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He whose work conscience permits him to be inexact

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Unformatted text preview: t age, or younger, in a room with nothing to do but think, and you reduce him to abject misery and restlessness. Most of our reading, entertainment, has this object, and if necessity did not spur men on to work steadily, the tedium of their own thoughts would. To reflect is pleasant only to a few, and the need of a task is the need of the average human being. Perhaps once upon a time in some idyllic age, some fabled age of innocence, time passed pleasantly without work. To-day, work is the prime way of killing time, adding therefore to its functions of organizing activity, achievement and social value of recreation. Yet contradictory as it seems, though many of us love work for its own sake, most of us do not love our own work. That is because few of us choose our work; it is thrust upon us. Happy is he who has chosen and chosen wisely! Industry, energy, steadiness are parts of the work-equipment; enthusiasm, eagerness, the love of work, in short, is another part. Love of work is not a unitary character; it is a resultant of many forces and motives. Springing from the love of activity, it receives its direction from ambition and is reinforced by success and achievement. Few can continue to love a work at which they fail, for self-love is injured and that paralyzes the activity. Here and there is some one who can love his work, even though he is half-starved as a result,--a poet, a novelist, an inventor, a scientist, but these dream and hope for better things. But the bulk of the half-starved labor of the world, half-starved literally as well as symbolically, has no light of hope ahead of it and cannot love the work that does not offer a reward. It is easy for those who reap pleasure and reward from their labors to sing of the joy of work; business man, professional man, artist, handicraftsman, farmer,--these may find in the thing they do the satisfaction of the creative desires and the reward of seeing their product; but the factory is a Frankenstein delivering huge masses of products but eating up the producers. The more specialized it becomes the less each man creates of the uni...
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