Est-ce que la routine est nécessaire? Est-ce que les technologies qui devraient nous rendre plus productifs nous rendent plus rigides? Beaucoup de chose dans ce long texte.
But perhaps this is merely so much self-justification. It does not escape me that what I’ve been describing as a spiritual discipline bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the cruder ethos of “life hacking.” Perhaps I am no different from those data fetishists in Silicon Valley who refer to Benjamin Franklin as a “productivity master,” and speak of free time as a “release valve.” It is difficult today to avoid the thought that we are becoming as rigid and inflexible as the machines that structure our lives. The New York Times columnist Kevin Roose calls this process “machine drift,” arguing that it’s degrading our humanity and making us professionally obsolete. “For years, the conventional wisdom has been that if machines were the future, we needed to become more like machines ourselves,” he writes in his recent book Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation. This wisdom, a relic of the Industrial Revolution, persists in our efforts to streamline and quantify our lives (tallying our steps, tracking our REM cycles), and is reinforced by our reliance on algorithms that corral us into making the same choices we’ve made in the past. The writer George Monbiot similarly considers repetition “dehumanizing,” arguing that schools, with their rigid lessons and classroom regimes, are senselessly preparing children for life in a nineteenth-century factory. “In the future, if you want a job, you must be as unlike a machine as possible,” he writes in the Guardian. In striving to be more efficient, these critics argue, we are ceding our true advantage over the artificial intelligence systems that are encroaching on so many lines of work. Instead of succumbing to repetitive habits, we should cultivate those qualities that make us most human—our flexibility and spontaneity, our ability to respond to surprises and learn new skills.