Short Essay On Dignity Of Labour

This is the significance that physical labor possesses for man inevery community; but in our community, where the avoidance of thislaw of labor has occasioned the unhappiness of a whole class ofpeople, employment in physical labor acquires still anothersignificance,--the significance of a sermon, and of an occupationwhich removes a terrible misfortune that is threatening mankind.To say that physical labor is an insignificant occupation for a manof education, is equivalent to saying, in connection with theerection of a temple: "What does it matter whether one stone is laidaccurately in its place?

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Hence it results that half a score of men may till the soil, hewwood, and make shoes, not from necessity, but in consequence of anacknowledgment of the fact that man should work, and that the more heworks the better it will be for him.

It results, that half a scoreof men,--or even one man, may demonstrate to people, both by hisconfession and by his actions, that the terrible evil from which theyare suffering is not a law of fate, the will of God, or anyhistorical necessity; but that it is merely a superstition, which isnot in the least powerful or terrible, but weak and insignificant, inwhich we must simply cease to believe, as in idols, in order to ridourselves of it, and in order to rend it like a paltry spider's web.

Theconscience of man cannot be quieted by fresh devices; and it can onlybe calmed by a change of life, for which and in which nojustification will be required.

Two causes prove to the people of the wealthy classes the necessityfor a change of life: the requirements of their individual welfare,and of the welfare of those most nearly connected with them, whichcannot be satisfied in the path in which they now stand; and thenecessity of satisfying the voice of conscience, the impossibility ofaccomplishing which is obvious in their present course.

But not only does every conscientiousman feel this himself,--he would be glad to forget it, but this hecannot do.

The new, ephemeral justifications of science for science, of art forart, do not exclude the light of a simple, healthy judgment.

" Surely, it is precisely under conditionsof modesty, simplicity, and imperceptibleness, that every magnificentthing is accomplished; it is impossible to plough, to build, topasture cattle, or even to think, amid glare, thunder, andillumination.

Grand and genuine deeds are always simple and modest.

What will be the result if I, or some other man, or a handful of men,do not despise physical labor, but regard it as indispensable to ourhappiness and to the appeasement of our conscience?

This will be theresult, that there will be one man, two men, or a handful of men,who, coming into conflict with no one, without governmental orrevolutionary violence, will decide for ourselves the terriblequestion which stands before all the world, and which sets people atvariance, and that we shall settle it in such wise that life will bebetter to them, that their conscience will be more at peace, and thatthey will have nothing to fear; the result will be, that other peoplewill see that the happiness which they are seeking everywhere, liesthere around them; that the apparently unreconcilable contradictionsof conscience and of the constitution of this world will bereconciled in the easiest and most joyful manner; and that, insteadof fearing the people who surround us, it will become necessary forus to draw near to them and to love them.


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