August 19, 2009

Pedantry ahoy!

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:19 pm by Iain

Sometimes, late at night, I think about things. Lots of things. Sometimes I think about myself. Sometimes I think about my abstract self. Sometimes I just think about how much I wish I had a kitty (I think about kitties a lot). Most times though, I just think about how much I want to discuss what I’m thinking about. So here is the first of hopefully an indefinitely long series on: hey you, look at what I’m thinking about.

Episode One: Work

A lot of prominent historical work concerns itself with the study of “work.” How we construct the idea of what is work and what isn’t, what constitutes as “true” work, and the role labor plays in our society, or rather, the lack of it. It’s all incredibly stimulating and probably interesting enough to have its own entry, but you never really fully understand what it means to be busy with work until you literally do nothing for an extended period of time.

And conveniently enough, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. Nothing. Almost fourteen days now of unremitting boredom.

I’ve dabbled in photography. I’ve taken countless walks, runs and bike rides, (and subsequently nearly explored Cedar Falls in its entirety). I’ve cooked five different types of curries. I’ve conjured, and quickly abjured my passions for: playing frisbee, continuing my research, photography, and curries; I was even able to go climbing at the end of it all. But each time I tried to do something, I could always feel in the back of mind that the few things I did were always just paltry bandages for the festering wound. Mediated choices for a quixotic respite. Escapism.

You see, as depressing as it may seem, work is life. You could easily argue that from our primordial ancestors, to the rise of Islam, to Darfur, and back again, living is work, and work facilitates living. And once you break that cycle, you flounder. Look to the slums of any country and see what unemployment has wrought. Try to understand what could possibly motivate a jobless husband to beat his beloved wife. I have issues with this article, but I am being passive aggressive.

Even the spiritual realm has the tell-tale signs of labor soiling its immaculate edges. Try to rationally explain the creation of something like indulgences, the literal purchase of the afterlife, without work as your primary actor (the profit motive is not a correct answer). Not buying it?  Perhaps an emphasis on life’s work, rather than pure faith might change your opinion.

So without work you have no life. But with only work you certainly aren’t living. Living is photographing forgotten streams, panting through too long bike rides, and climbing up 35 foot tall boulders. Living is making your life more than life.

But how do you decide when to live and when to have a life? What is it that makes life so necessary? And how is importance attached to living once your life has been fulfilled?

…Maybe I’ll think about that later.



  1. work with all of our passion is the best way to achieve the best in the future

  2. Pon said,

    Wow, you have a HUGE vocabulary, or maybe mine just sucks.
    Im sad to see that you have adjured (I didn’t know what that word mean, so I looked it up) those passions, especially frisbee. I hope and pray that there is something you can find lasting enjoyment in!

  3. mike e said,

    ian. where are the pictures. cripes!

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