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The Value of Work

Basically our excellent survival—the fact that there are four and a half billion1 wonderful humans, with the enormous intelligence that is operating largely covered by distress but ready to be liberated from the distress—is the result of our work. Work is the handling of the environment for human survival. We can broaden that definition to the survival of all forms of life. We’d better pretty2 soon.

Work is very much the center of our activities. To realize how important it is and how much the center of our existence, consider our surroundings. We think all these chairs are hard, but we’ve got a place to sit, we’ve got a place to stay warm, we’ve got warm clothing, we have elegant communication, we’ve got advanced equipment here making videocassettes.3 We have access to information from a dozen sources. We have created a wonderful environment. There are a few snags in it—the pollution, the misuse, and so on—but they are tiny compared to the results of our work.

People who work produce everything. Everyone lives on the production of the people who work, and workers in the basic industries of course produce almost all of it.

Harvey Jackins
From pages 327 to 328 of "From the
Men's Workshop," in The Rest of Our Lives


1 This article is from a talk given in 1982.
2 “Pretty” means quite.
3 See footnote 1.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00