27 May 2009

Work and life

John Naughton quotes a delightful (1959) essay by C. Wright Mills, "On Intellectual Craftmanship" in which he (Naughton) sees the origins of blogging. Included is this paragraph:

“set up a file, which is, I suppose, a sociologist’s way of saying: - keep a journal. Many creative writers keep journals; the sociologist’s need for systematic reflection demands it. In such a file as I am going to describe, there is joined personal experience and professional activities, studies under way and studies planned. In this file, you, as an intellectual craftsman, will try to get together what you are doing intellectually and what you are experiencing as a person. Here you will not be afraid to use your experience and relate it directly to various work in progress. By serving as a check on repetitious work, your file also enables you to conserve your energy. It also encourages you to capture “fringe-thoughts”: various ideas which may be by-products of everyday life, snatches of conversation overheard on the street, or, for that matter, dreams. Once noted, these may lead to more systematic thinking, as well as lend intellectual relevance to more directed experience.”

Yes, that's about it.

Elsewhere the paper talks about the need to combine work and life (i.e. not create boundaries between the two). I know very few people who don't combine the two, all lucky enough to be working in what you might loosely call intellectual or creative professions. I wonder whether their 'life' (in the form of their family) really appreciates or benefits from this fusion.

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