Leisure by Josef Pieper, speaks of the philosophical and spiritual misconceptions in a “total work” society. On page 55, line 7, Pieper discusses the idea that if one does not except the terms “intellectual work” or “intellectual worker” they, by default, must believe that ones occupation or work is “not considered a proper or a possible basis upon which to bridge the contrast of the classes of society.” I believe this is a powerful thing to say, and is so relevant to the common issue of the general stereotype of the blue-collar, working class being less educated or less accomplished than the white-collar stratum.
This is a tragic mis-step in human social understandings, and can even be related to some of the racial issues plaguing America today. We must return to our childhood – the days when phrases like; “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “treat others the way you want to be treated” were written on every poster, book, and class room rule list. We were nothing but humans, forming a harmonious community in which all the pieces work accordingly. No one was better than one another. In order to understand the idea Pieper is trying to create you must be able to understand this childhood culture in which life is free from judgement based on your work, your wage, and your level of education.
I hold this concept very near and dear to my heart, I have known people who, though not blessed with a well-paying job, or a high level of education are still very bright. I have also met people with blessed lives and even a high level of education who are not as intellectual. Ultimately someone’s profession isn’t a proper foundation to judge them upon, just as skin color and religion aren’t either.