Thursday, December 10, 2009

The myth of work - LSE

Yet another fascinating talk appeared in the LSE podcast. Alain de Botton spoke about The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. A talk touching not on the economist's meaning of employment, but rather a more sociology and philosophy approach, with a tad of history and psychology implications - amazing and exceptional in the LSE series.

De Botton begins with pointing out that our modern ethos of work is hardly as old as humanity. It is modern phenomenon that began to develop, more or less together with industrialization. Work has become specialized and what is more important, one of the central and meaningful aspects of life. Work has acquired meaning, together with love, that mean for the modern individual the the fulfillment of his life and his dreams. Your work is your identity, your job should bring you the existential satisfaction you log for and so on.

De Botton, who is a writer and a philosopher, made study of work, especially the 'tedious' jobs that are not likely to induce existential satisfaction but that are critical for modern economy. His talk reconstructs how work is overrated and expectations are exaggerated (just as with love and relationships) and what are the consequences of the myth of work. It is only in his last words work gets some esteem, other than that he seems to drive us more towards the the classic idea that work, basically is a kind of slavery. Goodness. Are we all slaves?

More LSE:
Pasts and futures of Christianity,
Global capitalism - the Gray view,
Israeli at the London School of Economics,
Michael Sandel,
Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung.