“There is no substitute for hard work.” Thomas Edison
We live in a world which seems obsessed with retirement. We watch as people go to work for 40 years at a job they grumble about in order to retire. Our view of the world as a society is based on pleasure, not work. It is amazing what we are willing to put on the line in order to achieve what we believe will be the ultimate satisfaction. But, we have now come to the point of immeasurable pleasure and immeasurable dissatisfaction, and that should raise some questions. That may be why we are so obsessed with retirement. We shape our entire lives to free ourselves from pain and maximize the pleasure. It was not always like this.
For millennia we humans worked day in and day out on the farm or doing carpentry or some other labour-intensive work. I’d be interested to see how the majority of the western population would fair in a day of the life of an ancient civilization. It seems so far from reality to think people would work from dawn until dusk and then wake up in the night to make sure their sheep had not been stolen. Now, we live in a world where we are as rich as kings were, we have almost everything under the sun and we aren’t satisfied. We may choose between 35 different salad dressings, and thousands of movies instantaneously yet our desires are fulfilled simply to be replaced by another. It may be that we ought to change our ideology.
An illustration of ancient farming.
I am not proposing that we place work as our top priority and ruthlessly toss aside any obstructions such as family and friends. I am proposing that we apply a passion for hard work to our marriages, to our faith, to our jobs and we put the bottomless pursuit of pleasure to rest. Enjoy pleasure when it comes, but let’s not be ruled by it.
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” C.S. Lewis