Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Don't have to do

William S. Burroughs in his book (with Daniel Odier) "The Job" describes a de-conditioning exercise called "dont't have to do".  No lessons, no books, no work to be done.  It starts by mocking up a way of thinking you have to do - for example a set of errands or a speech before an audience you need to impress - and then a way of thinking you don't have to do - for example based on a person whose way of life is completely different from your own - what did Dutch Schultz the gangster have to do?  This exercise, borrowed from Scientology, is intended to loosen up enforced ways of thinking.

You wind up understanding that you don't have to do anything.  Even abandoning language and words and just seeing and relaxing.  You can't work at it (or write blog posts about it) as that would be doing something. "Its a way you would think if you didn't have to think up a way of thinking you don't have to do".

I've been out of the workforce for 4 weeks now and thinking about these ideas. I still feel compelled to do things - even if they are non-work things.  I still dislike the idea of "wasting time".  Forty years in the workforce does that to you.  Of course I don't want to wander around like a middle-aged spaced out hippy appreciating the great orgasmic nothingness of it all.  But I do want to become a little less driven and more inclined to recognise the value of "don't have to do".

Don't have to prepare for classes, don't have to go to the gym, don't have to play golf, don't have to read Proust, don't have to...

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