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My Latest Quartz at Work Piece: Our Time Famine

The article begins as follows:

There’s just not enough time. You’re busy, hurried, harassed by What’s Next and by What Else. As you struggle to keep up, you vacillate between subscribing to more life hacking and throwing your hands up when faced with what you ironically call “the futility of life.” The nervous laughter you expend when you hear such a grand expression come out of your mouth does little to alleviate the burden you so achingly carry.

Sometimes you dream of getting off this treadmill of tasks, but you fear that, if you did, you’d be passed by and summarily forgotten.

Welcome to our “time famine.”

Time is, in our modern society, a scarcity, a “precious resource,” and the unspoken enemy that must be subdued. But this was not always so. At other moments in history, time was abundant. So what changed? How did time turn against us?

You can read the rest of the piece here.

The idea that Everyone Should Have a Job is so Common we Forget to Question it

My latest piece for Quartz at Work begins this way:

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “We must create full employment or we must create [basic, guaranteed] incomes.” More than 40 years later, we talk a lot about the last half of that statement: Technology entrepreneurs like Y Combinator’s Sam Altman and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes have campaigned for universal basic income (UBI)—the idea that everyone should receive a regular, unconditional, government-issued stipend that would be sufficient to cover one’s material needs—to the point at which it’s become a trendy topic.

There is much less talk about the philosophical underpinnings of King’s other idea—“full employment.”

This view that every able-bodied and able-minded adult should have—and, what’s more, should want to have—a job has become so widespread that it is almost invisible. In our work-obsessed society, most people would say that of course everyone should have a job….

But the claim, I believe, warrants just as much debate as UBI.

After we decouple the claim that “having a job” is an unalloyed good from the desires to survive, to leave some traces on the world, and to make a reasonable contribution to the lives of others, we might see that having a job is at least a sacrifice, if not a Faustian bargain.

You can read the piece in its entirety here.

‘I work therefore I am: why businesses are hiring philosophers’ Guardian Piece

I’m interviewed in this Guardian piece on philosophy and business. An excerpt:

A philosopher can nudge and question, take leaders on uncomfortable journeys, even be a disruptive force – and they should, suggests US-based Andrew Taggart, who consults for organisations in Silicon Valley on how to use philosophy in a practical context.

“Doing philosophy as a way of life is inherently challenging and can, at times, be deeply puzzling,” he says. “I see it as my responsibility to push you to think harder and much more clearly about yourself and the world.”

In the midst of business pressures, are you someone who will pursue the truth, even if it means discovering painful things about yourself? A tough question, especially when shareholders and HMRC are banging on the door for your quarterly accounts.

Finding Our Way Home: A 5-day Course in Sweden

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Byung-Chul Han, in his evocative book The Burnout Society, suggests that our hyperactive achievement society is leading many to deep fatigue and burnout. Not that long ago, Ivan Illich urged us instead to find hospitality in the face-to-face relationships that emerge when we take the time to eat and think with one another.

In “Finding Our Way Home,” Dougald Hine and I invite you to exit the burnout society by putting away your mobile phones, laptops, and other technology and to welcome the contemplative conviviality to be found among those choosing to devote themselves to speaking earnestly about what truly matters.

Join us for 5 days in Ängelsberg, Sweden, a small village a short train ride away from Stockholm, as we take part in slow conversations, deepen our understanding of our world, and develop practical skills and vital practices that we can take home with us.

Few spots remain open in the program, so if you’re keen on joining us, we invite you to inquire without delay.