Someone once said, “Work is love in action.”
In considering these words, one of the questions that emerges immediately in my head is, “How many workers would agree with this assertion?” I‘m prompted to explore how work might ever occur in the minds of workers as an expression of love.
Image: Renwick Brutus
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, work means “to do something that involves physical or mental effort, especially as part of a job.” And it is intended to achieve a purpose or result, most common being to provide sustenance for yourself and family, and to generate income and wealth for current and future needs and wants.
Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection. And it ranges from erotic and passionate feelings, love of friends and peers, to the kind of love parents have for children, to an all encompassing love for mankind.
So, if work is to be considered love in action, it must be done with the intent of satisfying at least one of these beneficiaries of workers’ intense feelings of affection.
Erotic & Passionate Love
It is certainly the case that work makes it possible to earn income that is then used to provide the basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. But it also provides discretionary income that is used for recreation, entertainment and social activities that lend themselves to connecting with strangers, co-workers and friends. And, through such interaction, to find partners and eventually
expressi erotic and passionate love.
Love of Friends and Peers
What do you do when your friends work and you don’t? It seems that a central element of friendships is sharing either what you’re doing, what you will do or what you have done. And it happens as an organic reflection of how you have or will create meaning for yourself and other. In some ways, it’s a measure of your capacity to care for more than yourself, and it transmits to your friends that you can be relied upon and trusted to care about them.
Parents Love for Children
As children become parents themselves, they invariably develop an acute appreciation for their parents' love and dedication to their well-being. And parents are capable of remaining tight-lipped while enduring unreasonable treatment from their employers, all of it to honor their commitment to provide for their children. Stories abound of parents who are willing to work multiple jobs or extreme hours building their careers and businesses. Why? So that they could spare their kids from undue hardships and pave the way for them to experience better lives. Is that an expression of love in action?
Love of Mankind
It's been said that the greatest achievements in the history of mankind are a triumph of enthusiasm. And are equally a triumph of the pursuit of solutions to many of the ills, challenges and struggles of mankind. Speak to entrepreneurs, research scientists, inventors, artists and workers in every imaginable industry and they will share the reasons they get up and go to work. You will find a universal desire to use their knowledge, skills and experience to improve the lives of mankind
Whatever the reasons are for individuals to engage in their work, there is some truth to the dictum, "there is dignity in work." Maybe there is a segment of society that works because of a fear of being ostracized or feeling inadequate amongst their peers. And maybe there are others who work to maximize their income and wealth. However, what seems quite clear is that the vast majority of people work to make a positive difference for others whom they love, including the broadest category of mankind and the most singular, themselves
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