The relationship between work and thought

On page108 there is a section called, “Work and Boredom.” Here Nietzsche states, “there are…men who would rather perish than work without any pleasure in their work…. Artist and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare breed… they do not fear boredom as much as work without pleasure; they actually require a lot of boredom if their work is to succeed. For thinkers and all sensitive spirits, boredom is that disagreeable “windless calm” of the soul that precedes a happy voyage and cheerful winds.” This makes clear connection between the work and thought of some individuals who are unable to separate the two. The relationship between work and thought for the ‘sensitive spirit’ is linked and cannot be separated. The work must be as stimulating as possible and thus the most important thing is that the work be interesting.

Most people do not see a strong link between their work and themselves. Nietzsche says most people are, “looking for work in order to get paid.” To the normal, non-sensitive, spirit work is validated by its connection to monetary value. In contrast Nietzsche says that the artist and thinkers set their own value on their work by using themselves and their ideas/thoughts as a tool for measuring the worth of their work. Work then becomes for the self; perhaps self-fulfillment or satisfaction is the interest. Needless to say, what motivates an artist or a thinker to work is not as easily identified as a man who works for a living.

Nietzsche, F. W. (2009). The Gay Science. (T. Common, Trans.). Stilwell, Kan.: Digireads.com.

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