Matt Perryman

Awful productivity advice

By Matt Perryman

At the gym this morning I was listening a podcast that was about our disembodied culture.

It’s a mindset thing. About how we think about everything as an abstract quantity.

You aren’t a “body”. You’re a measure of heart rate, blood pressure, brain waves, sodium and potassium balance, and a blinding constellation of other facts and figures that somebody in a labcoat can measure.

Focusing on all that stuff detaches you from your body.

The kicker is, it’s not like you’re going through the day consciously thinking like this.

It’s more about the fishbowl than the stuff floating around the water.

Pretty interesting stuff.

Between sets it got me thinking about how we’re always asking that question “But what is it good for?”

When would you ask that? Maybe you’ve got a young nephew who wants to do a degree in the humanities. “What’s that good for?”

Personally, I don’t think anybody should do a degree in the humanities, but that isn’t because humanities aren’t “good for” anything. They’re good for plenty, just not the six figures of non-dischargable debt and rainbow-haired indoctrination that comes with it in today’s university, with minimal job prospects.

I may be dumb but I’m not stupid.

Anyhow, “what is it good for?” is a hopelessly stupid question.

Anyone that would ask it is signalling that they won’t hear any good answers.

The only “good” that will convince that sort has to do with (a) how much time you spend moving around or (b) how much “stuff” you produce while moving around.

It’s about maximum busyness.

The more busy you are, the better you are as a person and the more “value” you create.

Nobody ever bothers to ask whether all this busyness makes anything worth wanting.

All this moving-around, working, making the numbers go up, being a good cog in ARE ECONOMY — are things really getting better for you and yours?

I have no quarrel with electric lights and indoor plumbing.

I’m referring to this notion that a life of colorless, fleshless quantities is the only life worth living.

Aristotle once pointed out the difference between that busyness, which is activity that makes stuff, and genuine action, which is done because it’s worth doing.

This is the difference between working 12 hour days in the drudgery of manual labor, versus the life of an artist who paints or sculpts.

One of them is truly active inside, and expressing it in the work.

The other soul is moving around, spending life and labor in exchange for “stuff”.

The trap is that almost all of us today are in that boat, even if the job has you in a cubicle working on a computer. It’s pointless busyness that makes nothing of value and provides no satisfaction.

You’re working to serve ECONOMY (PBUH), when the economy was supposed to serve human beings.

So many people drift in a half-awake hypnotic state that they’re never in a position to even notice what’s going on.

What is it good for?

For starters, you’re only ever alive and conscious when you’re in your body.

Camping out in abstractions, inside your own mind or on the consensus hallucinations of social media, literally disembodies you.

If there’s ever a case for exercising and getting outdoors, that’s what it is good for.

Matt Perryman

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