Because we have to. At some point in the past, we could not survive if we did not work. We could not eat, take shelter, have enough water to drink or stay warm, and stay safe from danger, unless we worked. That has not fundamentally changed. The society we each live in may have grown in number of constituents and complexity of their relationships. But, fundamentally, there are those who have enough to eat, a place to rest and sleep in peace, and with the reasonable expectation that their overall personal (physical) safety is relatively guaranteed. Work makes all of this possible. It is possible now to not work, but only have a subsistent life. Or, one has to be so wealthy to burn money for as long as one lives to answer needs and wants and not have to work for them—ever. That is the significance of work. They say 99% of people have to work. The other 1% must enjoy the fruits of the work of others–even if they claim those “others” were their predecessors in family; someone always has to work…always.
What’s Work For?
Survival, and secondarily, if we are lucky, creating meaning in one’s time here on this planet.
What Does Work Mean?
Work means being of use in exchange for taking a share of the abundance on the planet while we are a guest here for a relatively short while.
How Does it Relate to Individual, Others, Society?
They are all interdependent. In today’s differentiated labor system, unless someone bakes, you will have no bread to eat, and will not likely be able to bake a proper loaf of bread consistently yourself. The doctor, the lawyer, the accountant, the fisher, the driver, the waiter, the gardener…we each have an individual role, that benefits us through serving others, and the society.
What Defines Good or Worthwhile Work?
Wages, fees, earnings…and recognition, which could simply be self-knowledge that one has done a “good” and worthy job.
What Does Money Have to Do with it?
Since we cannot do everything on our own, we each make and sell what we can to others to exchange it for things we need and want, but cannot do or make ourselves. Money is the bridge. It is the vehicle that allows a highly differentiated labor system to function; by managing each member of society’s needs and wants, using the rewards of how they each contribute to the ongoing survival of a society.
What do Experience, Growth, and Fulfillment Have to Do with It?
None of us live forever. We only hope to experience, grow and be happy, or happier, as time passes. At some point our work is done, not because we do not wish to do more. But, because our mortal existence dictates our limitations and the inevitable journey to leave this world. We should be lucky if we leave this life more fulfilled than we found it.