How to Labour Well

I think much difference in opinion can be summed up, if humourously for the hubris of any attempt to generalise, in how we view labour.
There is the "labour of love" which etymologically seems to come to us through the Bible, that voluntary work one undergoes not to gain any particular profit. I would like to stress the latter, because there is a lot of ostensibly philanthropic activity that has an agenda, which to my eyes is a form of profit.
Then, there is the labour, which is illustrated in the Labours of Heracles. The labours were a way for Heracles to do penance for killing his children in a fit of madness. While he accomplished all of the labours set for him, like capturing the Cretan Bull, he accepted pay for two of these labours, so they did not count. Thus whenever Heracles sought material gain from his labours, he had to redo them. It seems that so long as we are too concerned about material gain, we will be set labours, as opposed to choosing them.
To work in one's life out of love... Knowing that even the little tasks one sets oneself insofar as they depart from inner exercises may warrant great criticism and may even be wrong. And rightly so. The blows we receive if we are doing what we love can shape us into being better people. We know from philosophy that the human mind can be too idealistic, too extreme, without knowing it. The criticism is a fabulous reminder to become more sensitive to difference in opinion.
Difference is a magnificent teacher. I feel that difference is threatened by materialism which is threatening ethics. Some people only have an ear for the dominant melody, of greed, and this limits their ability to converse, which is to say, deal with others.
In rhetoric, the stronger argument is one that is sensitive to and has incorporated the argument of the opposition. It engages, makes concessions where necessary. To labour with love is to be willing to make concessions: it is, after all, more about the love than the labour. The cause ought never come at another man's expense, except if that man is oneself.
Our labours are to be but a vessel to higher values, not debased to just a paycheck - and the moment this is not the case is the moment the labour is calling out for love, to be seen with eyes of love, that are accepting of, if not always agreeing with, multiple melodic voices.


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