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Philosophy of Action

Happiness through Human Work

C. W. Gichure
Kenyatta University

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ABSTRACT: In what follows, I analyze the nature of work as human action. From there I discuss the triple dimension of human perfectibility through man's operative powers: the intellect, will and affections or emotions. After that, I focus on human work as the basis for the integration of ethics and practice: the root of human and cultural development of the individual and society.

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There is abundant bibliography in which man is described as the animal which knows how to resolve problems. He is described as a creature which does not recoil before problems, but resolves them. The invention of the flint, the arrow, the bow, the wheel and the raft, the dagger, etc., are a few good examples of the ingenuity of what we could today call primitive man (L. Polo: 1991). Animals do not find lasting solutions to their problems of survival. When these appear, the species either becomes extinct or the animal ends up by metamorphosing to adjust to the environment. Not so man, who besides having a body and two hands instead of paws or a beak, is endowed with a mind and a will.

But man is not only a resolver of problems for survival. He is also to a great extent their initiator of. Desertification, pollution of the environment, the depletion of the ozone layer, the disasters of Chernobyl, the atomic bomb or any other bomb for that matter, land mines and lead poisoning and so many other problems that mankind faces today have their origin in Science and Technology, i.e., from man's activity. The horrors of Auswitch and the Holocaust, Rwanda and Bosnia are also fruit of man's activity or work. Paraphrasing Cicero one can say that man, through his own activity sets a destiny for himself (De officiis, II,4,15), for good or for destruction.

The term 'work' is today one of the commonest words on people's lips all over the world. People talk of going to work, coming from work, looking for work or a job. People leave their families, their homes, and even their children, with strangers, so as to go to work. Nor is it uncommon to come across people who tell you that they have not the time to think, be with their friends, or their children because of work. Work, therefore has become a culture of a kind. But what kind?

That work is important in human life is obvious. Any effort to achieve any form of development without it must necessarily encounter a hitch. Through it man is able to resolve problems of survival and leisure. Work is for most people the ordinary means for the provision of their own and their families' sustenance. Hence, the greatest disgrace in any society is that there be people who cannot have these ordinary human means, either because they cannot find work or because they lack the mental or bodily capacities to work, or simply because they are denied the liberty to work and own property.

Through work man comes to grips with nature, with his environment or 'that which surrounds' him. This term 'environment' already shows the centrality of man's place in nature. And in this human non-human relationship man has mastery on account of 'having' a mind. Man has a mode of 'having' distinct from the manner of 'having' of the nature that surrounds him, a mode of 'having' in which the intellect, the will and the emotions interact, enabling him to create for himself a 'habitat' or appropriate dwelling: the hamlet, the village, the town and the city; to satisfy his personal and societal needs.

In work and through work man also receives recognition by his fellow men as having achieved this or that. Work therefore manifests not only what one has externally or economically, but what one is: a synthesis of the goods of having (externally) and the goods of being (internally). We then speak of the material and spiritual goods of human nature for human perfection and happiness. In the wider spectrum it is through work that a culture or cultures are forged.

Around us, and I have Kenyans in mind, we observe a negative attitude to work. This attitude is reflected in the tendency of many people to evade too much commitment in work and in the provision of public services as well as a general lack of enthusiasm to serve. It is also exemplified in the frenetic pre-occupation with quick and easy access to wealth through any means including corruption. The conclusion which one draws from this general attitude is that work is understood solely as a means to amass wealth and survive with no other end beyond survival.

I. Possible definition of human work

The term work in English is translated to werke in German, to travaille in French, trabajo in Spanish. According to Kernig (1973) trabajo is derived from its Latin counterpart, trab, trabalis which means beam or draught animal. The Hebrew term, according to the same source, is ebed, which means servant. From these two last terms what we find reflected is work as servile, something unpleasant or a coercive activity. Kazi, the Swahili translation of work does not help either. In it, as well as in all the above other languages the term work signifies one or other of the following: a human activity in a general sense, as when one says he works very hard; the real product of a specific activity as when one says 'this is my work'; or a task or occupation, as when one says 'his work' is to drive. This paper is concerned with the notion of work as a human activity.

In this general sense, work, in English, is also called 'labour' or toil'. The term labour adds to the notion of work that of physical effort and self-exertion. The term 'toil' qualifies labour even further by implying that the self-exertion of labour is accompanied by a certain suffering or pain. Toil is described as exhausting labour or effort. The term work on the other hand does not necessarily drag in all these negative notions. Chamber's dictionary simply describes it as physical or mental effort to make or do something. Hence we talk of a 'good work'. We say we are proud of some work; we speak of 'a work' of art, etc. Thus, whereas all human toil is work, we could not correctly say that all work is toil. These terms are not synonymous.

In all these expressions, though different in their specific meanings, there is something common. In each one of them, work is an activity. In any one of them, work is a process, and as such, be it mental or physical effort, it produces fatigue. Because it is an activity, work requires some effort for its accomplishment. And, finally, work is also a service.

The concept then that we form from the term work is that of an activity which requires of the agent that there be some effort in self application to something, with the view of realising something, or of obtaining something. Work is a process with a terminus or end. Given that an agent acts in accordance with his way of being, agere sequitur esse, work, as a human activity requires intentionality and voluntariness as a previous disposition in the subject. True, some external forces could at times force someone to work, as in the case of fear or violence, but to be properly human work, as contrasted with the activities of irrational beings, intentionality and volition are essential. In this sense too, we can deduce that only human beings work, properly speaking.

To 'occupy oneself', to 'exert-self' or to 'apply-self', in carrying out some job require that there be an end, a purpose to be achieved. Therefore work is described even better as that activity or any activity which is linked to an already established purpose or achievement. When we see people doing something and they do not know what they are doing or why they are doing it, we conclude that they are out of their minds.

This fact points to a relation between cognition and action. A relation between knowledge, wants and activity. To establish a purpose in carrying out an activity responds to the already much discussed topic on the complexity of the human person regarding his being and his nature. Man as a being with a received existence, is at once at par with the rest of nature, as far as existence is concerned and at the same time apart from nature on account of the kind of activities which emanate from him. These activities make his position central within nature or the non-human reality around him. It is in this sense that we can speak of man and the environment, or of man and his habitat, because he lives with and in what surrounds: the environment. The particularly 'human acts' by which he does so are his capacity for higher cognition, a capacity for love, creativity and decision-making. These acts do not confer to him the initial being but they form and complete his 'given' nature by assimilating the existence of the reality about him to his inner world of intentionality and volition. Thus, man is forever in a perfective process. As the Swahili adage says: 'kabla hujafa hujaumbika', meaning so long as the human being, any human being is alive he can be perfected. Thus 'mlatzo ni mwenga or 'damu ni moja', derived from Swahili wisdom, mean that all human beings are the same in this respect, otherwise they would not be human.

Classical philosophy, particularly Aristotle, handles this complexity of man and his activities by categorizing them in three levels. In the first category he places those activities whose final 'telos' is pure intellective cognition for the sake of its contemplation or for information. He called this kind of activity theoresis, from theorein which means contemplation. Other times he calls it praxis teleia or theoretical activity.

To the second category of activities, which he calls praxis proper or ethical/juridical praxis, he places all those human activities which are connected with the various forms of human endeavour. In this level of cognition is to be found all ethical, political and juridical knowledge, and all those activities whose end is in any way related to forging one's own moral personality.

The term praxis, is related to prattein, Greek term meaning 'to do', which Latin translated to 'agere', actum', and from which are derived English terms like 'practice', practical and action. To the activities of this level, classical philosophy also attaches theoretical practical cognition inasmuch as all action needs to be preceded by and directed toward the contemplation of reality. Thus cognition at this level is directed to moral activity as well as to all those actions whose purpose is the perfection of the one who carries them out.

Both in theoretical cognition, as an activity, and in praxis, the terminus of the action is immanent in the subject. Thus it can be argued that at these two levels all human action has an internal end. Furthermore, as autonomous action, all human endeavour calls for guidance and constant self-determination in order not only to do something or not to do it, but also in order to do it in one way or in another. Hence, the core of ethical, juridical and political praxis is 'good' and 'value' or ethical virtue.

The activities of the third category correspond to what Aristotle calls poietic cognition, from poien, meaning 'to make', which Latin translated to 'facere', origin of terms like 'factory', 'fact', 'manufacture' and others. This is the level of creative cognition with the resultant transformation of something external, particularly the transformation of nature for utilitarian or economic purposes. It is the level of production directly involving corporeal powers. To it belong the kind of activity we call technique, technology, art, and skills. An important moment in poietic cognition is where it links up with theory and praxis, for instance, in the decision of the criteria to be used in the application of theory to production or to technology.

Within this category belong all those activities which shape or form some external thing, including people as in the case of education, and in doing so, also confer a certain perfection to the subject himself inasmuch as he applies his knowledge, his 'know-how'to that activity. To this third group belong, properly speaking, the activity we call work, which Choza (1988) defines as "the human activity which transforms something external, either directly or indirectly". However, inasmuch as this activity requires the 'know-how', it is necessarily linked to praxis, to contemplation and leisure. This classification has not been superseded in depth by any other. The notions of theory, action, practice and practical, are familiar to us. For that reason it is here used to seek a deeper understanding of the relation between work and happiness. But first it is important to establish at what level it can be said that there is work in these three levels of human cognition and activity.

II. Work: Origin in Distance and Temporarity

The notions of fatigue, self-exertion and effort, already imply that in work there is something to be reached, a certain distance to be covered before arriving to the terminus of intention. It is a notion of distance and temporality, for until what is desired is reached the separating factor is a form of gap, a way to be travelled and a time in which to travel it. In agreement with Alvira (Alvira:1988), work originates in distance and in temporality, in such a way that, so long as the distance and the time that separates one from the goal, from the 'telos' remains, the kind of human activity or process happening is all work. Work in this sense can also be explained as originating in the polarity between challenge and response. Challenge, in this sense would be the terminus, Truth or information in the case of theoretical cognition, love and justice in the case of ethical praxis, and economic utility and the power it wields in the case of poietic activity. The response would comprise of the mental, moral and physical 'doing' and 'making' in order either 'to have' or 'to be'.

At first, it could appear as if work, strictly speaking belongs only to the second and third categories of human activity. It seems as if there is no work in theoresis, [the intellectual quest for truth, and the subsequent interior rest or tranquillity that follows the possession of knowledge, directed, not to fatigue but to truth as a good of the mind, as happens with knowledge or in the contemplation of what is beautiful].This could be true in an absolute contemplation because then the notion of fatigue, exertion, effort disappear, but, in the process that preceeds the attainment of the object of contemplation, there still remains some distance and temporality. It is a distance between the now of thinking and then of the attainment of the object of such contemplation; the process, or the activity of the operative powers. That too is work. That is why thinking tires. It is only love, the final stage of the process, the contemplation of the good achieved, which does not because by then the distance has been filled up. There, time does not seem to pass. Temporality disappears with the attainment of the goals. To conclude this part, we can see that there is work in the theoretical activity which leads to contemplation, or to the enjoyment of mind in truth.

III. Human Work as Appropriation

All human work can have as its end either the appropriation of something, in which case the end is already thought out, or, the transformation or/and production of something new. In either case the agent in his intentionality and volition has to attend not only to the end pursued, but also to the means that are required so as to attain the end desired. Viewed from this optic most kinds of work are only means towards some goal. Most work is done as a means to some other end and this end is often also a means again in relation to some other end. In other words what we term end at a given moment, is in reality, only a means to still other ends, such as sustenance of the family, prestige or power.

Work, from the production point of view, and inasmuch as it is human action, with intentionality and volition, requires the existence of a last and definitive product. If it did not, production then would be the sole purpose of work, in a continuous manner, with no end beyond more production more use and more production. This one for that, that one for the other, and like this 'ad infinitum'. This leaves us with work, (distance and temporality) as a continuous process. To conceive work this way, where there is no final goal, converts man's essence into a working thing, solely an homo faber, a subject of continuous, never ending activity. This, to a great extent, is the approach adopted by Marx. His 'worker' is incapable of ever reaching any ultimate good; the point of repose, of rest, and of contemplation because either he does not know about it or he does not believe in it. Work in itself becomes for someone like that, the end.

Even from the point of view of appropriation in the purely material sense of 'possession', a complete and sufficient meaning to this human activity, requires that there be a possession which is both complete and final: to possess all, and to be assured of its perpetual security. But all material reality is characterised by contingency, the need for continuously 'making available', replenishing, repairing, up-dating. All this goes to show that work in this last sense, with material appropriation as its target, cannot have reason of end, but only that of means. Man would, if he only worked for this target, be condemned to the eternal struggle, to the unending distance, to a striving without solution, no terminus. This is the prototype of the 'worker' presented by Hegel and Marx.

For Hegel (Hutchins: 1952), work is simply mediation between needs and their satisfaction. Thus he gives an idealistic theory of work utilising the concepts of externalization and objectification of work, of the worker from the product of his work. Marx (De Haro: 1977) offers a humanistic theory of labor which aims at concretizing Hegel's idealism. In his theory of the alienation of the worker from the product of his work Marx does not look at human nature. It appears that he only seems to concentrate in the fate of the industrial worker of his time. This fact makes his theory irrelevant for the activities of other human beings who happen not to be industrial workers. That is why in his theory of work one fails to find room for human happiness, a happiness which can apply to all human beings, no matter what social class they belong to.

Work then, considered only from the point of view of production, does not satisfy, rationally, as a task befitting the human person. On account of its being this kind of medial activity, we can understand why even Aristotle and those who thought like him could not conceive it as a task befitting a man of the polis, the free citizen, nor the philosopher. This understanding of work is reductive. Work, understood only as mediation, becomes an activity whose only meaning is to procure the necessary means to self-preservation. It also explains why manual and domestic work was, and is still in many places, conceived as a task to be carried out by the less privileged. For the Greeks these were the slaves and the non-citizens. Those others, the 'true' men, according to that culture, dedicated themselves to higher things: to the affairs of the city and of virtue, so that if at any time work as an activity of the third category had to be done, it could only be for leisure, for the enjoyment it could give. Thus, in agreement with Alvira (Alvira:1991), neither in ancient philosophical thought nor in the modern do we find a clear understanding of why one has to work, especially if one can get the necessities of self-preservation without doing so. This conception of work atrophies some aspects of the human action while it hypertrophies others. It creates an excision within the unity of the person in his natural perfective process.

IV. Perfective Dimensions of Human Work

If we want to obtain any other significance of work beyond the satisfaction of the immediate material necessities then we have to look for another explanation for it. For that it is necessary to go back to the notions 'praxis' and 'poiesis'. We find that both in contemplation as well as in technique, human action is involved. Human action in modernity is often understood as technique. But, whether understood as technique, or as ethics and political action in classical philosophy, human action still implies that work is involved. From this human action approach, work even in its material sense as production, is then not simply some automatic, manual activity, as Aristotle seems to have taken it to be, but rather a task that is governed by reason. In this sense, work has a perfective dimension. We can refer to this as the intellective, scientific or illuminative dimension. It also means that, all work produces or transforms something, either immanently i.e. in the interior of the agent, or also in the exterior reality which he handles in accordance with certain rules of efficiency which permit the most adequate use of human energy. This latter is the technical dimension of work. And, linking the intellective and technical dimension there is the volitive, moral dimension which converts the other two into something human, something done by a human being, conferring dignity on all kinds of human work.

In L. Polo (Polo:1988) we find a striking understanding of human action in which these two approaches, the classical and modern, to human work are perfectly harmonized. He suggests that human work is possible because man is a rational being. Work is possible because rationality or whatever other characteristic is in him which is specifically human, is linked to him in the manner of 'having' a rational principle or 'logos'. Hence, 'having' rationality as a metaphysical notion is not, secondary but primary to being. To be and to be rational in man's nature are not two distinct or juxtaposed realities. All work is connected in some way to 'having'. This same approach is also taken by Passmore (Passmore:1970) when he examines views related to human perfection ranging from Plato to Spencer. Passmore regards human perfection as the harmonious development of all our faculties, corporeal and mental, intellectual and moral" (Passmore 1970:25). Thus every human being, assuming only that he/she is normally constituted is capable of being perfected. That can only mean that teleological perfection of man/woman has to do with the attainment of an end inherent in human nature.

Unlike them, Fromm (Fromm:1976) seems to have no sympathy with this notion of 'having' and 'being' modes of existence because of his own understanding of 'having'. Having can, as we have seen, mean different things. There is a mode of 'having' or capacity (capax) which characterises human beings as rational, including rationality in potency. This is a manner of 'having' such that in the essence of that being there is an ability to add something to its being, or existence (esse). For this reason, in man, existence alone is not sufficient for someone to be complete or perfect. One has to self-realize oneself by a mode of 'having' or appropriation, using the various powers with which one is naturally endowed, and thereby procure his greater perfection as a human being. In this sense some people talk of the fullness of personhood as the ability to effectively exercise one's rational, creative, volitional and emotional faculties. This is a manner of having or of appropriation.

However, in this appropriation some aspects are more important than others making man/woman, so to speak, more directly ordered to some goods than he is to others, as man. There are then different modes of 'having', but since in all of them human action is involved there is always a certain amount of work. That is how we come to identify 'having' or appropriation under three categories of theoresis, praxis and poiesis which relate to each other in a hierarchical manner.

Poietic, corporeal, or economic appropriation is the most basic of them, but also the least perfective. It is:

'having' in the ordinary and strict sense. This is the mode of 'having' which is related to the acquisition of the basic needs for survival. It requires the dominion or mastery of Nature for one's benefit or for self-preservation and well-being. It is the pragmatic level, the level of invention, technique and production, the level of work in the strict and common usage of the term.

We have also mentioned the 'having' according to the mind: the theoretical, cognitive type whose terminus is, firstly, the contemplation of the truth, (knowledge for its own sake) and only in a secondary manner, the application of that truth to a portion of reality or Technology.

The third mode of 'having' or appropriation pertains to the volitive power, the will through which it can also be extended to the affective states: the emotions. Here 'having'' consists in the acquisition of stable qualities or habits of the mind and of the will, which we call virtue. It is the practical or moral level of appropriation. The kind of 'having' involved in these two latter levels is often referred to by some people as 'being more', and by others as 'having more'. All the three modes are specifically human. But there is a hierarchical relationship between them, where some are for the sake of the others. We can say that some ends are means in regard to the higher and even absolute modes of having.

V. Work and Ethics

Both Science and Technology can be used either for good or for evil. Practical wisdom should thus enter, must enter, to guide, moderate and show the truth of, and suitability of certain practices or their unsuitability. If it is accepted that there can and does exist an absolute Truth, as an end and not a means, then modern Science, as the application of knowledge to a portion of the greater reality can not be something totally apart from that greater Truth. Its use by man, therefore, needs the rules, the norms of morality. It is in this sense that, something which might appear to be, from the technical point of view, a great success, could be, in the moral sense, an aberration. The manipulation of information technology, genetic engineering and the various modalities of economic corruption are just few examples. Thus Technique is secondary to Ethics. Owing to their nature, Science and Technology should submit to the moral good, of man. Corruption on the other hand happens when the will wants to appropriate economic goods without experiencing distance and temporarity, without effort, self-exertion or toil.

Similarly, just as Truth is a primary and absolute value, so too, moral good is an absolute. I hope that everyone will agree that efficiency inasmuch as it is only a means to an end, something instrumental, cannot ever hope to occupy the same category as those modes of 'having' which, to a certain extent, are means in a higher level, a level more in keeping with human spirituality and with man's proper end. The value attaching to efficiency, or technique is therefore always relative.

Thus, in the same way as Technique is subordinated to Science, so too all positive Science, natural or social should subordinate itself to moral value, and not the other way round. If Technique were to lend a deaf ear to Science, it is not difficult to foresee what would happen. Think for instance, of medicine not informed by scientific knowledge! The same kind of damage occurs when Technology either disassociates its activities from Ethics, or follows an ethic which ignores the practice of virtues.

Technique without morality is not only a disaster, but to a certain extent, an impossibility because, the damage it could, in the long term, bring to mankind would eventually lead to a reversal of the values. Perhaps in this can be seen, Nietzsche's reasoning when he sees no remedy for man given completely to will to power but to recur to those values, moral values, which once made living something 'sane'. The signs of our times reveal something of that kind: AIDS, famines, wars, deformities and other diseases, North-South imbalance in the use and distribution of resources, are all but just examples of what can and does happen when man does not attend to the basic notions of intrinsic and objective moral principles.

VI. Conclusion

To conclude, we can say that human work has more than just utilitarian purpose. By work man exercises his dominion over 'Nature', understood as his habitat, making it better adapted for his habitation. It is not proper to man to live with Nature as do the animals, because he has the ability to transform and thereby, in addition to using it, confer on it a much nobler purpose: a human purpose. He can take care of it and enhance it.

By work, man ennobles those endowments that he has received which make him superior to animals and other irrational beings: His reason, his freedom, and his talent. Man also gets to know himself better through his activities, which we have termed work, because through them, he creates a personality in himself, a personality which was initially in him in a potential sense. That fact shows the value of each human being, even in this rather material sense. By work, he also 'creates' something external by transforming the things on which he works, to build or to destroy. It is in this sense that by his work man either ennobles or debases himself. Virtue is a greater value than utility.

Through his tri-dimensional capacity for action, man forges a destiny for himself: to be happy in work within a framework of self-realization, or to be a slave of work, seeing it as a perpetual punishment, a process with not ulterior explanation beyond effort, struggle, possession and more struggle. If happiness consists in the possession of what is most appropriate to man as a spiritual being, it must also mean that its possession should be permanent, not prone to being lost easily. Now, for something to remain permanently possessed, it must be possessed or 'had' in the being of the possessor with firmness, and as one's nature. This is characteristic of virtue, both intellectual and moral. A virtuous person, particularly as regards moral virtue, is free and happy. The absence of virtue such as in precipitancy, inconsideration, intemperance, etc, are sources of problems and of unhappiness and conflicts among men.

Since man is a social being, work is also a service to the others and a sign of friendship and benevolence. In it, besides the use of the object of his production, the virtuous person sees and seeks something beyond the mere possessing. He aspires to share his gift, the gift of what he is', what he possesses, with other human beings: knowledge, talent, virtue; so that they too may 'have' and be happy. In this sense work is a service and the greatest contribution to the common good. In, and through work, one can, if one wants, appropriate things; incorporate them so as to serve the others. He can produce things, mechanical works, to serve others more efficiently. He or she can also produce beautiful works of art, books, artistic works, sports, so as to offer them to others as a symbol of friendship as well as a means of self expression (Alvira:1988). Thus, says Grimaldi, "the necessities of our subsistence are more of an occasion rather than the reason for work, (In Alvira:1988). Through our work we become more because we add something to our being. In this sense it can be said that man and woman only find happiness in giving something of what they are to others. It also explains why human beings, no matter how powerful or rich, need others for whom they can do something. Human beings are the only animals capabble of feeling nostalgia.

In the technical and moral level this understanding of work leads to the zeal to excel. By this is meant that one consciously aspires to work well, making the greatest possible effort to produce perfect work according to the best models known within the particular practice in question. The social sciences call that 'professionality'. This requires the development of certain habits or virtues and of course, the rejection of those vices or habits that are opposed to those virtues. In a word, the formulation of an Ethic of work.

The most important of those virtues is industriousness. To be industrious is not exactly the same thing as to be very active. Industriousness requires that work be orderly, well organized and that certain priorities are observed.

Industriousness also means work done diligently; that is to say that work be done lovingly. There is a great difference between work done lovingly and work done because it has to be done as mere meaningless duty. In the first one there is the perfective effect, whereas in the second one there is only a partial perfective dimension. And, what is more, these internal dispositions show externally in work itself. Now love is to be found not only in the personal motive with which one works (my immediate aim) but also in the extent to which the work itself is in keeping with those norms which, in some way, reflect permanent values. This is the link between 'know-how'or technique, and morality, the humanising factor.

For work itself to be worthy, well-done, it must also be done in accordance with certain objective ethical norms. Effort, though praiseworthy, is not enough to make a work good. Shoddy work is not made good by the fact that there was effort. Effort has to combine with quality, with detail, with aesthetics and with finishedness. This is the ambit of patience, constancy and perseverance in the work begun. In it one has the opportunities to exercise understanding, promptness in serving clients for instance and in treating all people with the dignity that befits them as fellow human beings who need one's service. A cheerful service is one of the most appreciated human qualities.

Opposed to industriousness is laziness, a vice by defect. Laziness must not be understood to be only the 'doing-nothing', or 'do-little', which is, of course, the first and clearest expression of that vice. It includes all forms of 'go-slow' and calculating of effort attitude. Yet nothing tires so much as 'laziness'. It tires because to maintain inactivity, or to work slowly when one is not so constituted also requires some effort. It is tiring to refrain from doing, from thinking, from using one's imagination because the operative powers point towards that direction. On the other hand in so doing one deprives oneself of that self-realization by which one can add something to his being.

Most people who do very little find themselves constantly tired. Paraphrasing Strauss (Strauss:1970;236) one can say that the poverty which ensues from laziness is an unnatural condition in man because natural law does not encourage begging, and the only honest way of appropriating material things other than just taking them, (through corruption and other forms of stealing), not from other people, but from nature is through work.

Opposed to industriousness by excess is the frenetic non-stop activity which some people nowadays call 'workaholism'. This defect has two sources; it could be a cover up for some problem, for instance that of fear of assuming some responsibility besides that of the particular job at hand, or a form of escape from facing some unappealing social or family situation, or even of facing oneself. In both cases pyschological negative habit, a vice, is involved. Non-stop activity could also arise when work has not been properly understood in its complete dimension and function for man. This would be the case where work, in its technical dimension is understood as an end in itself, on one hand, and on the other hand where work is understood as a kind of punishment to be avoided by all means and whenever possible.

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L. Polo, (1988), Tener y Dar, Madrid

________, (1991) Quién es el hombre, Rialp, Madrid.

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