Labour of love – on preoccupiedness

最近忙得無咩時間停下來咀嚼和書寫一下自己的感受,but it feels qualitatively different from a similar situation before in the sense that, what I am doing is now actualisation of changes that I believe to be righteous. It empowers and that labour feels closer to being me than previous self-reflectionary writings here.

Like finally publishing H & S’s story to let the world experience a fraction of the shock I experienced whilst being alongside them. (I have a much more solid understanding and feeling of the role of *reporting* the underreported.) Like actually representing consolidated will (however rudimentary) in front of the power-wielders at the institution I am employed at. Like really conducting honest conversations that change interactions for the better with people I care. Like really bringing our collectively written and edited words to people that craves for filling that intellectual and practical void (I am referring to the Strike Special by CUSP). Even though we are so fucking far from reaching real signposts and thresholds that turn the tides for the better, I can see myself as part of the waves blown towards a direction that I can identify and freely flow along with.

On that I am reminded of Marx’s words on the nature of labour:

A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality.

At the end of every labour-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its commencement. He not only effects a change of form in the material on which he works, but he also realises a purpose of his own that gives the law to his modus operandi, and to which he must subordinate his will.

And this subordination is no mere momentary act. Besides the exertion of the bodily organs, the process demands that, during the whole operation, the workman’s will be steadily in consonance with his purpose. This means close attention.

The less he is attracted by the nature of the work, and the mode in which it is carried on, and the less, therefore, he enjoys it as something which gives play to his bodily and mental powers, the more close his attention is forced to be.

Karl Marx. Capital Volume One , Ch.7, ‘The Labour-Process and the Process of Producing Surplus-Value’


So I’ll return to the waves as such labour is chasing me for their completion. I’ll end this with a poem I like a lot after reading it for DSE-preparation number of times (that equals infinity for a person like me):


The roaring alongside he takes for granted,
and that every so often the world is bound to shake.
He runs, he runs to the south, finical, awkward,
in a state of controlled panic, a student of Blake.

The beach hisses like fat. On his left, a sheet
of interrupting water comes and goes
and glazes over his dark and brittle feet.
He runs, he runs straight through it, watching his toes.

– Watching, rather, the spaces of sand between them
where (no detail too small) the Atlantic drains
rapidly backwards and downwards. As he runs,
he stares at the dragging grains.

The world is a mist. And then the world is
minute and vast and clear. The tide
is higher or lower. He couldn’t tell you which.
His beak is focussed; he is preoccupied,

looking for something, something, something.
Poor bird, he is obsessed!
The millions of grains are black, white, tan, and gray
mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst.

Elizabeth Bishop

Line 4: William Blake, the visionary Romantic poet, wrote in the opening lines of his poem, “Auguries of Innocence,” that the poet wanted: ‘To see a world in a grain of sand/ And a heaven in a wild flower/ Hold infinity in the palm of your hand/ And eternity in an hour.’

Line 20: Amethyst and rose quartz are both varieties of quartz, which is crystalline silicon dioxide.

Author: Veronique

To be tenacious, patient and independent.

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