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comment by TheSkeward
TheSkeward  ·  2885 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A World Without Work

So, I'm interested in this idea that while we dislike work, we get bored or dislike it even more when we have no responsibilities at all. I've definitely experienced the same phenomenon myself, and it's kind of worrying to think that I might not be happy without work.

There's a single spectrum onto which nearly every quirk of human behavior can be tracked, the nature vs nurture spectrum. On one extreme we might say "the need to work is biologically built into humanity and can be purged no more than our need for socialization" and on the other we might say "a long tradition and culture that work is fulfilling and the unemployed are contemptible has made us as a society uncomfortable with not working." Of course, many things are a little of column A, a little of column B.

So if this is primarily or totally a nurture issue, it will pretty much sort itself out. Our generation may feel a bit melancholy about it, but our kids will grow up never having felt like they needed to work.

If this is primarily a nature issue, we have a bit more serious problem on our hands - we will need to figure out a way to replace working for pay with something else meaningful and productive.

It would be difficult to set up, but if we could somehow introduce the idea of working as communities towards a better world, that would be ideal, I think. Maybe instead of working forty hours a week, we volunteer at a nonprofit for a few hours.

What do you guys think?

crispycrack  ·  2880 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The nature vs nurture debate makes me think of North American culture. Growing up in Canada, the majority of opinions thrown at me were: explore, have some fun, but ultimately get a career that will give you a good salary and benefits. There was a 5 year or so gap after university that I had to play with, then I felt the pressures to grow up and choose something.

I have this suspicion that European cultures appreciate art, recreation, travel, and a life outside of work more. I think North Americans love to define ourselves based on our jobs and incomes.

Maybe this is just wishful thinking. But, a culture that teaches you that success is gained through employment will inevitably cause depression/ laziness/ tv-watching zombieness when that is not being accomplished.


floattank  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We definitely need to work (at least most of us, some people are just lazy). But it doesn't need to be that soul-crushing work most of us do now. Work can be working on hobbies or building stuff for example.

AhnYS  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi thought people were happiest in a state of what he called "flow". He defined flow as a "state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation." In his book "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" he actually goes into depth about flow and how it explains the work paradox. Work provides a platform for people to dedicate their focus and achieve flow. At home, flow states are rarely achieved because leisure is often comprised of activities that don't require much attention or focus. This would explain why people complain about work all the time but have poorer moods and are more anxious during leisure time. Personally, I feel that the response to the work paradox shouldn't be believing that work is absolutely necessary in order to be content. I think it just means we should pay much more attention to how we spend our leisure time.

Corinne  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think the whole idea of "work" needs to be re-defined. Let's say you're not currently employed. Does that mean you don't "work"? For some, yes. Some people are not motivated to do anything when they're unemployed. Other people keep themselves busy with whatever interests them. I would consider that work. Your idea of working at a nonprofit is one way of keeping one's self busy. I think people should be able to pursue whatever interests them, and in that way they can contribute to society.

Corinne  ·  2884 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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