Radical political projects have only made suggestions that alter the organization of labor in the world, but it misses the problem: production itself. Production is an ideological and technological apparatus that all of our waking life is deposited into. Production is a techne of which we have not considered the logic. Labor is miserable. It is our inclination to defend labor, but let’s think about it a little more. We confuse our labor with other creative eruptions. We don’t need more work or a better job, we need to embrace the self-direction in poiesis, creation, imagination, generation and play. Why do we defend labor with such religious fervor? The liturgy of capitalist production has invaded us spiritually. Here, we ought not forget Jesus who tells us to “[C]onsider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” It is moments like these that our strong protestant work ethic makes anti-christs of us all.
Production itself is bodily and in turn a temporal procedure. Capitalist production occupies the space of kronos: this is the rhythmic time of everyday life. We wake up, work, eat lunch, work some more, and come home. However, telematics open up a kairotic entrance for capitalist production. Capitalism is not just a daily rhythm of work, but we live it moment to moment.
The working lunch is the new paradigm: in the eruption through karios, labor pursues workers throughout the world. Telematics mean that there is no such thing as being away from the keyboard; work connects to our bodies through our mobile devices and wireless networks. When labor is largely liberated from physical spaces, the standard of the eight-hour workday just dissipates into the background of so called progress and advancement.
Largely, the discourse surrounding the informationalization of labor is passé, what is left unconsidered is the architecture of the network that facilitates this informationialization. There is a larger intensity of network infrastructure in the west; the industrial or Fordist modes of production have fled the United States in search for cheaper labor elsewhere in the world. In its wake are administrative and “service” oriented fields. The west has reached a new bourgeois mode of production in the telematic administration of labor elsewhere in the world. Globalization has transformed the world into a system of production that perfects the division of labor and alienation as a technique of labor. The telematic medium creates circuits of labor between material and immaterial labor.
Activist attempts always come up short in making suggestions or trajectories of action that can deal with the global scale of production we find ourselves in. With a heavy dose of realism, we have to consider that there is nothing to do. Very seriously, I mean that the best politics may be in reimaging what it means to be social or political without production: exercise our abilities of laziness, love, creation, friendship, generation, poiesis or whatever else may offer up a cathartic outlet for our alienated life. This means doing nothing or withdrawing from production or to sublimate our passion through a joyful medium rather than toward a productive one. To be effective against the regimes of financial capitalism and computational fascisms, one has to practice a bodily politics and an embodied politics. This means withdrawing from the networked hegemony and in turn from the logic of production generally. No withdrawal is ever enough, but it also requires a turning toward something else.
To chill means to take it easy, to calm down and relax: to chill is to practice an open orientation toward our desires. Someone might make the demand for you to chill out, but this isn’t quite right: chilling out is something we ought to want. It is a way to escape from the inflow of the nervous energies of labor: it’s a time to unwind. To be chill is a self-directed relaxation. You can be lazy and be chill, but you might also chill out within another activity. Regardless, being chill is a disposition that is in opposition to capitalist production. Being chill requires a non-productive ethic. When you chill you’re not working, however it does not exclude creation.
Work is an overrated and played out concept for politics. We don’t just need more vacation time or higher wages; we need liberation from these mechanisms of oppression altogether. Only in withdrawing from labor can we find a way from alienation and exploitation. This is not even a call from labor toward struggle, but just a call to relax and unwind. Being in love, with friends, being creative and so on are far more preferable to struggle. Struggle is just as undesirable as labor.
Workers of the world