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Step 8: Vita Activa

The cognitariat and categories of activity

We are still hammering on Tom Sawyer as the cognitive laborer. We discuss briefly what the heck that means in a capitalist society, which amounts to “working while you sleep.” This drives us more into this classic categorical distinction between the physical and mental.

In Hannah Arendt’s “The Human Condition” she brings up the vita contemplativa and the vita activa, or the Active Life and the Contemplative Life. Typically, the contemplative life has been championed throughout time, even though modernism arguably championed the active life, but we discuss how Arendt re-invigorates it by offering 3 subcategories that draw attention back to the Active Life: work, labor, action.

Ryder then stops to consider the ways categories are used to create hierarchy and simplify information into rational frameworks that allow for ease of understanding and notice distinction in our lives. The biggest issue for Ryder with these categories is that they become insidious mind worms impacting the way you function, and it requires more categories to dislodge the old categories.


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References/Resources

Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” and the picket fence [link]

Hannah Arendt “The Human Condition” [link]

By Ryder Richards

Ryder is an artist based in Texas who happens to do other things, like reading, writing, and woodworking.

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