[ Medical School Resources | Appendices | Discussion ]
"The spiritual and emotional components of our lives indeed will shrivel and die with our inordinate adulation of work."
Bertrand Russell: "I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work."
Studs Terkel begins Working with the words:
This book, being about work, is, by its very nature, about violence - to the spirit as well as the body. It's about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fist fights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around. It is, above all (or beneath all), about daily humiliations. To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us.... It is about a search, too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread... in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.
From the book Your Money or Your Life: "When swapping tales at high-school reunions... do we ask whether our classmates are fulfilled, living true to their values, or do we ask them where they work...." Author Edward Abbey is reported to have said when asked about his career, "I don't have a career, I have a life."
Living simply and dedicating one's life to service is the alternative. "Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Harold Whitman.
Your Money or Your Life on volunteering:
Volunteers are people who are free to act whenever, wherever and however they choose.... Volunteers are people who work for their values and deepest beliefs about life.... As a volunteer you are free to think your own thoughts.... As a volunteer you are free to speak the truth.... As a volunteer you are free to shape your life around your sense of purpose... free to live according to your personal ethics, never bending your principles for the sake of security.
 Linzer, M. Letter. Journal of the American Medical Association 279(1998):1609.
 Dominguez, J. Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money & Achieving Financial Independence New York : Viking Penguin, Oct. 1993.