For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Aggressiveness in Advanced Industrial Societies, in Negations

by Marcuse, H (1968)

Key Passage

The limits will soon make themselves felt, for example, if the mental strains and stresses of the patient are caused, not merely by certain bad conditions in his job, in his neighborhood, in his social status, but by the very nature of the job, the neighborhood, the status itself – in their normal condition. Then making him normal for this condition would mean normalizing the strains and stresses, or to put it more brutally: making him capable of being sick, of living his sickness as health, without his noticing that he is sick precisely when he sees himself and is seen as healthy and normal. This would be the case if his work is, by its very nature, “deadening,” stupefying, wasteful (even though the job pays well and is “socially” necessary) (p.188)


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