Friday, June 24, 2005


So I was thinking today, today being wondrous Friday and having just partaken of CWC (Coffee With Colleagues), about the ideal work-week. Thomas Moore had it right like 300 years ago, when he wrote "Utopia" (which, by the way, means "No Place"), and no one has gotten it right since.

Some highlights of his sociological philosophy:

6-hour work days. He recognized that people are no more productive in 10-12 hour days than they are in 6 hour days. So make the working day but 6 hours long, and use the rest of the time for community and family involvement.

Cycle duties periodically. Work in one area (say farming) for 6-12 months, and then cycle through into carpentry, logging, administration, governance, art or architecture. This expands the knowledge-base of all members of society, and allows them to gain a heightened understanding of the efforts required in all tasks. This in turn allows societies to make informed decisions concerning the administration/governing of those roles.

Anyway, lots of great ideas in that short book (120 pages, methinks), most of which I can't remember since it's been 5 years since I read it. I might have to dig it up again after I move.

There have been a number of "utopian" books written, academic as well as novels: The Republic (Plato), The Prince (Machiavelli), Utopia (Moore), We (Zamyatin), etc. But the only one to really come across as common-sensical (to me, anyway) was Utopia. Of the distopian novels, the only one worth reading is "We". In 1954 (I think) George Orwell flagrantly plagerized that entire novel and re-named it "1984". Then Huxley (don't ever touch "Doors of Perception" with a 10-foot pole, by the way) just knocked off another version, and after him, the world of distopian literature more or less died as readers grew weary with the lowly hero rising rising... oh, he's gunna make it!! ....dead (or otherwise shut down).

Just some random thoughts for the moment as I look forward to having a week off. Huzzah!

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