Work and Family #67
Aristotle and Richard Easterlin on what matters in life
Welcome to the next post in our year-long philosophy experiment, where we try out six different philosophies of life and see how they work out for us! Subscribe to the mailing list and you’ll get an email every few days with thoughts and inspiration. I’d love to have your feedback on the whole project and to hear how you’re doing and whether you find this useful and fun.
These first two months, we will try to live according to the advice of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC). Last time, we talked about how to choose the right goals in life. Today, we’ll talk a bit about choosing the right goals at work.
Let’s dive in!
For some of the ancients, life was a bit easier than it is today. In ancient Athens, mother city of democracy, there were around four slaves to each one citizen, and only the poorest could not afford even one slave. So, for a citizen like Aristotle, much of the day was taken up by exercising (the Greeks were great at sports, hence the word Gymnasium, which comes from Greek “gymnos,” meaning “naked,” because they exercised that way). If they were not exercising or washing off the sweat, they were mostly socialising, making acquaintances and business deals, overseeing their slaves, working in the public administration, creating art or works of craft and engineering, or preparing for the evening’s fun, which could involve hours-long dinners like the one described by Plato in the Symposium.
The purpose of work
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