With so little need for labor, people would have to figure out what to do with themselves: “For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem—how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won.”
Cos’è andato storto, e perché la nostra ricchezza non si è tradotta in più tempo libero a nostra disposizione? — al contrario, siamo (e ci sentiamo) sempre più occupati.
Keynes assumed that people work in order to earn enough to buy what they need. And so, he reasoned, as incomes rose, those needs could be fulfilled in ever fewer hours. Workers would knock off earlier and earlier, until eventually they’d be going home by lunchtime.
But that isn’t what people are like. Instead of quitting early, they find new things to need. Many of the new things they’ve found weren’t even around when Keynes was writing—laptops, microwaves, Xboxes, smartphones, smart watches, smart refrigerators, Prada totes, True Religion jeans, battery-powered meat thermometers, those gizmos you stick in the freezer and then into your beer to keep it cold as you drink it.
Un’economista svedese, Staffan B. Linder, delineò nel 1970 uno scenario che sembra più vicino ai nostri giorni — un consumo simultaneo (multitasking?) di prodotti:
Back in 1970, a Swedish economist named Staffan B. Linder coined the phrase “the harried leisure class.” Linder argued that as people became wealthier they would inevitably feel more squeezed, because they would feel compelled to consume more and more goods per unit of free time. One way they’d accomplish this, he predicted, is through an increase in “simultaneous consumption.” Linder envisioned his harried protagonist “drinking Brazilian coffee” while “smoking a Dutch cigar, sipping a French cognac, reading The New York Times, listening to a Brandenburg Concerto and entertaining his Swedish wife.”
Today, our multitasker might be nursing a Belgian craft beer while nibbling on sushi, reading The Economist, listening to Lorde, and booking tickets to visit his girlfriend in Stockholm, but you get the picture.
Sull’argomento Bridigd Shulte, reporter del Washington Post, ha scritto un saggio: “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time”. Fra le teorie — lo status sociale che ci conferisce il sembrare e apparire agli occhi altrui occupati — c’è l’idea che spesso ci sentiamo sopraffatti non tanto perché abbiamo troppe cose da fare, ma perché continuiamo a pensare a tutto quello che abbiamo da fare:
A doctor who’s running through the list of groceries she needs to pick up on the way home is not actually any busier than one who’s concentrating on the task at hand, but she may feel more beleaguered.
Un concerto di Ólafur Arnalds da un ostello islandese (Reykjavik). La sua musica è bellissima, e lui è pure divertente.
“[T]here is the suspensive freedom that comes by walking, even a simple short stroll: throwing off the burden of cares, forgetting business for a time.”
L’articolo di Orion Magazine dedicato ai polipi, meravigliose e strane creature:
Here is someone who, even if she grows to one hundred pounds and stretches more than eight feet long, could still squeeze her boneless body through an opening the size of an orange; an animal whose eight arms are covered with thousands of suckers that taste as well as feel; a mollusk with a beak like a parrot and venom like a snake and a tongue covered with teeth; a creature who can shape-shift, change color, and squirt ink. But most intriguing of all, recent research indicates that octopuses are remarkably intelligent.
Il The Atlantic ha scritto un articolo sull’urofobia, l’ansia di andare in bagno davanti ad altre persone:
Many people suffer some degree of anxiety about going to the bathroom when others are present. Paruresis, or “pee-shyness” is classified as a social anxiety disorder in the DSM-V, the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic guide. It’s a sort of performance anxiety, a fear of being scrutinized by others while you go. […]
Existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, in his book Being and Nothingness, wrote about the self-consciousness that can arise when one feels like one is being watched: “What I apprehend immediately when I hear the branches crackling behind me is not that there is someone there; it is that I am vulnerable, that I have a body which can be hurt….in short, that I am seen.”