Work - by Hugh Black - PDF ebook



a denunciation of idleness; for to workers it seems like beating the air so far as they are concerned. They are inclined to think that those who speak most eloquently in praise of work, as if labour were a luxury, are usually people who know little of its burden. Still, there is no subject that has more right to be considered since there is no single subject that fills so large a space in the lives of most.

 We may object that we have no choice in the matter and no need for encouragement or reproof. We at least have the spur of necessity that would soon prick our side if we tried to dispense with what is our lot. It might seem also as if it could be said with some truth that idleness is not a very glaring fault of our race, that our country compared with some others is a perfect hive of industry, and that many among us suffer from overwork rather than underwork.

 It may be worthwhile considering the subject, though all this be true, and though we ourselves be even desperately industrious; for is it not the case _ that the false and foolish standard is set up in the society which almost looks upon it as a disgrace to work, or at least makes idleness an ideal? If we search for it we may find it in some corner of our own heart. 

Many work hard with little thought either of the nobility or the meaning of work, but only to get rich so that some fine day they too may be able to be idle. In spite of our activities, we may hanker after what we conceive to be the paradise of idleness. The ultimate ambition in our minds is to be freed from the necessity of work as if work and not idleness were the evil. We do not value work for its own sake but think of it as a disagreeable necessity. 

The common social ideal is certainly a life of ease and pleasure, not a life of work and service. Society among us seems to be carefully graded in inverse proportion according to the amount of leisure enjoyed. We know how ‘Society’ looks down on trade and business, the industry which alone makes it possible for them to live at all; and as for manual labour, that is in another hemisphere! 

If we do value business, it is for its returns, its profits, not for the honest employment which trains body and mind and develops character. 

This is not just the ignorant contempt of a select class; it has permeated all classes so that to climb the social ladder means getting rid of work. Burton gives a chapter full of his quaint and pedantic learning about exercise, quoting the wisdom of the ancients as to the necessity of labour for health of body and mind, citing Seneca and Xenophon, the practice of the Egyptians of old, Jews, Turks, and then he draws the contrast in irony, ‘But amongst us, the badge of the gentry is idleness: to be of no call, not to labour, for that’s derogatory to their birth, to be a mere spectator, a drone. 

This ideal affects the whole social organism and influences the thought and conduct of all. Some of us, who are very diligent and industrious, have the makings of pretty fair specimens of the sluggard in us since our hearts are set on that as the great end of life.

  • Idleness and work 
  • The habit of work. 
  • The moral need for work 
  • Tue duty of work. 
  • The fruits of work
  • The ideal of work.
  • The gospel of work
  • Rest and work.

book details :
  • Author: Hugh Black
  • Publication date: 1903
  • Company:Toronto: F.H. Revel Co

  • Download Work - by Hugh Black  - PDF ebook

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