The anthropologist and anarchist activist David Graeber died September 2 at the age of 59. For those of us who loved the way his books and essays opened up our minds and made us look at the world in a different way, his death was a terrible loss.
Fortunately, he had recently finished a book co-written with David Wengrew, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, which will be out next year.
A few years back, I wrote an appreciation of his book Bullshit Jobs, so I’m sharing a slightly revised version of that here.
My favorite passage from Bullshit Jobs comes in Graeber’s description of normal human work patterns:
[M]ost people who have ever existed have assumed that normal human work patterns take the form of periodic intense bursts of energy, followed by relaxation, followed by slowly picking up again toward another intense bout.
Graeber, who was a professor, goes on to note that this is the “traditional student’s pattern of lackadaisical study leading up to intense cramming before exams and then slacking off again” — a pattern he calls “punctuated hysteria” – and argues that this is what humans do if allowed to follow their own devices. Continue reading “David Graeber: May His Memory Be a Revolution”…