Is Being Productive the Highest Good?

Peter from Office Space (Picture from Rotten Tomatoes)

What happens when all we live to work. Let’s take a look at two shows that poke fun at the white-collar office worker. In the movie, Office Space, the main character, Peter, is disillusioned with the “rat race” of office life. Nike Kyrie Irving Robert Griffin III Baylor Jerseys

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  • His work is repetitive and unimportant, and therefore, he feels that his life is also repetitive and unimportant. His life is centered on his job. He lives to work, and because he does not have the right job, he is unhappy. nike air max 1 turquoise The “happy ending” of the movie is not that Peter eventually learns that there is more to life than work and his identity is not wrapped up in his job. The happy ending is that he eventually finds a job that has the things he likes, being outdoors and working with his hands. ugg pas cher Nike Air Max 1 Femme nike tn requin Canotte Charlotte Hornet


    Jim from The Office (Picture from

    In the television show, The Office (U.S. version), one of the characters, Jim, is apathetic about his job at a paper company, Dunder Mifflin. baskets new balance pas cher Calvin Ridley Jersey Nebraska Cornhuskers Jim has hobbies, like cycling and playing guitar, but we get the impression that he generally considers his job boring and one of those necessary evils of life (his views change as the series progresses). Dwight, on the other hand, approaches his job at Dunder Mifflin with enthusiasm, showing up early, leaving late, and always trying to be a team player. nike air max tn soldes He also happens to live and work on beet farm, of which he is equally enthusiastic. adidas superstar uomo miglior prezzo Both Office Space and The Office are written so that we relate to Peter and Jim. Parajumpers Femme Harraseeket They represent the angst that most white-collar workers feel, even if we cannot put our finger on exactly what that angst is. nike air force 1 high hombre Peter wants to be outside. Jim plays music. Zapatillas ROSHE RUN Asics Gel Lyte 5 Homme New Balance 247 mujer But are cubicles and paper-pushing really the problem? Perhaps the problem has to do with how we prioritize our lives. cheap wow gold Air VAPORMAX cheap nike trainers uk Our Western culture has bought into the idea that productivity is the highest good, and therefore work should be an end in itself. Productivity is certainly one of many signs of a good employee or a well-run business, but it is not an end in itself. Miami Heat Being productive should not be the end-all-be-all of life. To live for productivity is hollow and dehumanizing. Machines are fine-tuned to be optimally productive. Nike Lunartempo 3 femme Fjallraven Kanken Big People strive for something more, and productivity helps us get there. What is leisure? In pre-modern times, people whose lives were centered on work were called slaves or laborers. Asics Gel Lyte 5 Femme Rouge They put in twelve or fourteen-hour days and spent their non-working time resting and recuperating so that they can work the next day. Their value is in their productivity. This is contrasted to the aristocracy. Case Keenum – Houston Cougars They engaged in leisure activities, but these activities are not what we think of when we think of “leisure” today. The aristocracy considered leisure activities important for cultural enrichment. ffxiv gil cheap Those that used their freedom to engage in diversions or hedonism were considered slothful. nike internationalist adidas neo donna Leisure, in the classical sense of the term, is different from restful activities to help recuperate from a long day or mindless activities to cope with the mental tedium of repetitive, labor-intensive work. Air Jordan 31 Homme Leisure activities consisted of the higher pursuits, like education, art, music, and sport. It is no accident that the word we use for “school” comes from the Latin translation of the Greek word for leisure.

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  • Leisure activities often consisted of difficult things that required hard work to master, but these activities were personally enriching and culturally significant. They often involved creating or writing things that have aesthetic appeal and are good in and of themselves. adidas ultra boost uncaged uomo The Industrial Revolution This two class system was turned on its head with the advance of the Industrial Revolution. adidas nmd r1 uomo Industrialization, over the course of one hundred years, took menial, repetitive, undignified work and automated it. It also meant that people did not have to work as many hours, allowing all people to have a life that consisted of rest (including sleeping, eating, and bodily care), non-work, and work time. The non-work time was to be a time for leisure pursuits so that all men may cultivate a virtuous character and engage in culture-making. This resulted in more people getting an education and engage in the arts and sciences. nike air jordan 3 uomo But something happened that caused people to lose track of those priorities. Mortimer Adler, an early-twentieth century scholar, points out that while the Industrial Revolution did much to dignify work and rid of us a labor/aristocracy class system, it also skewed our understanding of work, leisure, and recreation. basket nike tn New Balance 993 m?skie

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  • Adler lists four negative consequences of the Industrial Revolution that contribute to our malaise:

    1. The Industrial Revolution eliminated the value of individual craftsmanship. Things that used to be made by artisans and craftsmen, like shoes, clothes, candles, or food, were easily produced in the factory setting, thus trivializing certain kinds of work.
    2. The Industrial Revolution changed our priorities such that producing more and more goods became the purpose of all of our efforts. Adidas Zx Flux Homme Noir Adler says that we ought to regard the increase in productivity only as a means and not as an end.
    3. As a result, people now think free time should be used only for recreation (or recuperation) in order to get back to work and produce more. cheap air jordans free shipping It is no longer a time to engage in those things that are edifying and that often bring people joy. Instead, it is spent engaging in diversions which are not ultimately fulfilling.
    4. Classical, or liberal, education was replaced with training for the job so that a person can become a productive member of society. nik shox homme Nike Air Max Thea Femme Grise This perpetuated a kind of empty meaning to education that goes something like this: “Go to school and make good grades, so you can go to a good college, so you can get a good job, so you can be a productive member of society.”

    Meaninglessness By placing an emphasis on productivity, people live to work, and therefore, their free time is spent on things that are not tiring, but also not particularly enriching. This leads to a kind of boredom that philosopher-types like to call hyper-boredom. Nike Dames San Antonio Spurs You get the sense of this hyper-boredom when you watch Peter in Office Space. Nike Air Max BW Femme Maglie New Orleans Pelicans However, hyper-boredom is more than “being in a funk” or not finding the right job. It is a malaise that is best described as operating as though everything was ultimately meaningless. Soldes Louboutin Purdue Boilermakers Why is a proper view of leisure important? Adler summarizes the classical concept of leisure as “consisting in all those activities by which the individual grows morally, intellectually, and spiritually, through which he attains personal excellence and also performs his moral and political duty.” Essentially, it is the things people love to do and would do whether they were paid or not. adidas gazelle femme Adidas Yeezy 750 Boost Leisure is not the same has having nothing to do or “killing time” and it is not a diversion to cope with life. Adler points out that, based on the classical concept of leisure, the good life depends on labor, but it consists of leisure. Air Jordan 3.5 Spizike Femme Fjallraven Kanken Sale Kids A couple of caveats are in order, though. Air Max 87 Pas Cher

    First, some people are blessed to be able to do the leisure activities that they love as their full-time job. Nike Pas Cher Adler, a college professor, considered his job both work and leisure. Adidas Homme But, as anyone who has ever been a full-time teacher, writer, or artist knows, there is still a labor aspect to their leisure activity. Most people do not consider grading papers, filling out tax forms, or making sales pitches leisure activities. These things tend to be compulsory, making them work rather than leisure. Second, this is not to say productivity is bad. Mario Manningham Jersey It is good to be productive as part of pursuing excellence in work. Adidas Yeezy 750 Homme However, orienting your life around productivity is to enslave yourself. Recall that in The Office, Jim was apathetic about work, but Dwight was not. Air Max 2017 Rosso Uomo

    Their characters are meant to be comic foils of each other, but as always, comedy is funny because it contains elements of truth. Dwight had a beet farm, a leisure activity, while Jim had diversions. Adidas Zx Flux Homme Rouge Jim’s character started to change when he engaged in a meaningful relationship. Nike buty We often think that our leisure, or non-work time, is unimportant, but in reality, it is very important.

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