Cultivating leisure. In a culture held in thrall to the Protestant work ethic, the concept of consciously cultivating a culture of leisure sounds suspect to many people, and conjures up images of frivolity and uselessness. One of the objections to unconditional basic income, for example, is the notion that too much leisure will lead to degeneracy. If people aren’t made to work for a living, so the argument goes, they’ll waste away in front of the computer or TV. The prevalence of this sort of rhetoric leaves us ill-equipped to understand what leisure time is, and why it is so valuable.
Leisure is much more than free time, and can in fact serve as a vital and oft-overlooked form of resistance to an ecocidal, genocidal, white supremacist, misogynist, homophobic, ableist, work-til-you-drop culture in which millions are structurally coerced into wage labor jobs for lack of viable alternatives.
Among the many reasons leisure has inherent value is that it provides freedom to do things that matter – things that we care about – whether or not they pay. What most of us call “work” is actually wage labor: selling our hours to employers in exchange for money to survive. A culture of leisure, by contrast, would provide freedom to work on our own terms, and to enjoy ample leisure as well.
On The Leisure Track: Rethinking the Job Culture is my in-progress book manuscript about the importance of cultivating a culture of leisure, and some of the tools and methods we can use to help us along the way:
- unconditional basic income
- decolonizing our time
- dismantling the Puritan work ethic and the ways we internalize it
- countering get-a-job nonsense
- embracing gift culture
- listening to the land
- properly valuing care work, housekeeping, and emotional labor
…and other cage-rattling to help build a world beyond ‘earning a living’.
Introduction: My Story
“I Need a Job, But I Don’t Want One”: On Earning a Living as Structural Violence
Paths of Least Resistance: Conventional Employment and the Lie of Financial Independence
Do What You Love, Lazy Bums Who Refuse to Work, and Other Lies of Job Culture
Decolonizing Our Time: Un-Jobbing and Unlearning the Protestant Work Ethic
“Is Nothing Sacred?” On Doing Nothing and Leisure as Resistance
Emotional Labor: A Feminist Valuation
Working in the Gift: Gift Culture, Basic Income, and Listening to the Land
Toward a World Beyond Earning a Living
(Originally posted on Patreon. If you appreciate this work and would like to see the manuscript completed sooner, please consider becoming a patron!)