On yer Marx

I'm reading Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines, as #llobo's tend to do. Actually I'd avoided reading it till now because I didn't want it to unduly influence my thinking about my own wanderings.  Which it now is, of course, but that's another story.

There's a point though where one of the characters reads from Karl Marx's Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 thus:

"What then, constitutes the alienation of labour? First, the fact that labour is external to the worker, i.e. it does not belong to his essential being: that in his work he does affirm himself but denies himself; does not feel content but unhappy; does not develop his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind…"

Doing work that belongs to one's essential being? Affirming oneself? Feeling content?  Developing one's physical and mental energy?

Whose are the voices that say "yes, I know, and I'm afraid that's the way the world is, nothing to be done, better get back to work"?

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous