The Myth of Productivity


原视频:The Myth of Productivity
视频作者:Sisyphus 55
@RosalindPeters: ‘If we can’t live a life fulfilled, we can live a life filled full.’ Absolute BARS

  • P.S."BARS"这里是一种俚语,用来表示某人说出了非常出色或有力的话。起源于说唱音乐文化的术语,指的是说唱歌曲中的歌词或音乐的一部分,通常表示特别出色或令人印象深刻的内容,具体请见这个话题回答

@comi.d7873: His version of "'focusing on the journey rather than the finish line'' by saying that we don't enjoy songs by how long they go on for, we enjoy them while we play them "' gives me a more clear understanding than the former because i can now relate it better.

正如视频所说,有段时间里我很喜欢用便签弄个To-do list,希望笔在纸上划完一条条待办事项后,了却一身杂事!偷得浮生“半日闲”!Once I got things done,便可内心畅快!人生轻松!Me time我来了!然而在践行这个美好计划中,我逐渐发现这只是个不切实际的想法。总会有新的事情出现,it hits me every time that there's always one more thing to do,这个问题被Oliver Burkman称作Efficiency Trap,即便你效率很高,very hardworking and productive,也无法确保你就能跳出“杂事”之外,不在“忙碌”之中!因为life is just an endless series of problems。那我们为什么还总是迷恋于productivity,to-do lists and plans?Well, because we want to have control over the future, we want certainty.迷恋productivity的本质或许是我们在逃避未知,我们实际上迷恋的是确然性certainty。当然,追求productivity无可厚非,局部时间里的productivity没什么,有问题的是把productivity放在人生整个时间里,Productivity成了人生信条,instrumentalizing time by exerting control over it by planning for the future optimizing our schedules and systemizing our existence成了人生手段, 坚信这样我们就可以have control over the uncertainty of life,这样就有问题了。这种mindset容易导致——"Soon your sense of self-worth gets completely bound up with how you're using your time: it stops being merely the water in which you swim and turns into something you feel you need to dominate or control, if you're to avoid feeling guilty panicked or overwhelmed."互联网的出现更是加重了这种mindset,比如小红书、bilibili等等平台的一些学习贴、打卡贴posts,似乎我们要Read every Book, See every Landmark, Try every Cafe and so on. If we can't live a fulfilled life, we can at least live a life filled full.

  • 这种mindset似乎也与工具理性有关,如果你不清楚工具理性是什么,工具理性韦伯提出的重要概念,韦伯认为,人类的理性可以区分成两种不同类型,一种叫工具理性,一种叫价值理性。工具理性是做什么的?它的作用是找到做事的手段,就是一件事怎么做才是最有效的。工具理性的关键在于“计算”:针对确定的目标,计算成本和收益,找到最优化的手段。工具理性不关心目的,只关心达成目的的手段是不是最优的。之前看到一句话说这个世界正在工具理性化,高度重视理性计算,永无止境的追求高效率。
  • Productivity, To-do list, plans, Read every book, See every Landmark等等易于量化,易于计算,是工具理性发挥作用的好材料,也是互联网传播的好材料,所以容易go viral on Internet,比如A看了本年度10本书,B看了8本书,10>8,simple math,又或者A高考680分,B高考620分,680>620,简单易懂。而直面人生,问自己存在的意义是什么?我是谁?我要到哪里去?这种问题却不是工具理性能够轻松回答的。我们似乎在“滥用”工具理性去追逐Productivity,借此逃避我们不想面对的人生课题。
  • “韦伯认为,工具理性的滥用导致了一个显著的后果,就是社会制度的官僚化:不仅是在政府,而且在社会的各个领域,包括学校、军队、公司……官僚制这种组织形式占据了重要地位。”目前来看,我更觉得工具理性滥用和社会制度官僚化互为因果,巨量的人口让我们不得不官僚化,而官僚化就容易导致工具理性滥用,工具理性滥用再反过来巩固社会制度官僚化。而“哲学家们只是用不同的方式解释世界,问题在于改变世界”,知道了这种情况,但如何改变呢?
  • 这段似乎写的有点长了,都快喧宾夺主了,再想深入了解工具理性,可以参考《刘擎西方现代思想讲义》第一章07节工具理性会带来什么问题。

"Burkman notes that this pathological quest to do more and more is all really just an act of Escape", 我们在尝试着avoid ever asking ourselves whether we're on the right path.


The more firmly you believe it ought to be possible to find time for everything, the less pressure you'll feel to ask whether any given activity is the best use for a portion of your time.

We never are truly in the present. We never have to face the fact that we can only do one thing at a time. We don't have to accept that we are limited but the fact is plainly put that there isn't enough time to do everything. 实际上我们的时间很少,我们没有足够的时间去做完所有事,用大量的事件去让自己忙碌往往只是为了麻痹自己不去问”为什么我要做这些?我真的想做这些吗?我在好好利用自己的时间吗?“等等问题。我们的人生大约只有4000周左右,但是a useful way to look at this isn't that we necessarily have 4,000 weeks rather we are those 4,000 weeks. In other words, we don't have time but instead we are time. As Heidegger argued


Our being is tied to our finitude, to our inevitable demise

To be human for him is to exist temporally. We are literally that limited amount of time between birth and death. Or in the words of the Argentine philosopher Jorge Luis Borges


Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me but I am the fire.

我们所做的许多事都是为了不去直面这么个可怕的事实:人生有限。As Burkman expertly argues


these truths about the uncontrollability of the past and the unknowability of the future explain why so many spiritual traditions seem to converge on the same advice: that we should aspire to confine our attentions to the only portion of time that really is any of our business - this one, here in the present.

Unfortunately, we experience most of our present as something to get through. We cultivate a when I finally mentality that tells us we're not allowed to be satisfied here and now. We're working towards something later, something better. Rarely do we do something for itself to finally settle, to say this is enough or at the very least spend some time on a hobby that is just fun to do is to say no to many other possible futures. Marriage or choosing that degree might feel like the death of a million alternative futures. But that's because we carry the irrational idea that we can somehow experience all of those futures. what is so wrong with settling?



Burkman reminds us of how good it feels on the other side of indecision when we finally make a choice


when you can no longer turn back, anxiety falls away, because now there's only one direction to travel: forward into the consequences of your choices.



Burkeman views time as a different resource from money whereas money is valued in terms of quantity. Time is valuable in terms of network value, that is how many other people have access to it and how well their portion is coordinated with yours.

By accepting our limitations, we can even begin to make more meaningful decisions that go beyond merely getting everything done. We begin to cultivate patience, the antithesis of modern-day productivity. Firstly, we accept that a life devoid of problems isn't much of a life at all. All of the fun is in the tension, in the challenges, in surprising ourselves when we rise to the occasion. Knowing that the day of no more problems will never actually come, we learn to appreciate the process process of going through each problem and embrace an approach of radical incrementalism which Burkeman defines as accepting the limited control you have over the speed of an outcome.

You'll never feel fully prepared. You'll never get everything done nor should you want to. Stop waiting around for the right moment and look at what you've been doing. Your life is now. And eventually it will not be, you will not be. So what can you do to make the most of these 4,000 weeks, not for society, not for anyone else, but for you.