Undercover as a low-wage worker

My very ability to work tirelessly hour after hour is a product of decades of better-than-average medical care, a high-protein diet, and workouts in gyms that charge $400 or $500 a year. If I am now a productive fake member of the working class, it’s because I haven’t been working, in any hard physical sense, long enough.

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America



Housework isn’t gymwork

“If you want to be fit, just fire your cleaning lady and do it yourself.” “Ho ho,” is all I say, since… I can’t explain that this form of exercise is totally asymmetrical, brutally repetitive, and as likely to destroy the musculoskeletal structure as to strengthen it.

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (not) getting by in America

In other words, this is bullshit.

The dangers of a safety and perfection

“I think we need some kind of adversity in our lives. We need the threat of falling off a cliff, physically. Like how people go on holidays where the main idea isn’t relaxation, but the feeling of life being threatened, by say, malaria, or a tiger attack, food poisoning, robbing. You know, thrill seeking.”

Andrew Cheah, “Anaesthesia” in Best New Singaporean Short Stories Volume Two


We weren’t made for the office cubicle. Maybe that’s why depression is an urban disease. We lack adversity — and even more so now.

The importance of keeping your cool

Remember: Tantrums neither intimidate nor inspire loyalty. They only create doubts and uneasiness about your power. Exposing your weakness, these stormy eruptions often herald a fall.

Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power


Perhaps this is part of the reason that meditation could lead to better performance at the workplace (which is ultimately about managing people).

What is Leisure?

Leisure, in the true, now almost forgotten sense of the word, is activity without extrinsic end, “purposiveness without purpose,” as Kant put it. The sculptor engrossed I cutting marble, the teacher intent on imparting a difficult idea, the musician struggling with a score, a scientist exploring the mysteries of space and time – such people have no other aim than to do what they are doing well. They may receive an income for their efforts, but that income is not what motivates them. In our terms, they are engaged in leisure, not toil.

Robert and Edward Skidelsky, How much is enough?



I do wonder, why am I spending my free time, typing excerpts from books and putting them on the internet? I suppose it is an activity with an end in itself. Perhaps it gives me satisfaction of some form.

A bit like how people edit articles on Wikipedia or upload music online for free.