“The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work…”

September 8, 2018 § 1 Comment

…is the title of a book by Alain de Botton. Botton describes the conflicted relationship to work that many people experience in their lives, and he draws a poignant comparison with the experience of the craftsman’s work.

In a job, he says, “…Our exertions generally find no enduring physical correlatives. We are diluted in gigantic intangible collective projects, which leave us wondering what we did last year and, more profoundly, where we have gone and quite what we have amounted to. We confront our lost energies in the pathos of the retirement party.

How different everything is for the craftsman who transforms a part of the world with his own hands, who can see his work as emanating from his being and can step back at the end of a day or lifetime and point to an object – whether a square of canvas, a chair or a clay jug – and see it as a stable repository of his skills and an accurate record of his years, and hence feel collected together in one place, rather than strung out across projects which long ago evaporated into nothing one could hold or see.”


§ One Response to “The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work…”

  • Mizbish says:

    So nice to see a new post! I thought maybe you’d quit altogether. This sounds like a book worth looking into. Not sure I agree with the first quote… seems to me that much of our self worth comes from HOW we do the work our job entails – whether it’s craftsmanship or working on one small piece of the puzzle, so to speak. Deep inside, we always know whether we did our best or not, even if no-one else sees a tangible result.

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