Making a living is a part of life.
There are some who would have us believe that the necessity for making a living is a sign that something has gone terribly wrong with the world. I disagree.
I believe that our need to make a living is a creative expression of the fact that we are ecological beings. Unless one is already born with everything he needs, he must engage in some kind of constructive interaction with his social environment if he wishes to procure the tangible and intangible goods necessary for his survival and pleasure.
The only non-coercive strategy (besides begging) for effectively soliciting the cooperation of others is to offer something of perceived value in exchange for what is wanted. In more informal terms, it is extremely difficult to get what you want from others unless you can provide them with something they want in return.
Resources aren’t acquired through pious appeals to one’s ontological status, but through a diligent and discerning effort to satisfy the wants and needs of others. That is, you can’t make a living simply by feeling that you deserve wealth in some nebulous aesthetic sense divorced from actual accountability to real people with real standards.
The need to make a living is the one common element that “forces” all people regardless of religion, creed, or culture to think about their own self-interests in ways that benefits others. Through our own needs and desires, we are internally compelled to confront the following question:
How can I use my knowledge, my potential, my strengths, and my skills in ways that help enough people get what they want out of life?
The ability to effectively make a living is an expression of social intelligence. Human existence is neither cheapened nor trivialized by the necessity of work. In fact, it’s the other way around. Through our labor, we are inspired to go beyond the restricted focus of the individual. Through our labor, even greed is transformed into a servant for the good of humanity.
We live, move, and have our being in relation to one another. To resent our need for work is to resent the essentially communal aspect of our own nature. If there is any tragedy involved in working at all, it is the fact that many of us have never been taught how to develop innovative approaches to work. Even more tragically, most of us have never been taught how to approach work from the vantage of a creator rather than a reactor.
Praxis is changing that. We want to educate and inspire a generation of empowered creators, rather than mere passive producers.