Inoperativity as the Real Truth

‘While for the ancients it was labour—negotium—that was defined negatively with respect to the contemplative life—otium—moderns seem unable to conceive of contemplation, inoperativity, and feast otherwise than as rest or negation of labour.’

Giorgio Agamben, Creation and Anarchy (trans. Adam Kotsko)

4 thoughts on “Inoperativity as the Real Truth

  1. I wasn’t aware of that lexical contrasting pair in Latin, but once pointed out it makes sense. Interesting that the adjective ‘otiose’ in English has purely negative connotations.

    • Precisely, whereas “functionless” seems like the natural condition of humans, at least before the adoption of a profession.

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