Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Why are we so obsessed with “hard work”?

“Hard work” is an absolutely misguided concept. People don’t get what they want through hard work, you get that through irreplaceable work. The more irreplaceable you are, the more incentive others have to bend to your needs and wishes. People shouldn’t obsess over working hard, but with putting themselves in a position where you can make every bit of your inconvenience felt by others.

Even the concept of work that the general public has is misguided. If two men are pushing a box and one can’t move it, even though he is sweating and appears to be close to passing out, while the other guy moves it without any sweat, while chatting on the phone and enjoying a margarita, who is doing the most work? Most of the general public would say the first guy. People seem to think that the amount of work you do is equal to the pain you feel. It isn’t. Analogous to work in the physical sense, work is defined by how hard a obstacle is to push, and how far you move that obstacle. You can destroy your whole life and health trying to accomplish something, but if the obstacle is not budging, you arn’t doing any work. Eg. People who brag about how many hours they work or how “hard” they work, rather than what they have accomplished within that time.

I think the whole obsession people have over “hard work” is a sort of Nietzschean re-sentiment meant to protect the ego. It’s a sort of defense mechanism. Think about someone without any talent in a low end job that isn’t going anywhere. What are they supposed to do? How do you protect your ego from that reality? What virtue would you upheld that you make you come out on top? Hard Work! As useless and as imaginary as it might be, that’s the only thing you have.Image

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One response

  1. It’s interesting to read this. I think a lot about the ethics of labor. The native community of the North Slope here in Alaska could hardly be considered lazy; they had to work or die. But their work was dictated by specific needs. When they were warm and well-fed, they stopped working. They rested, they danced, they told stories, they played games. They did whatever they wanted to do until they once again needed to put in the effort, but the idea of devoting a set time of the day to work for a set wage? …absolute insanity! Dealing with people who have only entered the wage economy for a generation or three, puts work ethics in a different perspective. I definitely take the whole concept of being a hard worker with a grain of salt.

    November 25, 2013 at 3:12 am

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