The industrial age worked hard to separate “work” from “home.” Everything about the common or public schools started in the mid-nineteenth century reinforced that division: from the school bell ringing for each child at the same time of day, of each child entering school at age 6 whether they were ready or not, about sitting in tidy rows, and, then, later, in the early twentieth-century, all the new ways of measuring success: IQ tests, multiple choice tests. Around the same time came specialization of disciplines, the “two cultures” divide of arts and humanities versus science and technology, professional schools, and on and on. All these metrics and institutions put an emphasis on standardization over standards, uniformity over idiosyncratic creativity, and working in a linear pattern towards a goal. Everything about work (beginning with the physical structure of the office building or the assembly line and going to Human Resources departments that structure and enforce uniform regulations) was structured to maintain those separations.
We now live in a world where work and leisure are impossibly intermixed and conjoined, at our desktops, on planes, in airports, at picnics, over the dinnertable. We need new rules and new norms and new standards for the world we live in now. What we do not need is nostalgia for the practices developed 150 years ago for a world that no longer is relevant to the way we live now. —Its Not the Technology, Stupid! Response to NYT “Twitter Trap” | HASTAC.
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