If Work Dominated Your Every Moment Would Life Be Worth Living?

‘Total work’, a term coined by the German philosopher Josef Pieper just after the Second World War in his book Leisure: The Basis of Culture (1948), is the process by which human beings are transformed into workers and nothing else.


 

 

John Heckert wipes his eyes as he uses a computer to fill out paperwork for unemployment insurance at Eastbay Works Oakland One-Stop Career Center August 5, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Imagine that work had taken over the world. It would be the centre around which the rest of life turned. Then all else would come to be subservient to work. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly, anything else – the games once played, the songs hitherto sung, the loves fulfilled, the festivals celebrated – would come to resemble, and ultimately become, work. And then there would come a time, itself largely unobserved, when the many worlds that had once existed before work took over the world would vanish completely from the cultural record, having fallen into oblivion.

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