Parallel Worlds, Michio Kaku, p. 359
I believe that Sigmund Freud, with all his speculations about the dark side of the unconscious mind, came closest to the truth when he said that what gives stability and meaning to our minds is work and love. Work helps to give us a sense of responsibility and purpose, a concrete focus to our labors and dreams. Work not only gives discipline and structure to our lives, it also provides us with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and a framework for fulfillment. And love is an essential ingredient that puts us within the fabric of society. Without love, we are lost, empty, without roots. We become drifters in our own land, unattached to the concerns of others.
Does Freud mean the particular kind of work or love relationship you engage in or something more like the Values "Work" and "Love" as essential elements of meaning that each of us must create/discover as our lights and abilities allow. I have yet to master the inclination to focus on the job itself rather than the Value "Work". Actual jobs and accomplished tasks are how we progress through time and space, or perhaps how we measure the progess. But Work inhabits the world of Ideas and Values along with concepts like Equality, Justice, etc.. What part does the Value Work play in creating the meaning of a life? Is it even a coherent question? Or is meaning in the sense meant by Freud derived from a job, any job, no matter how insignificant it may appear to be? Is Justice getting a ticket for jaywalking? Is Equality choosing where to sit on the bus? What do you think?
Is the world really "nothing more than all the tiny things you left behind" (theme song from Gran Torino)? Is it enough to say that all the tiny things add up to the Big Things? Like tickets for jaywalking actually are part of the meaning of Justice. Seems to me that we have something much more profound in mind when we talk about our Values. Perhaps it is a failure of language or imagination that leaves us pointing at jobs, tickets and seats on a bus to explain Values. I am more inclined to believe that the world really is just all the tiny things...like a tapestry is made of individual strands or a digital photo composed of pixels. But what does one pixel tell me about the whole picture? Can I really understand what Work is from the experience of one job? If not, how many jobs do I need to understand what we mean when we talk about the Value of Work? Somehow it all adds up...not necessarily like 2 + 2 but more like at some point a stream becomes a river.