Excellent post. But I think you should explore the religious aspect a bit more. This idea of rest as a "project to be completed or an experience to be consumed" -- is it a solely modern techno-social phenomenon? If not where did this rupture start? There is a spiritual understanding of rest -- I am thinking of Sabbath. And also the idea off "self-restraint" which is common in various traditions and has relations to the idea of rest.

I will also suggest an excellent book _Evening's Empire

A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe_ by Craig Koslofsky (https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511977695) where he looks at the relationship between nighttime and society and this idea of "nocturnalization, defined as the ongoing expansion of the legitimate social and symbolic uses of the night”.

Also the idea of "technique", isn't that coming from Heidegger's notion of "techne" (is Ellul influenced by Heidegger?) Also the original idea of "techne" as art -- how does that related to rest? Sorry about the random questions but jotting down a few ideas that came about while reading this.

Looking forward to the next post in this series.

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Thanks for your writing. To me, reading your newsletter and Paul Kingsnorth´s is taking the the blue pill, (I think that was the colour) or seeing a bigger picture reality. My life is complex, currently nomadic. You could say meaningless if it wasn´t for my kids (who are older). I think if I had a job, I could be a slave to it and be 'happier' like the rest and fit in perhaps but I know in my heart that is no solution.

I have an engineering degree but have been mostly a stay-at-home mother in Europe, originally I am from South America, trying to fit in the system in the old continent which means I have been mostly invisible.

When I was much younger I was deeply impressed by a part of the book Zen and Psychoanalysis with Erich Fromm and one Suzuki, where Suzuki compares the Western and Eastern obsession with machines and with eliminating the human work. Now the East has changed, I imagine. The other thing the book mentioned as example was the difference in the way of looking at a flower by an Asian and by a Westerner. The obsession with analysis and reduction... Venezuela, my country I would say was damaged by the industrial machine due to the discovery of large amounts of oil early 1900´s. I don´t think the country never really matured in culture, which would have been hard anyway after a very harsh colonial history followed by independence battles and erratic dictatorships. When I grew up I felt the emptiness of culture there, especially with the crazy inequality and racism. I now live right in the middle of The Machine, in Europe. Currently passing a month or two in The Netherlands, it is shocking how we ordinary people, are seen as money trees and as deserving of warmth or consideration as robots really. This country becomes more inhuman by the day, unless perhaps one is in the right spot, which is not easy at all to know where that is.

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This installment had such an impact on me. Thank you.

I happened upon your work a few months ago in the midst of recalibrating my life from what it had been — based largely on what Ellul meant by “technique,” I’m afraid — to mothering. The thinking you present has provided a very helpful framework as I become more aware of the opposition between the two paradigms and figure out how I will move forward.

I find that mothering work, while not terribly restful, can resist technique. It could not be less robotic. It is fundamentally un-optimizable. (Except for how I can now accomplish what once took an entire day in about 90 minutes.)

I have been reading Modern Matriarchal Studies (Göttner-Abendroth), which redefines all work as spiritual practice and draws on The Gift Economy (Genevieve Vaughan) to recast economics from extraction and exploitation to nature’s logic of giving (based, I think, in abundance). They provide alternatives to our ways of doing and being. I think it’s related to Fermor’s point that rest becomes less necessary, or fundamentally changes, when a version of rest (perhaps embodiment?) pervades life.

Fermor also pointed to language’s technique-like qualities, or at least to its potential toll. My son is 15 months old. He’s starting to try on language — mostly “roar” and “arf” but also the occasional, cherished “mama.” It has me thinking about how language is a relatively recent development in our evolutionary history, and it shows in the 5+ years fluency seems to take. I was recently observing my 3-year-old niece who is an ostensibly fluent speaker, yet really does not connect deeply to the words she is using or hearing. I don’t think there is a “language barrier” between my son and the people he interacts with, especially anyone who knows him well. It makes me wonder: are we homo loquens or do we compulsively convert abstract, non-verbal, embodied experience into words?

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Utterly great post

Thanks Louis

Moloch is alive and well

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