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Monday, 30 November 2015

West's Fatal Addiction to Compulsive Work Ethic

Addicted to Distraction

By Tony Schwartz, Nov. 28 2015 (LINK to article)

This is an excellent and important piece, many of the negative aspects of which I recognise in myself and others.

Why are we driven to distraction? And isn't reading also often just a distraction?

Distinguishing between what is compulsive and what isn't can be difficult, and compulsive isn't always bad. Charles Darwin was a compulsive collector of things, without which he would not have become the renowned scientist he did.

I'm reminded of the hilarious film, The Gods Must Be Mad, in which the compulsive activity of white South Africans is contrasted with the much healthier activity of indigenous Bushmen.

On the other hand, is it not this very compulsiveness which drove Europeans to create western civilisation?

The Germans are particularly compulsive when it comes to work (I know, because I lived in Germany for many years), but it has played no small role in making them so wealthy and "successful". Sometimes I felt like tapping them on the shoulder and pointing out that they had succeeded in rebuilding their country after the war and could now relax a little, but it would have had no effect. Their work ethic is compulsive, distracting them from, what exactly? Themselves? Reality?

Trouble is, we have made a virtue of a compulsive work ethic, seeing the material wealth  it results in as some absolute good.

We tend to admire East Asians, because they can be even more compulsive and driven than "successful" white people are, but perhaps we should question

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