Monday, September 07, 2020

Worshipping Work

An article on a new way the bosses are trying out to handle us wage-slaves.

Firms like Ritualist and Ritual Design Lab – there is also a robust selection of freelance consultants available – help corporations imbue the office space with what the New York Times calls “some of the meaning that people used to derive from churches, temples, mosques, and the like”. By promoting “mindfulness” and “intention”, by participating in group rituals, by making even routine tasks meaningful and soulful, employers can make the work day a kind of spiritual practice.

Corporations have been behaving like religious institutions for a long time, demanding full obedience with the threat of excommunication. Corporations try to pretend our co-workers are our family to manipulate us into devoting an ever-increasing amount of time and energy into making its top members wealthier. They suck up our leisure time with team-building exercises and retreats, happy hours and “personal development” that are totally not mandatory but you’ll be marked as antisocial if you try to avoid them. They track our health and exercise routines, disguising surveillance as care. Corporations like Google offer their employees things like transportation, laundry services and food. And now they want our souls, too. The goal is to make it all the harder to leave or ask for more money, and to enable a self-enforced sense of obedience. After all, if you drunk-tweet something off-color during the few hours you have to yourself and you get fired for it, it’s not just your income you will lose: security will come to escort you off the premises of your entire life.

Jobs are not supposed to bring us enlightenment. The late anthropologist and anarchist David Graeber revealed that 40% of us feel like our jobs are meaningless, that our employment means nothing to ourselves nor to the functioning of the world.  

Let us not feel grateful for our exploitation. If we have to play a spiritual role in front of our boss, let it be that of the heretic.

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