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Work: Its Nature, Meaning, Motives, and Assessment Thomas Donlin-Smith, Professor of Religious Studies.

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Presentation on theme: "Work: Its Nature, Meaning, Motives, and Assessment Thomas Donlin-Smith, Professor of Religious Studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Work: Its Nature, Meaning, Motives, and Assessment Thomas Donlin-Smith, Professor of Religious Studies

2 What makes something work? How does work differ from leisure or play?

3 What makes something work? Work is a goal-oriented process of activity pursued to satisfy a felt need

4 Work is a deliberate process of activity Includes mental activity. Activity is why work is tiring, why we need leisure to rest or recover from work. The activity can be dangerous, life-shortening, full or repetitive stress, or just boring. Or it can be enjoyable / fun, then we start to lose the distinction between work and play Buddhist mindfulness and tathata can bring pleasure and meaning to the most mundane work activities.

5 Work is goal oriented Work is meant to result in a product, something accomplished. This is why work can be deeply satisfying – if the product is something we care about and are proud of. Its also why work can be alienating – if the product is insignificant, shameful, not accomplished. People can be alienated from their product but still enjoy the process. Or people can value what is accomplished by their work but still hate the process

6 The activity & product of work meet a need Work has an element of necessity about it. This is why work can be dreaded and resented. Its something we have to do; its compulsory rather than optional. Would you work if you didnt have to? If you were rich, would you choose to work?

7 What's the difference between work, play and leisure?

8 Some terms related to work What makes an activity a job? What does it mean to have a career? What does it mean to have a profession? What does it mean to have a calling or vocation?

9 What motivates people to work? Why do people work? What do we get from it? What social, psychological, or material needs does work address? Can work be a spiritual matter?

10 The Assessment of Work. What makes work good or bad? Work is socially valued, but valued differently by different cultures. Each of the elements of our definition of work is open to moral assessment Works activities and processes Works goals and products The conditions of its necessity By what criteria may we assess work?


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