More from Zen and the Beat Way (p. 22-24, emphases mine)
It seems to me in a way … that this emphasis on productivity goes back to the great age of scarcity, when if people did not work, they didn’t have anything to eat. We do not have that situation today. In fact, we are working hard against it…. We are deliberately creating an economy in which machines do our work for us, and an abundance of food is produced. So we have got to learn how to loaf….
In a culture where everybody has to keep producing, even though plenty is produced already, all kinds of propaganda have to be generated to get people to buy up the surplus production. But in order to find the means to buy it, they have got to create surplus production. Well, this is a vicious circle of major dimensions. And although we may not like … the role that the more irresponsible beatniks are playing, it is a role that in a way emerges almost of necessity in our particular kind of civilization.
In other words, people who are going to be nonproductive, who are going to be fundamentally lazy, are going to idealize a life of a certain kind of poverty. And they are going to explore realms of experience that solid citizens have not explored and are indeed afraid to explore — the inner world, the world of imagination and fantasy and the unconscious.
On a similar political note, all you surfer-dude and -dudette sympathizers, check out the Work Less Party, based in Vancouver and apparently contesting our next provincial election.