"Many people are now spending huge portions of their lives at work that, they know, is not benefitting society."

Down with the work ethic, up with the play ethic


Sat, Dec 10th, 2016 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Albeit many argue against a Universal Basic Income (UBI), Peter Gray Ph.D. of Psychology Today thinks that this may be related to a culture that believes "people must work for what they get" and shuns "any serious plans for sharing wealth"; however, he argues, why not encourage play versus "doing useless or harmful jobs"? He is not alone in his thinking: Facebook is pledging $10 million for UBI research, and the Green Institute believes that UBI and shorter working weeks should "become serious policy options."

Look at little children, who haven’t yet started school and therefore haven’t yet had their curiosity and playfulness suppressed for the sake of work. Are they lazy? No. They are almost continuously active when not sleeping. They are always getting into things, motivated by curiosity, and in their play they make up stories, build things, create art, and philosophize (yes, philosophize) about the world around them. There is no reason to think the drives for such activities naturally decline with age. They decline because our schools, which value work and devalue play, drill them out of people; and then tedious jobs and careers continue to drill them out. These drives don’t decline in hunter-gatherers with age, and they wouldn’t decline in us either if it weren’t for all the work imposed on us.

Schools were invented largely to teach us to obey authority figures (bosses) unquestioningly and perform tedious tasks in a timely manner. In other words, they were invented to suppress our natural tendencies to explore and play and prepare us to accept a life of work. In a world that valued play rather than work, we would have no need for such schools. Instead, we would allow each person’s playfulness, creativity, and natural strivings to find meaning in life to blossom.

Work, pretty much by definition, is something we don’t want to do. [...]



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