Just another four letter word? WORK.
When did work develop its negative connotation? Most people I know view work as a necessary evil. Work is to be avoided. Work is to be gotten out of the way – quickly. We work in order to be able to play. No wonder there are so many dissatisfied, grumpy, unhappy, miserable people. It’s tough to get going when this is your emotional weight.
What is work anyway? Is Utopia waiting somewhere where there is no work? Is that the ideal? For most folks the answer is clearly “yes” and “OH YEAH!”.
I like work? Well, let’s think about what work is. I find it helpful in such situations to go back to a basic living situation. Sort of like trying to understand politics: let’s go back to a simple life situation and see what makes sense. Our highly advance, interconnected, fast, complex world makes it very difficult to see things for what they are. Too many layers or something. Too many degrees of separation.
Imagine it’s just you and the world. Agrarian life circa 10,000 BC, around the time of the agricultural revolution. What is your life? Providing sustenance mostly. You don’t count days of the week or hours worked. You don’t live for the weekend. You do what you need to: build and maintain shelter, look for food and grow some. Work is what you do to live. No work, no life. That’s what it comes down to. If you thought of this as “unfortunate” or wishing it were different, you might as well think the same about gravity or seasonal change or weather in general. These things just are. They can’t be different – it’s just how reality is built. Life’s the same. Human life is NOT an automatically sustained thing. It requires effort by its nature. Effort is work. Imagining life without work is a waste of time, ignores reality and makes as much sense as wishing ice cream weren’t so darn cold. If you want to define things counter to what they are you’ll be miserable.
…more tomorrow… when I’ll consider what it takes to embrace work!