This edition of my COVID-19 Diaries features a two-part
anecdotal poem on ‘not working’, combining fragments of conversations and dialogues collected over the past three weeks.
1st July 2020 – PART ONE
“I hate work.”
“I love working.”
“I love work but it’s killing me.”
“I hate work but it’s saving me.”
My friend is 30 and being awarded her ‘Ten Years of Servitude’ new year from the bread company she works for. “I don’t know what it means”, she said.
servitude /ˈsəːvɪtjuːd/ Learn to pronounce
1. the state of being a slave or completely subject to someone more powerful.
“you’ve got thousands of years of peasant servitude to make up for”
The Freelancer is receiving ‘Ten Years of Serfdom!’ from Fiverr. A special badge, shaped like a gold star and bursting with shards, that they can put on their platform portfolio to make it “really stand out”. For ten days it will appear as the top search result. After that, it’s back to the whim of the algorithm.
This is the third post in my Premonition series.
Premonitions are a series of critical foresights by Ruth Les. The scenarios and ideas are concerned with possibilities, not probabilities. ‘…We should not be confined by the probable. We should discover the possibility hidden in the present.’ – Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi
Permission for Pessimism
‘PERMISSION GRANTED. BUT NOT TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT’
– John Cage
‘Two kinds of pessimism: “The end is near” and “Will this never end?’
― Eugene Thacker
A Premonition for Pessimism
In our emergence from life during COVID-19 we will see new found respect for Pessimist thought. Long thrown from the scene, Pessimist philosophy will be taken seriously, and prior tyrannical ‘positive thinking’ taken in bad taste.
When we all became precarious cognitarians, freelancing our lives away in knowledge work, the abstraction of our worlds was all consuming. Though we were workers, we were not standing in lines of industrial production. What we produced was immaterial, and abstract. The main thread of capitalism’s own evolution is ongoing abstraction. We communicated not offline or face to face, but through abstracted means. The angle of this communication took pronounced ‘positive’ positions. Something Positive is a site set up during the pandemic to present solely positive news about it. Click the button ‘More Positive Vibes’ for continuous hits of feel-good developments; Apple says contractors will be paid during COVID-19 shutdown (Wall Street Journal), or, A rockhopper penguin at Chicago Shedd Aquarium makes unlikely friends with three Beluga whales (The Guardian).
Particularly speaking from experience in the creative industries, to not be explicitly positive was an employment death sentence. In the social scene too, negativity was not allowed. Who wants to hang around with Negative Nelly when you can be with Optimist Oli?