Abolish Work

Abolish Work
21st September 2016 Laurence Shorter

I wish to do away with the idea of work.

Work is a word that immediately creates an idea – I need to be productive.

‘I’m going to work now, darling’ means – this is serious. I’m going into a mode of goals, production and outcomes. Don’t disturb me.

Then you go to a meeting and queue up outcomes in your head, so that listening becomes second priority to getting things done and you don’t have to be in the weird, vulnerable space of having no idea at all what’s going on or what’s going to come.

Teachers of manliness will say: boundaries are vital. The masculine needs to create and defend structure. This creates space for the sacred feminine to do its dance of inspiration. Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, doing work in this world requires to-do lists, goals and desks.

I say balls.

The feminine comes first, then the masculine. Space and emptiness, then form and structure. Nothingness, then somethingness. God, then the universe.

Meaning – if you wish to create the best possible life, the most idealised forms, the most exceptional ideas infused with the energy of inspiration and possibility; if you want to change this world, you first need to be creative.

Which means being open, having no goal. Which means allowing unstuctured time. Which means not ‘working’. And this is something we rarely allow ourselves in the great office of life.

So I’m not anti-work; I’m anti the idea of work that we have.

Unless you’re a creative. Creatives have known how to ‘work’ for ever. John Cleese once spoke in a masterclass on creativity of a continuous movement between anarchic playing and serious editing. The artist Cy Twombly used to sit every morning in his studio for hours before painting a stroke. WB Yeats wrote of the silent, floating mind of Michaelangelo and the warrior Julius Caesar as they waited for their world-changing designs to emerge from nothingness.

So don’t work. Please. Not unless you want to replicate the same old world again and again and again. Which as you know is quite ready for a change. Do your admin, pay bills and arrange meetings (after doing nothing). But don’t work. Start with stilless, rest your mind, wait. Then wait some more. Then wait.

Then do something.

But don’t work.

Comments (5)

  1. lisa weaver 8 years ago

    Love your book! Huge help for me right now in this moment! Thank you ❤

    • Laurence 7 years ago

      Lovely, thank you – I just saw this.

  2. Mr Neil P Morbey 7 years ago

    Just read your book. I agree. It’s also sweet and charming. Well done… good WORK!!!

    I shall promote it on my website www positively-mindful.com and pay it forward

  3. Deborah K. Symons 7 years ago

    Wonderful, I read it twice already, and very time it leaves me Reeeeeally relaxed! Much needed because I am a controller+must-fix-everything+ I judge others person (lol) and I need to LET go. When I read a book like your I just DO. The way you explain the “letting go” is just great.
    And, I love to draw so I love the drawings as well!

  4. Raphael 6 years ago

    Well said! Jo and I read your book cover to cover, together, a couple of days ago. Beautifully written and such a lovely simple, free and expressive style of illustration from Magalie. Then we wrapped it back up and gave it on to friend who has been feeling rather ‘overworked’;)

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