The Pleasant Embrace of Fear

The good doctor is back at Quadrant with another interesting philosophical essay about the Chinese coronavirus and its possible economic, social, and cultural ramifications. This is an alluring read to kick off the weekend and we also have the weekly Dalrymple Takimag column hitting the presses tomorrow.

If taken seriously, not only offices, but millions of journeys to offices, would become unnecessary, pollution would decline and leisure time would increase. This latter would be a disaster, since most people do not know what to do with themselves as it is. It is for this reason that work is not arranged as efficiently as possible, but its productive aspect is diluted by myriad unnecessary tasks—unnecessary, that is, from the narrow point of view of production. Except in the factories of the East, where production is all, a great deal of work is designed to keep us occupied while we produce nothing. It ameliorates boredom and prevents the bad behaviour in which boredom results.

One thought on “The Pleasant Embrace of Fear

  1. Rebekah Valerius

    “It is for this reason that work is not arranged as efficiently as possible, but its productive aspect is diluted by myriad unnecessary tasks—unnecessary, that is, from the narrow point of view of production. Except in the factories of the East, where production is all…”

    Ah, such a curmudgeon! 🙂 My cranky father says the same.

    Then, I do my daughterly duty and remind him that we are not machines and it is wonderful that we are not treated as such (as they are in the East). Yes, much is unnecessary from the narrow standpoint of a mechanistic perspective, but it might be more than necessary from the immensely broad vistas of human flourishing. Indeed, it might be indispensable!

    My father only smiles in response. In my opinion, his crankiness, though quite unproductive in itself, is tremendously necessary for his flourishing. And it gives me something to do in countering it, relieving my boredom. 😉

    Like Dalrymple, I’ve been a little too obsessed with the statistics, and, like him, I agree that until the dust settles, whenever that may be, we most likely will not know if this has been a massive overreaction or gross underreaction. I tend to the former belief, too, and I am not a curmudgeon, I’ll have you know!

    Reply

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