You’re Not Lazy — But Your Boss Wants You to Think You Are
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Where does this belief system come from? Price (who, full disclosure, I have corresponded with about the ideas in the book over the years with but never met) traces the Laziness Lie across American history, unpacking its roots in the Christianity of the country’s settlers and its utility in rationalizing slavery, indentured servitude, and child labor. By the time of the industrial revolution, Price writes, “Laziness had officially become not only a personal failing but a social ill to be defeated — and it has remained that way ever since.”
It seems fitting that the United States just inaugurated a president who campaigned in part on the idea that millennials deserve no empathy for their generation’s immiseration, and who shut down a pointed political question from a town hall attendee by challenging him to a pushup contest. Obviously, the idea that struggling people deserve no sympathy is bullshit. That our new president scoffs at the people ruined by a debt crisis he helped engineer over a long, pro-banking Senate career is just extra cruelty sprinkled on top. But even the savviest Biden-hating socialist is not immune to the ways these attitudes seep into our lives and our attitudes toward ourselves and others.
Capitalism demands that we function in a constant state of “speed up” at work, needing to cram ever more into the waking hours of our days regardless of our actual efficiency or productivity. What Price calls the “Laziness Lie” is really this demand for “speed up” taken to its inevitable extreme, such that it permeates all aspects of one’s life on or off the clock.
We repeat and reify the logic of our bosses in our own lives through social media and other avenues where the “hustle” is expected to be never-ending, even at home. Influencer culture, in Price’s view, has amplified the “Laziness Lie”: our meals must be Instagram-worthy, our living spaces minimalist and tidy, our bodies well-toned and well-dressed. As a result we treat fatness, tackiness, nonconformity, and other seeming imperfections as contemptible rather than default states of being.
“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
February 4, 2021 at 11:59 PM #400937Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
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Book = “Laziness Does Not Exist”
Correct diagnosis of disease necessary for solution
Disease is capitalism
“Laziness Lie” originated there
(Or I could say, in the masters’ eyes all slaves look lazy
Because nothing is ever enough for the would-be masters of mankind
So our acceptance of the idea ‘laziness’
Is actually the acceptance of view through the masters’ spectacles
Which results in turning those spectacles against ourselves =
Either others are “not good enough/lazy” = aggression to others in (mistaken) service of masters, or
We ourselves are “not good enough/lazy” = aggression toward self in (mistaken) failure to fit into the masters’ self-justifying structure which invents ‘laziness’)
“We repeat and reify the logic of our bosses…the “hustle” is expected to be never-ending, even at home…. our meals must be Instagram-worthy, our living spaces minimalist and tidy, our bodies well-toned and well-dressed….we treat fatness, tackiness, nonconformity, and other seeming imperfections as contemptible rather than default states of being. Perversely, this phenomenon can even absorb its apparent opposite. No influencer’s Instagram grid is complete without a smattering of confessional posts. ‘Look y’all, today was a hard day, I’m blessed by this life but it’s not as glamorous as it seems. Just gotta keep smiling…’ These humanizing offerings don’t dismantle the logic of hustle culture, they reinforce it — because the implicit conclusion to each of them is …and I’m still getting up and doing it every day, so why aren’t you?”
It’s ‘disenfranchisement’ rather than laziness that’s the cause of our ‘failure’ to meet the expectation of ‘hustle culture,’ from not voting to not doing your homework to not completing job apps. No point, no meaning, no results.
No one escapes, & people who feel this kind of alienation are not alone.
Not another self-help book (which treat the disease as an individual problem). “Laziness Does Not exist” tells its readers, “perhaps for the first time in their lives,” that they are being exploited, and there is a name for what ails them: capitalism.
Overwork not just about productivity, also about control.
Most of our ‘problems’ are not of our own making.
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”
February 5, 2021 at 2:21 AM #400975ThouArtThatParticipant
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But of course. A dominant lie in America is the Horatio Alger myth. Everyone is capable of pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. A pernicious lie conveniently forgetting most come of age in a culture manufactured long before birth. So any bootstraps are those created by previous generations. Nonetheless, the lie is pervasive and so much so that Americans sacrifice everything to at least pretend they are trying to thrive while the broader culture is bent on extracting every last ounce of breath from their bodies. And capitalism preys on the lie making work more difficult and soul destroying than necessary; all because we allow it to be so.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
- John F. Kennedy
"The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it."
- George Orwell
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
"Sometimes a pessimist is only an optimist with extra information."
- Idries Shah
"A riot is the language of the unheard."
- Martin Luther King
February 5, 2021 at 11:00 PM #401218Populist ProleParticipant
- Total Posts: 615
There’s been a steady glorification of workaholics as long as I can remember, and it remains so now. Though many of us have eschewed being in the rat race, it’s still the default position being exhorted to us by the media and popular culture.
It’s also been my observation that over the years and decades, the management at various employers seek out people with calvanist beliefs or traits, and in that regard I’m sure lots of them figured they hit the jackpot when they relocated operations from the northeast and rust belt to the deep south in search of a more “compliant” workforce of servile bootlickers. An author, the late Joe Bageant noted how authoritarian evangelicals were readily brainwashed by business into being complicit in their own demise…and never questioned it. Indeed, my own observations of people like that continue to astound me: for all their chest-beating anti-guv’mint rhetoric, they’ll gladly take being shit on by private enterprise in stride. Hustle hustle hustle. Don’t complain, don’t give feedback. Anything else is “cammie soshulisum”.
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