This conversation is closed.

If humans are supposed to be the cleverest animals in the world, why are they the only ones that have to go to work ?

It is generally assumed that humans are the most intelligent life form on the earth. But given that the invention of money has lead to an enormously complex society, which requires most of us to go out to work every day, are we really as clever as we think we are ?

  • thumb
    Feb 24 2013: Peter, Many people on TED continue to drive the fact that money is the problem ... money is simply a convient means of bartering. I no longer have to carry a goat and a pig to town for supplies. Money did not lead to a "complex society". As much as you all hate money I have set up a "give your money to Bob fund" as I do not hate money and really want to see you all happy. So send me your money and you can better live with yourselves. Just doin my best to help.

    There is no law or influence to make you "go to work" . However, it does make it easier to have a roof over your head, food in your belly, and comforts you are used to.

    All creatures work ... they hunt for food ... support the hive ... colony .... almost every creature I am aware of has a "job" in their society that is necessary for survival of the species.

    • Feb 24 2013: I would like to start my own fund on that score. LOL
  • thumb
    Feb 24 2013: A number of insects exist for the sole purpose of work and continue until they drop dead.
    A number of animals hunt endlessly for food every waking moment.
    Most animals and insects have no understanding of the concept of fun, ambition, possessions or even a food that is even marginally different to what is eaten every day of the week for years in a row.

    Also you don't HAVE to work as often as people do, if you design your lifestyle and cost of living specifically for the task, you can technically live on 2 days of work each month.
    Its not that its difficult, more that you'll essentially live like a Lion
    i.e/ You'll be so bored, you'll shoot yourself.
    So in essence, you'll have to work because you're too complex to live the life of an animal.
    Its not really a question of being clever, its just a trade-off. (be productive to have more).
    • thumb
      Feb 24 2013: .
      Happiness is the short-time feeling of things being a-step-better for keeping DNA alive.

      So, for work:
      . (1) If one does it happily or instinctively, it is "fun" and not "work".
      . (2) If one does it unhappily or not instinctively, it is "work".

      In the case (1), one is "clever".
      In the case (2), one is not "clever" enough and needs to reduce the invalid (ineffective) happiness pursued.

      (For details, see 1st article, points 1-3, 14, at
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Feb 24 2013: Yes, it's a typical conversation sparked by the fear of monday
  • thumb
    Feb 24 2013: Every time that clever human being thinks of a solution he at the same time creates a problem that has to be found a new solution for.

    To secure our food at any time and rest our fear of starvation we domesticated plants and animals which deprived us of many good things in nature. Born as hunter gatherers over millions of years we weren’t equipped to be farmers. And as we eroded the land nature couldn’t sustain that ever increasing population which brought to us famine and plagues of all kinds. Then we found cures and invented all things we needed now as we never did before. Now with all those property we needed laws to protect these and so creating rich and poor, dependant and independent. The solution was the exchange of labour for money after slavery was deemed unworthy. Here we are now striving for universal freedom whereas the natural world on earth is almost cleared. So we look for new solutions beyond our planet.
    Maybe we're smart but not wise because to be wise you have to give back to nature whatever you've taken.
    • Feb 24 2013: Now humans want to go out and explore new worlds & even conquer them (for that is in our nature). Me thinks "others" out there will have something to say about that and rightly so.
      I agree with Frans K. Smart we maybe but not wise. Not wise at all.
  • thumb
    Feb 24 2013: Money has not been invented, let's stop spreading this common misconception. It has developed spontaneously just like language.

    Plus, knowing that it has appeared out of people's will we can't say it limits us in any way. It is, in fact, quite the opposite.
  • Feb 24 2013: Humans may presume to be the cleverest animals but we're not. All other life forms live within the complex society of nature without destroying it, while humans do just the opposite.
    Animals etc. work & most play. They grieve and form bonds, even love, and even be greedy. Some build houses, some use tools and many other traits that humans think are just theirs alone. They have no need of a form of exchange, therefore lest headaches.
    Our brains have given us much but we failed to use it in the right way.
  • thumb
    Mar 1 2013: well, we work because we get more comforts that way than the other animals, we have better food in our stomachs, better, warmer, more comfortable dwellings, more cleanliness and better health. I guess it's a tradeoff, we work more than other animals but we get really great rewards for our work.
  • Feb 26 2013: I think that humans can just get greedy, so that is why we have to go to work. The ants and bees can all work together because they all have the same goal--to improve the group as a whole. Humans think, "Oh, hey! I worked really hard and I should get rewarded for that!" We are only concerned with earning enough for ourselves and our families. If someone gets a paycheck, do they go around and divvy it up to everyone in the office so that everyone gets an equal salary? That is why we cannot live how other animals live.
  • Feb 25 2013: "you will toil in the field all the days of your life, the ground you work will be cursed with prickles, burrs, etc", "he who does not work should not eat",

    "The greatest gift I have given my children is a love of work"
  • Feb 24 2013: Good and fun point.
  • thumb
    Feb 24 2013: Ah, but we are the only creatures who can step back and ask that question, and that, indeed, is the essence of our deepest, most profound intelligence. :-D