Work, Labor, Job, Calling

[Content Disclosure: 89% Musings, 0% Poker, 56% Work]

"The overfull litter baskets suggest abundance rather than squalor." -- Ian McEwan

We humans see things differently. We also tend to debate, argue and exhort one another over these differences. Lately I have noticed that often the verbal combatants are unaware of the true nature of the "other's" position. Most commonly we fail to recognize when the other person is expressing not an opinion or a position but a belief.

You don't change beliefs by piling up a mound of oppositional facts. Beliefs do not live in the empirical world of rhetoric or science. Beliefs are rooted in a place entirely different. I was brought to this pondering today by some thoughts on work and jobs in this time of economic uncertainty. The question, of course, is do we live to work or do we work to live; and further, do some of us truly understand the gift it is that we have such a choice to make.

"I signed up with a temp agency, and much to my dismay they actually found me a job. It had been a couple of years since I'd worked in an office, so I thought I should prepare for it. I went to the YMCA with a friend and had him tie me up in a burlap sack and sink me to the bottom of the pool. Just as I was about to suffocate, he yanked me up and gave me a lunch break." -- Martha Kelly

Yes, there is a dark side to work. A drudgery, a burden, the incessant wheel of oppression. Hence, communism and Ziggy.

"When we truly discover love, capitalism will not be possible and Marxism will not be necessary." --Will O'Brien

Ah, the joys of the rewrite: "When we truly discover compassion, capitalism will be revealed as putrid and vile; while socialism will just seem silly." -- me

"I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money." -- Pablo Picasso

This one needs no rewrite, it has already been said: "Live simply, so that others may simply live."

"The deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price." -- Khalil Gibran

Ah they joys of being an artist, but Gibran was not wealthy nor given to a harsh critique of conventional reality. He just wasn't willing to sell his soul.

"There is no easy formula for determining right and wrong livelihood, but it is essential to keep the question alive... We have to stop pretending that we can make a living at someting that is trivial or destructive and still have a sense of legtimate self-worth. A society in which vocation and job are separated for most people gradually creates an economy that is often devoid of spirit, one that frequently fills our pocketbooks at the cost of emptying our souls." -- Sam Keen

To my friends and readers, who find truth in these last words; I can only say -- prepare for hard times but keep the faith. To my other friends, who find this sheer nonsense, I love you anyways.

(I humbly bow to The Sun magazine for these quotes on work and labor.)