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The Cult of Productivity

samosborn profile image Sam Osborn ・1 min read

To draw out.
To lead on.
To lengthen.

Productivity, from it's Latin, is the drawing out, the leading out, the lengthening of a thing from it's originary place. We are steeped in adoration for it. Unable, often, to to maximize the other variables of our economy, the wizards of our capitalism have focused on productivity. It's an enchanted buzz-word fetishized by talking heads on youtube and an iconography of clipart hands and meaningless arrows. So we've set about making the landscape around us more fertile: ambient lo-fi Spotify playlists plow the fields we let fallow overnight to restorative rituals of yoga and online-shopping-as-self-care. Little careless consumerist steps to eek out every drop of productivity from our nitrogen-fixed lives. But this is not a bettering-of, a finishing-of, a making-of; productere is elongation. Our work becomes a litch-like parody of itself: neither living, nor able to die. We are absolutely antagonistic to discrete accomplishment as we search for ways to work more productively. We draw it out, ever longer, never better, into a place that work does not belong.

All works of quality are final in their completion. All days of harvest are followed by evenings of rest. All of the good works we do must end...

tamen producentur


Cultus is always distinguishable from industry, even when the worshipper's motives are most sordid and his notions most material; for in religious operations the changes worked or expected can never be traced consecutively.
-George Santayana, Reason in Religion

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