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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Why Our Work Should Also be Our Leisure

September 9, 2012, 1:00 PM

What's the Latest Development?

At a time of record unemployment levels, it might seem odd to question the value of work, but Notre Dame philosophy professor Garry Gutting suggests that by asking after what work means and why we do it, we can live more fulfilling lives as human beings. Many thinkers, from Aristotle to Bertrand Russell, have praised the virtues of leisure as a means of living a happy, well-adjusted life. On the other hand, had generations past taken vacations whenever they felt like it, many of today's toolsfrom modern medicine to digital deviceswould never have been invented.

What's the Big Idea?

The central problem of the current economy, in terms of leading a more fulfilling life, has to do with the single-minded nature of capitalism in its search for profit. Sadly, although the consumer is hailed as the arbiter of the marketplace, and therefore a check against corporate mania, it seems he or she is buying a lot of junk that caters more to fads and insecurities than to genuine human needs. If we are to arrive at a place where work is performed as leisure, we must encourage a population of thoughtful, self-determining individuals who seek to fulfill their own deeper needs. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com



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