Time Capsule #26
On modern work, greek tragedies, and MLK Jr's last speech.
✏️ On Modern Work
In a genuinely developed society, work is an essential dimension of social life, for it is not only a means of earning one’s daily bread, but also of personal growth, the building of healthy relationships, self expression and the exchange of gifts. Work gives us a sense of shared responsibility for the development of the world, and ultimately, for our life as a people.
Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti (2020)
Except for a select few of us, everyone must work. I recently have found myself thinking a lot about work, careers, the field of work I aspire to work in, and how that work contributes to my overall life goals.
As Pope Francis stated in his papal encyclical Fratelli tutti, work is more than just a means of paying one’s bills, but a medium through which we develop as human beings and contribute to the wider world. The field that one aspires to work in should not be chosen simply on the basis of salary or status. Of course, putting bread on the table is ultimately the reason why we work, but in a modern and developed society we have the luxury, and the responsibility, to choose work that can wholly fulfill us. We must use our innate skills, our character traits, and preferences to guide us along our career path — those drawn to philanthropy and serving others can do so both as a primary school teacher and as a not-for-profit physician in an underdeveloped country.
Once our baseline monetary needs are met, we must temper our urge to chase more money and status and ask ourselves whether the path we are on will give us the type of personal, spiritual and existential satisfaction that we desire. A high-paying job that forces you to work long hours and spend weeks away from the family may not fulfill your desire to be a present and active member of the family.
Starting to think about these things early — in your 20s or even late teens — is essential to walking a professional path that leads to lasting satisfaction and contentment. Understand that you only get one shot at building a meaningful and fulfilling career, and that that decision is not one that should be taken lightly or without serious contemplation.
📸 Photo of the Week
Ls are simply postponed Ws.
📖 Book of the Week — The Oresteia by Aeschylus
Winner of the 1st prize at the 458 BC Dionysia festival, this trilogy of plays written by the great Greek playwright Aeschylus tells the bloody story of the royal family of Atreus. It is a fascinating read exploring the themes of justice, gender conflict, and human nature.
💭 Quote(s) of the Week
If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment ... all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning.
When building habits, choose consistency over content. The best book is the one you can’t put down. The best exercise is the one you enjoy doing every day. The best health food is the one you find tasty. The best work is the work you’d do for free.
🔭 Sunday Best
Read Something Great — 5 new articles on living better, business & tech, history & culture, science & nature, and more.
Martin Luther King Jr’s Last Speech — powerful and prophetic stuff.
An Introduction to Augustine of Hippo — an early church father whose writings greatly influenced Western philosophy and Christianity.
💡 Food for Thought