Starting up work again

As always after a holiday break, it was odd starting up work again. It’s hard to get back into the groove after not having to be on a schedule for a while. It reminds me of the difference between the theories of Lunacharsky and Bakhtin. Both had theories regarding the place of culture and humanity. Summarizing very broadly and generally, Lunacharsky argued a “pressure release” theory of culture, statehood, and work: the right and correct place of a state is to organize and structure daily life, and people just need to let off a little steam once in a while to be happy; Bakhtin, on the other hand, argued a theory of the carnivalesque, where the true nature of humanity is unrestricted play, which is hampered daily by such pesky concepts as states and structure. So, to play is to return to our true state of being.

Coming back after a holiday break, I feel a similar struggle inside. Which is the real state of being? Is work an interruption of my life where I want to pursue my own goals, or is holiday and interruption of my life where I struggle to contribute to the state? The concept that a holiday is a break from work suggest that work is the mainstay, but it’s odd to consider that this is a very capitalist structure: I am demanded to work by virtue of the capitalist system requiring me to attain its currency so I can have value for the state. Yet, if I choose to go all Thoreau and decide not to be a part of the state and just provide for myself, the state (and capitalist system) would prevent me from doing so (I would be hard pressed to find a geographical space in Europe that isn’t controlled by a state). So, do I even have freedom in that respect?

It’s the old “work to live versus live to work” struggle. Oh, and don’t get me started on “find me a job I like and I never have to work a day in my life”.

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