diagnosed this weariness as the essential malaise of our time. He described a chronic incapacity arising from a state of perpetual work – not only the long hours spent in waged employment, but the state of permanent busyness induced by daily demands to act and consume. This has been accentuated, since Ehrenberg published his book, by the 24/7 imperatives of online life: follow, like, update, upload, link and (of course) buy.Contin...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Books Health, mind and body books Culture Psychology Emily Dickinson Tracey Emin The Big Lebowski Ottessa Moshfegh Source Type: news

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