Against Productivity

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In the end my trip to Puerto Rico didn’t turn out how I’d hoped. I barely wrote anything. I complained to myself about myself a lot. I took a lot of long walks and so-so pictures. I edited part of a book, but that didn’t take long. I sat around getting both anxious and bored from how little I had gotten done. I had no idea how vital that time was when it was passing.

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We dream now of making Every Moment Count, of achieving flow and never leaving, creating one project that must be better than the last, of working harder and smarter. We multitask, we update, and we conflate status with long hours worked in no paid overtime systems for the nebulous and fantastic status of being Too Important to have Time to Ourselves, time to waste. But this incarnation of the American dream is all about doing, and nothing about doing anything good, or even thinking about what one was doing beyond how to do more of it more efficiently. It was not even the surrenders to hedonism and debauchery or greed our literary dreams have recorded before. It is a surrender to nothing, to a nothingness of lived accounting.

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