TED Conversations

Matteo Catanzano

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Why do we work ?

We humans, when not unconscious, spend more time working or in education than doing anything else. Why ? Do we work so that we can buy pleasures when we have time off? Do we work so we can achieve money and consequentially status, which makes us more desirable mates ? Do we work because we are brought up with the idea that it is our duty and function as a member of society ? Or do we work in the hope of reaching self-actualisation?

Does it even matter ? Does knowing the reason why we spend years trying to get the best training, to get the best job going to affect our performance and our general well-being ?

I would also like you to consider this quote in light of the conversation.

“All unintellectual labour, all monotonous, dull labour, all labour that deals with dreadful things, and involves unpleasant conditions, must be done by machinery. Machinery must work for us in coal mines, and do all sanitary services, and be the stoker of steamers, and clean the streets, and run messages on wet days, and do anything that is tedious or distressing.”
-by Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism


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  • Dec 27 2011: how could we live if we don't work and then if we don't have any money?
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      Dec 27 2011: Are you suggesting that without money we would die ? May I remind you that people lived before money was created...

      That aside, are you saying that the sole function of work is to make money so we can survive ?

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