Why do we work?

In queries, why do we work? refers to the question as to why a force moves a human body through a unit distance, i.e. work (see: principle of the transmission of work), per daily cycle, generally framed around the force per unit distance movements associated with income.

In 1686, Bernard Fontenelle, in his Conversation on the Plurality of the World, in philosophical extension of the Copernican model (c.1514), viz that the earth goes around the sun, and the Brunonian hypothesis (1584), viz that each star in the universe has planets revolving about them, many of which are inhabited, stated that this new world view justifies laziness:

“We must confess, dear Madam, that we scarce know where we are, in the midst of so many worlds; for my own part, I begin to see the earth so fearfully little, that I believe that from henceforth I shall never be concerned at all for anything. That we so eagerly desire to make ourselves great, that we are always designing, always troubling and harassing ourselves, is certainly because we are ignorant what these vortexes are; but now I hope my new lights will in part justify my laziness, and when anyone reproaches me with carelessness, I will answer, Ah, did you but know what the fixed stars are!".”
Bernard Fontenelle (1686), Conversation on the Plurality of the World (Preliminary Discourse, pgs. xxxviii-xlii); cited by Arthur Lovejoy (1933) in The Great Chain of Being (pg. 133) [1]

In commentary on this conjecture of Fontenelle, Arthur Lovejoy, commented the following:

“It affords a justification for doing nothing, since it makes all human achievement seem of infinitesimal consequence.”
Arthur Lovejoy (1933), The Great Chain of Being (pg. 133) [1]

In c.1776, Adam Smith professed the view that, according to him, people are inherently lazy, and that the only way to get them to work, was to pay them. [2]

In c.1987, Libb Thims, then aged 15, obtained a paying job, at a fast food restaurant, and therein observed grown adults who worked in these types of minimum wage jobs, had a home, and in some cases family and children, and seemed relatively content, give or take, and thereafter began to ruminate on the question of why a person should work, beyond this minimum level of employment. This resulted in the drive-thru paradox.

The following are related quotes:

“I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don’t want one.”
— Chris McCandless (c.1992), attributed (Ѻ); cited in film Into the Wild (2007)

See also
Einstein-Pascal dialogue

1. Lovejoy, Arthur. (1933). The Great Chain of Being: a Study of the History of an Idea. Harvard University Press, 1936.
2. Anon. (2016). “Why Do We Work?” (Ѻ), BrainCraft, Dec 15.

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