this is Simone Weil on work & activity

"No, the tragedy is that although the work is too mechanical to engage the mind it nevertheless prevents one from thinking of anything else ... I am still unable to achieve the required speeds, for many reasons: my unfamiliarity with the work, my inborn awkwardness, which is considerable, a certain natural slowness of movement, headaches, and a peculiar inveterate habit of thinking, which I can't shake off ... As for leisure, one has a good deal of it, theoretically, with the 8-hour day; but in practice one's leisure hours are swallowed up by a fatigue which often amounts to a dazed stupor."

"For the reality of life is not sensation but activity -- I mean activity both in thought and in action. People who live by sensations are parasites, both materially and morally, in relation to those who work and create -- who alone are men. And the latter, who do not seek sensations, experience in fact much livelier, profounder, less artificial and truer ones than those who seek them. Finally, as far as I am concerned, the cultivation of sensations implies an egoism which revolts me. It clearly does not prevent love, but it leads one to consider the people one loves as mere occasions of joy or suffering and to forget completely that they exist in their own right. One lives among phantoms, dreaming instead of living."

"This is what I ask you to do. If it happens some evening, or some Sunday, that you suddenly feel you don't want to go on bottling up your feelings for ever, take a pen and some paper. Don't try for fine-sounding phrases. Use the first words that come. And say what you feel about your work. Say if the work makes you suffer. Describe the suffering, moral as well as physical. Say if there are times when you can't bear it; if there are times when the monotony of the works sickens you; if you hate being always driven by the need to work fast; if you hate being always at the orders of the overseers. And say also if you enjoy the work and feel pride in labour accomplished. And if you manage to take an interest in your job, and if there are days when you have the pleasant feeling of working fast and earning good money. Or if you are sometimes able to work for hours like a machine, almost unconsciously, thinking of other things and losing yourself in pleasant dreams. Or if you sometimes feel glad to have nothing to do except carry out the work you are given, without having to worry your head ... Above all, say whatever comes into your mind, what ever is weighing on your heart ... Be quite sincere. Don't minimize or exaggerate anything, whether good or bad. I believe you will find a certain relief in speaking the unadulterated truth." 


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