Work or Idleness?
Is idleness good and work bad?
With unemployment as global concern, the goodness of work is deep in our culture. We applaud people for their work ethic, judge our economy by its productivity and even honor work with a national holiday. Notice the confusion and ambivalence: we celebrate May 1 for Labor Day, by not working. Meanwhile, the Book of Genesis says work is punishment for Adam’s sin, and many of us count the days to the next vacation and see a contented retirement as the only reason for working.
Right now I have computed my retirement pay and realized that if Work can only employ me till I drop dead, then I don’t deserve to retire at 65. Because I need work to feed my family, hence I have to praise work and hate idleness. In our economic system, most of us inevitably see our work as a means to something else: it makes a living, but it doesn’t make a life. I remember my father who would woke up at four o’clock in the morning to jog and be at the workplace by 6:00. Such was his routine for more than forty years, whether he was commended or not for his robust work ethics, it does not matter. Now, his legacy matters, because I am struggling to be one and modeling for my girls as well.
What, then, is work for? If it is “we work to have leisure, on which happiness depends, then how can we be happy just doing nothing, however sweetly (dolce far niente)? On the other hand, doesn’t idleness lead to monotony, the life-destroying ennui portrayed in so many novel characters? What then is our primary goal? Work or leisure? Coming from workplace calling for an almost impeccable integrity standards, (they say we should) idleness is harmful, and that the morality of work, is the morality of salves, and the modern world has no need of slavery.
By: Dr. Nila L. Filamor
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