Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Philosophy At The Office

Death and taxes are the only certainties in life, yet it's a damn good bet that at some stage you'll work what would be considered a meaningless job. Yet the workplace, apart from the bed you sleep in is the place where you spend most of your time. The people you work with you see more than your family and friends. Yet this is the modern privilege, this is the reward for advancing knowledge to such an extreme level that jobs completely superfluous to our survival needs are generated.

What I want to explore is certain philosophical issues, put into the context of being an office worker. Like most philosophy, it'll be 20% insight, 30% common sense, and 50% self-indulgence, but I want a place to contemplate such issues that confront me on a day-to-day basis. On a project that is like watching a head-on collision in slow motion, I still find myself caring about what is going on. As a junior developer, I find it is all beyond my control; yet I still feel an obligation to the process and a significance that belies my lowly status.

Like my sporadic book reviews, I expect this to be an intermittent addition to the blog. My occasional contemplates trying to make sense of what seems a senseless endeavour. I don't know what to expect from it all, I'm hoping that maybe by writing it out I'll learn something about myself. This blog is meant to be a splatter of a train of thought, externalised and formalised into something coherent. My hope out of all this is that I gain some insight into the whys that come up every time (and it is frequent) that I descend into a state of futility. There has to be something to make it all worthwhile....


Wowbagger said...

Kel, have you read The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton? If you haven't you should; it's clever, insightful and genuinely entertaining.

Of course, a lot of 'real' philosophers crtiticised it for being populist - but, if Pharyngula is anything to go by, offending certain philosophers is a) easy and b) inevitable whenever don't pay them the full respect they've convinced themselves they deserve.

Definitely check it out. It's out now in Popular Penguin so you can pick it up for $10 at pretty much any bookstore (and possibly $8 at Target).

Kel said...

I have not, I'll look into it. I saw a couple of his books in Dymocks today, thought The Pleasures And Sorrows Of Work would be interesting given what I want to undertake with this.

Those Popular Penguin books are great, it's great in principle and range.

Wowbagger said...

I just read The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work a month or so ago - it's good, but nowhere near as good as Consolations.... But possibly more on-topic.