For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Genealogy of Morals

by Nietzsche, Friedrich (1989)

Key Passage

‘mechanical activity’ is a kind of ‘training’ that ‘alleviates’ an existence of suffering to a not inconsiderabledegree: this fact is today called, somewhat dishonestly, ‘the blessing of work’ … Mechanical activity andwhat goes with it – such an absolute regularity, punctilious and unthinking obedience, a mode of life fixedonce and for all, fully occupied time … how thoroughly the ascetic priest has known how to employ themagainst pain! When he was dealing with sufferers of the lower class, with work-slaves or prisoners … herequired hardly more than a little ingenuity in name-changing and re-baptizing to make them see benefitsand a relative happiness in things they formerly hated [work]. (p.134)


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