Reviews | “Lying Flat”: tired workers withdraw from careers and capitalism

Here in the hills, the new silence of my days, deepened by the loneliness of the pandemic, allowed me to observe the state of our planet in the year 2021 – and it seems to be on fire, as our oligarchs fly into space. From my perspective down here on the mat, I see a system that even if it returns to “normal” I have no interest in joining, a system that is starting to unravel.

The movement lying flat, or tanging as it is called in Mandarin, is only one expression of this overall outcome. Another is the current labor shortage in the United States. As of June, there were more than 10 million job openings in the United States, according to the most recent Labor Department figures – the highest number since the government started tracking data ago two decades. While conservatives blame increased pandemic unemployment benefits, liberals retort that people to do want to work, but not for the pittance they earned before the pandemic.

Both could be true. But if low wages were all that was at stake, we would expect to see reluctant workers at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder and satisfied workers at the top. Instead, there are whispers of dissent at every level, including in the inner sanctuaries of Goldman Sachs, where investment banker salaries start at $ 150,000. According to a leaked internal investigation, junior analysts at the investment bank report they face “inhumane” conditions, working an average of 98 hours a week, forgoing showers and sleep. “I have lived with foster families,” said one respondent. “It’s probably worse.”

In the United States, black activists, writers and thinkers are among the clearest voices to express this spiritual malaise and its solutions, perhaps because they have borne the brunt of capitalism more than other groups in the United States. ‘Americans. Tricia Hersey, performance artist and founder of Nap Ministry, an Atlanta-based organization, is one of them. Ms Hersey says she discovered the power of naps during a grueling year of graduate school at Emory University, an experience that inspired her to bring the gospel of sleep to fellow African Americans whose the enslaved and persecuted ancestors were never able to rest properly. She argues that rest is not only resistance, it is also redress.

Ms. Hersey now leads events across the country focused on the transformative power of Rest, and she has influenced other black intellectuals, including Casey Gerald, author of the transcendent essay “The Black Art of Escape.” In it, Mr. Gerald reflects on a year he spent in what he calls an “act of disappearance,” lying flat in Texas, ignoring calls from friends and admirers to join them. in the fray of protest politics, to which he had come. seen as a sure path to self-annihilation. “Claim your inheritance,” urges Mr. Gerald. “Miss the moment. Go crazy, disappear, take a nap, take the day, drop a note. You’re free!”

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