Work is one of the most universal features of human life; virtually everybody spends some part of their life at work. It is often associated with tedium and boredom; in conflict with the things we would otherwise love to do. Thinking of work primarily as a burden - an activity we would rather be without - is a thought that was shared by the philosophers in ancient Greece, who generally regarded work as a terrible curse. And yet, research shows that it prolongs life and is generally good for people's physical and mental health. This is perhaps why work is increasingly recognized as a crucial source of meaning and social identity. And our attitudes to work have been changing significantly in the last decades, with an increased demand for meaning and self-realization in the workplace.In this book, Lars Svendsen argues that we need to complete this reorientation of our feelings about work and collapse the differences between leisure and work. Work, like the poor, is always with us. But to overcome the sense of being burnt out, we must think of work as not only productive but recreative - in other words, a lot more like leisure.
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Lars Svendsen is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bergen, Norway.
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