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Monday, 27 October 2014 07:11

America's Puritanical Obsession with Work

Written by M. Oliver Heydorn
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A few months ago, Abby Martin from Russia Today criticized the unhealthy obsession with work that characterizes American culture. The average American between 25-54 who has at least one child spends nine hours every day working and Americans labour more than workers in nearly every other industrialized country. The absence of things like paid parental leave, of guaranteed paid vacations, etc., only serves to reinforce the importance of employment as the central axis around which one's whole life must revolve. Work has become an end in itself, the raison d'être of one's very existence. Why did God make us? Well, to work, of course!

 

In contradistinction to the general attitude exhibited by the American status quo, work in the formal economy is not an end in itself, but a mere means to an end. We should work, and only insofar as the work is actually required by the economy's real or physical potential, in order to live and not live in order to work. According to Saint Athanasius, confusing means with ends is of the very essence of sin. This particular inversion of means and ends has its root in that perversion of authentic Christianity otherwise known as Puritanism, a religious ideology, nay heresy, which has plagued American society since its inception.

The obsession with work as an end in itself is so pervasive and its effect on American culture so toxic, that the following statements of George W. Bush from a Town Hall Meeting back in 2005 only garnered applause:

In truth, the fact that this divorced mother of three has to work three jobs (!) in order to make ends meet is not an occasion for exultation (e.g., "That's fantastic!") nor for self-congratulation ("That's uniquely American!"), but is rather an indication that there is something fundamentally and structurally wrong with the American economy and with American culture. By contrast, it is reported by reputable historians that in "Merrie England", which was Catholic as opposed to Puritan England, the average peasant only had to work for 15 weeks of the year under pre-industrial conditions in order to provide for his family and that he also enjoyed 150 official holidays each and every year. What did he do with his 'time off?' Well, he enjoyed it and possibly spent some of it in meaningful and especially creative activities. Both high culture and folk culture flourished as a result. Industrialization should have improved the standard of living without sacrificing people's leisure time. This has not happened because, as every Social Crediter knows, a dysfunctional credit monopoly is embedded in our present financial system, a system which does not accurately reflect and record physical economic facts. Unfortunately, the typical American is too busy working to have either the time or the energy to reflect on the profound absurity of it all. And so the madness continues ...

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9 comments

  • Comment Link  Alex Greer Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:27 posted by Alex Greer

    Has anyone read the writings of William Perkins?

  • Comment Link Anthony Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:26 posted by Anthony

    Permanently moved to Brazil in August 2017. FINALLY free from the "rat race", materialism and superficiality of America. Should have made this decision 30 years ago. It's good to LIVE life each day instead of "running here and there" like a chicken with his head cut off. American society is simply crazy. Stop and really think about what is important and you will see America doesn't offer it!

  • Comment Link  David Collins Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:26 posted by David Collins

    Michael, Michael, trust me, the vast majority of us are not afflicted with the mental disorder of workaholism.. There's nothing fulfilling about work, in and of itself, for most of us; that's because most of us don't make a god out of work.

    Economics was made for man, not man for economics.

  • Comment Link Michael Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:26 posted by Michael

    This author has an interesting viewpoint but it leaves something important out. In America you are permitted to be yourself and if needs be to change as many times as you wish. One is not a slave to work. Working as a surgeon, an electrical engineer, a policy lawyer, a dentist, or a computer programmer is fulfilling, and love of what one does well is exhilarating such that one thinks about it constantly, striving to be all that America allows you to be: inventing, discovering, creating. You are rewarded not only by your peers but by yourself. What a wonderful thing that a society encourages you and me to be possessed with energy we did not realize we had. To some, like the author, this self-imposed will is defined as a slavery from without, but in reality is self-possession and peaceful. Time flies so swiftly working in America, and one is impelled to go on because you want to. Society wants you to succeed.

  • Comment Link Sara Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:25 posted by Sara

    The hustling/opportunistic business of american is profound. Each tax -debt slave (AKA: citizen/employee) is mostly a brainwashed cult member who obscesses over horatio alger fairy tales and somedays that million dollar ship will come in. It truly is a sick business (culture) in the states that represents a failed country.

  • Comment Link Jean Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:25 posted by Jean

    I agree with Wally, Oliver - an excellent piece (or whatever one calls it)
    I shall do my best to spread it. I do wish, however, that the Americans would realise that there are 'other' nations in this world and that most of the people in this modern world are suffering from the same disease: 'obsession with work' because of the same political policies.

  • Comment Link  Wally Klinck Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:24 posted by Wally Klinck

    Fantastic, Oliver! I hope that you are managing to disseminate these superlative blogs to a rapidly expanding audience. http://www.socred.org

    The “Curse of Adam” has now been physically conquered, actually and potentially, and the time is considerably past when our increasingly dysfunctional and obsolete financial system must be made to reflect this fundamental, irrefutable and rapidly unfolding reality. The prevailing and progressive atavistic retreat from Civilization must be reversed—decisively and permanently.

    Forwarding to many.

    Best Wishes
    Wally

  • Comment Link  bob klinck Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:24 posted by bob klinck

    The USA is key to the world military/economic hegemony being installed by international finance. This is unfortunate for the mass of American people, who to fulfil the financiers' purposes must be prevented from acquiring any vision of life broader than "workin' hard", in GW Bush's terminology, and saluting the flag.

  • Comment Link  Ted Reznowski Saturday, 10 February 2018 06:24 posted by Ted Reznowski

    People realize that there is something deeply wrong with the wage slavery in America. Work is made into one's reason for existing, yet millions in America are trying to find some way out, though it is only a partial cure, without changing the debt system of private money creation. The movement for work flexibility is increasing popular: http://www.workflexibility.org/

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