The repository has now moved past its 4,500th reference.
Recent additions include:
more than 50 citations from the writings of Alasdair MacIntyre, as well as more than 50 references to secondary literature, by Lindsay Roberts as part of an internship in her BPhil. In the previous post, Lindsay wrote a rich presentation of the main features of MacIntyre’s views on work.
Here are a few nuggets unearthed by the students:
“If the world were so planned that everything one did served the whole of society in a transparent manner, and senseless activities were abandoned, I would be happy to spend two hours a day working as a lift attendant”. (Towards a New Manifesto, p.15)
“In the process of selling household necessities and especially food, those who help in the selling have a few necessary tasks but otherwise are only stopgaps, temporary substitutes for self-service and automated equipment. This is true of the economy generally for that part of the work force which does not simply supervise automation. As formerly, so now the customer is a subject, but he is now to some extent a self-supporting subject: he must quickly orient himself, know his way around among the current standardized brands, and react promptly as though he were working in a factory”. (Critique of Instrumental Reason, p.124)
“labor as such cannot be abolished. To affirm the contrary would be in fact to repudiate what Marx called the metabolic exchange between man and nature. Some control, mastery, and transformation of nature, some modification of existence through labor is inevitable, but in this utopian hypothesis labor would be so different from labor as we know it or normally conceive of it that the idea of the convergence of labor and play does not diverge too far from the possibilities”. (The End of Utopia, p.2)
“The real danger for the established system is not the abolition of labor but the possibility of nonalienated labor as the basis of the reproduction of society. Not that people are no longer compelled to work, but that they might be compelled to work for a very different life and in very different relations, that they might be given very different goals and values, that they might have to live with a very different morality – this is the “definite negation” of the established system, the liberating alternative”. (“Aggressiveness in Advanced Industrial Societies”, in Negations, p.193)
“The erotic aim of sustaining the entire body as subject-object of pleasure calls for the continual refinement of the organism, the intensification of its receptivity, the growth of its sensuousness. The aim generates its own projects of realization: the abolition of toil, the amelioration of the environment, the conquest of disease and decay, the creation of luxury. All these activities flow directly from the pleasure principle, and, at the same time, they constitute work which associates individuals to "greater unities"; no longer confined within the mutilating dominion of the performance principle, they modify the impulse without deflecting it from its aim. There is sublimation and, consequently, culture; but this sublimation proceeds in a system of expanding and enduring libidinal relations, which are in themselves work relations”. (Eros and Civilisation, p.212)
“Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn”. (Myth of Sisyphus, p.90)
“One can reject all history and yet accept the world of the sea and the stars. The rebels who wish to ignore nature and beauty are condemned to banish from history everything with which they want to construct the dignity of existence and of labor”. (The Rebel, p.241)