Re: Work in the name of love Thanks, Steve. I read the article (at the link at the bottom). It is definitely worth reading.
While it is of course true that it is desirable to find a livelihood
that gives one some enjoyment and satisfaction, the sad truth is that,
in the setups that prevail in most economies the world over, most of us
-- indeed, the overwhelming majority -- have to labor at jobs or in
enterprises that offer little of either.
Given this fact, it is important that those who work have some
collective power to influence the conditions under which they work, to
limit the amount and pace of the work that they do and to ensure that
the compensation they get is fair and something they can survive upon.
(The word "survive" may be argued about. I suppose the best way to
understand it is to imagine oneself and one's family in the worker's
When this collective power is achieved, workers then have the leisure to
attend to their responsibilities to self, family, friends and the wider
community, and to explore and indulge in activities that are more
This also provides those who work the chance to do their jobs well,
attending to details, paying attention to beings and their needs, and
being creative, rather than doing things in a rush, cursorily or "by the rules". This
gives them some measure of enjoyment and satisfaction in the work that
takes up a major part of their lives on our planet.
Unfortunately, we see that workers have, all over the world, grown
increasingly disempowered. Here in this country, over the last three to
four decades, the amount of work each (average) worker does has
expanded, and the pace of work has correspondingly increased. Work is
carried over, in many cases, into after-job-hours, being basically work
done out of obligation or pressure, for free.
Slogans that sound appealing, such as the one this author discussed, have only furthered this disempowerment.
It is the focus on the individual to the exclusion of the collective,
which is the bigger picture, that lies at the root of this. Those who
are focused only on themselves may still thrive in such an environment,
because they feel little obligation towards others, especially the ones
that need the most help -- such as elders, the disabled, the ailing and
children -- and so do the minimum, efficiently, by the rules, making
sure they look good and rise up. They may even have more than enough
leisure for other things. Those with a conscience or those who by habit
attend to details suffer most.
In all things, there is a balance. It seems to me that the balance has
shifted in a direction that has been atomizing our societies and even
our families, putting impossible pressures on some individuals while
allowing others to avoid their basic responsibilities. I do not think
that this is a prescription for the long term survival or well-being of
our species, let alone of other species on this planet.
I recommend this article (reachable via the link below your note) to
others. There are insights and facts there that I have not gone into in
my long preamble above. While both the author and I have had this
country primarily in mind, the situation in other countries should not
be ignored. The author does draw some attention to that. Those in
academics might also find this article relevant.
From: Steve Brown <>
To: sjanah <>
Sent: Sat, Feb 1, 2014 9:53 am
Subject: Work in the name of love