06 September 2013

Purpose-Driven? Well Maybe.

In recent weeks, several pieces have come across my electronic desk (laptop) which refer to the debilitating effects of boredom on a society. I'll quote from two of those pieces here, but I do think it would be good for you to read them in their entirety, so I will include the URLs. 
First, God’s word has much to say regarding work, in both the Old Testament and the new. Let me quote just a few here:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:22 - So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work for that is his lot.
  • Acts 20:35In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
  • Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men...
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
Man without work is incomplete and in danger of many maladies. I can personally attest that it is not good for the psyche of a man to be without work. Feeling useless is less than pleasant. There are those who have proclaimed that the lack of work will be the undoing of mankind in general. Consider this quote, for instance,

[M]ankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014.
Prolific science fiction writer and biology professor Isaac Asimov wrote this in 1964. To read all his predictions go here.  

More recently, Alan Cornett, who describes himself as an evangelist, wrote
Horrific deeds of recent weeks, such as the murder of Chris Lane and the Chicago teen who killed kittens for sport, might prompt a reflection upon the capacity for darkness in the human heart. Strangely, however, the motive in both incidents appears to have been much more mundane: the perpetrator’s self-ascribed boredom. How can this be?We should not be quick to dismiss the reality of boredom in our culture, nor its deleterious effect on culture and order.  
Quoting American philosopher Russell Kirk, Cornett provides an antidote to the problem of boredom.
What is Kirk’s answer to such boredom, then? He wrote: “The great cures for boredom are satisfying work with purpose, and dedication to service—the service of God or of other people, including people not yet born. Leisure that is mere idleness must become worse, in the long run, than even the most exhausting labor—if that labor has a good purpose.” (this essay is found here.)
This echoes the answer of Asimov, who wrote, “[T]he most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!” in our ”a society of enforced leisure.” (2014).
Cornett closes his essay with these words,
Purpose, then, is what we must seek in order to combat boredom. If there is not  a transcendent purpose in our lives, then we will follow the liberty constraining purposes of an authoritarian state. That state will rely on intimidation, incarceration, and surveillance to keep order among the bored citizenry it worked so hard to create and maintain.
So, a purpose-driven life is the answer to the problem of boredom and all the concomitant issues which spring therefrom. Who knew?

God's Word puts it this way: "Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger." (Proverbs 19:15). Hunger for what, I wonder. I suspect, along with both Asimov and Cornett, that it's more than just food.

What do you think, readers?

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