Work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half.
A man is not idle, because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labour and there is an invisible labour.[On n’est pas inoccupé parce qu’on est absorbé. Il y a le labeur visible et le labeur invisible.]
Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so.
Work is a blessing when it helps us to think about what we’re doing; but it becomes a curse when its sole use is to stop us thinking about the meaning of our life.
Work almost always has a double aspect: it is a bondage, a wearisome drudgery; but it is also a source of interest, a steadying element, a factor that helps to integrate the worker with society. Retirement may be looked upon either as a prolonged holiday or as a rejection, a being thrown on to the scrap-heap.
When your toil has been a pleasure, you have not, as Thoreau says, “earned money merely,” but money, health, delight, and moral profit, all in one.
What’s important is that you’re working. I’ve always said that idleness dulls the spirit. We have to keep the brain busy, or at least the hands if we don’t have a brain.
We strive all the time to give our life its form, but we do so by copying willy-nilly, like a drawing, the features of the person that we are and not of the person we should like to be.[Nous travaillons à tout moment à donner sa forme à notre vie, mais en copiant malgré nous comme un dessin les traits de la personne que nous sommes et non de celle qu’il nous serait agréable d’être.]