Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

Use this forum to discuss the March 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Rediscovering the Wisdom of Human Nature: How Civilization Destroys Happiness by Chet Shupe
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Sushan
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Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

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This topic is about the March 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Rediscovering the Wisdom of Human Nature: How Civilization Destroys Happiness by Chet Shupe



We are emotionally invested in money, because we need it to survive, but not in the things we have to do to make it.
(Location 197 - Kindle Version)

While money is essential for survival, it often leads to emotional investment while the means to earn it may not. This creates a tension between our need for financial stability and our lack of emotional investment in the work we do. This raises questions about the relationship between work and meaning, and whether any kind of work can provide fulfillment. Can we reconcile the need for financial stability with the desire for meaningful work?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Agent Smyth
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

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This topic seems to raise important questions regarding labor, that is how the system sees us, in the modern world. What is work? We should hopefully make some headway with that simple, obvious, and yet quite important query.
Never send a man to do a machine's job. 8)
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Sushan
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

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Agent Smyth wrote: March 23rd, 2023, 9:08 am This topic seems to raise important questions regarding labor, that is how the system sees us, in the modern world. What is work? We should hopefully make some headway with that simple, obvious, and yet quite important query.
You're absolutely right. This topic does touch upon crucial questions about the nature of work in today's world and how it relates to our sense of fulfillment and purpose. Work, in its essence, involves the investment of time and effort in various activities to produce goods, provide services, or achieve specific outcomes. However, the significance of work goes beyond its mere definition.

In the modern world, work has become an essential part of our identity and a primary source of social interaction. As such, the quest for meaningful work is not just about financial stability but also about finding personal satisfaction and a sense of purpose.

To reconcile the need for financial stability with the desire for meaningful work, it's essential to consider both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors include personal growth, passion, and alignment with one's values, while extrinsic factors involve compensation, job security, and work-life balance. By striving to find a balance between these aspects, individuals can pursue work that provides both financial stability and a sense of purpose.

Furthermore, it's vital to recognize that the concept of meaningful work varies among individuals. What one person finds fulfilling might not hold the same meaning for someone else. As such, an ongoing self-exploration and understanding of personal values, interests, and skills are crucial in the pursuit of meaningful work.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Dalia Chaouaf
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

Post by Dalia Chaouaf »

This topis is so interesting to me. I have always been a big supporter of "do what you love because you deserve to be happy" over the "choose whatever job pays more because you need to survive".

This was the way I lived when I was younger, but sadly being a grown up changes your view completely. To achieve happiness there are several steps o take: if you want to be happy you need stability to have peace of mind. To have stability in your everyday life, you need to have an income. To have income you need a job. But not any type of work will do, because not everything pays.

In the end, to achieve happiness you need money, and that's the sad truth. That is why 90% of people don't have meaningful jobs, or a kind fo work that makes them happy or helps them make the world a better place.

So yes, I think that the need for financial stability outweighs the importance of meaningful work in this day and age.
Caroline Anne Richmond
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

Post by Caroline Anne Richmond »

In many parts of Europe, many people are suffering a cost of living crisis. Energy bills are becoming astronomical and food prices are increasing. Despite the desire to have a meaningful and fulfilling job, the necessity for stability and security for yourself and your family can override this.
I think it is very important to do something meaningful in life but possibly this is not an available option for a lot of people who have no choice but to do anything that pays. Possibly taking hobbies and finding time to do something else that you love is the key to find a balance. Sadly the world we live in does not allow as many choices as we would like.
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

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Dalia Chaouaf wrote: June 17th, 2023, 5:03 pm This topis is so interesting to me. I have always been a big supporter of "do what you love because you deserve to be happy" over the "choose whatever job pays more because you need to survive".

This was the way I lived when I was younger, but sadly being a grown up changes your view completely. To achieve happiness there are several steps o take: if you want to be happy you need stability to have peace of mind. To have stability in your everyday life, you need to have an income. To have income you need a job. But not any type of work will do, because not everything pays.

In the end, to achieve happiness you need money, and that's the sad truth. That is why 90% of people don't have meaningful jobs, or a kind fo work that makes them happy or helps them make the world a better place.

So yes, I think that the need for financial stability outweighs the importance of meaningful work in this day and age.
I understand where you're coming from, and it's indeed a reality that financial stability often takes precedence in our lives. However, one might argue that the essence of our existence shouldn't be confined to merely surviving or securing financial stability. While financial stability provides us with the necessary means to live comfortably, it doesn't necessarily equate to a fulfilling or meaningful life.

The concept of meaningful work often goes beyond monetary compensation. It involves finding purpose and value in what we do, which often leads to a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that money can't buy. The pursuit of meaningful work can also contribute to our personal growth, well-being, and happiness, factors that are integral to our overall quality of life.

The challenge, perhaps, is to find a balance between financial stability and meaningful work, recognizing that both aspects are important in their own ways. It's not an easy task, given the practical demands of life, but it could be a worthwhile endeavor in our pursuit of a fulfilling and meaningful life. In a society that frequently equates success with wealth, perhaps it's time we re-evaluate our definitions of success and happiness. Could we imagine a world where the value of work is not solely determined by the income it brings, but also by the fulfillment and purpose it provides?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

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Caroline Anne Richmond wrote: June 18th, 2023, 4:45 am In many parts of Europe, many people are suffering a cost of living crisis. Energy bills are becoming astronomical and food prices are increasing. Despite the desire to have a meaningful and fulfilling job, the necessity for stability and security for yourself and your family can override this.
I think it is very important to do something meaningful in life but possibly this is not an available option for a lot of people who have no choice but to do anything that pays. Possibly taking hobbies and finding time to do something else that you love is the key to find a balance. Sadly the world we live in does not allow as many choices as we would like.
I appreciate the reality you've presented, and there's no denying the challenges many people face in trying to balance economic stability with meaningful work. However, I would like to draw your attention to some nuance that might add depth to our discussion.

Firstly, let's consider the phrase "meaningful work." The interpretation of what is 'meaningful' can be highly individual and subjective. For some, meaning may come from helping others or contributing to society, while for others, it may be about self-expression, creativity, or the pursuit of knowledge. It is also not unheard of for some to find meaning in seemingly mundane tasks. That said, our economic structures don't always align with this broad spectrum of what could be considered meaningful work.

Secondly, I believe we should explore more deeply the role of societal structures in shaping the choices available to individuals. For example, a healthy economy should ideally provide opportunities for individuals to engage in meaningful work, but many structural barriers can limit these opportunities. These barriers may include education and skills gaps, lack of access to resources, or societal expectations and biases.

In this context, I came across an interesting perspective from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which emphasized the importance of ensuring that all steps in the research process are facilitated, even in challenging environments, thereby potentially opening up avenues for meaningful work in difficult-to-reach places and underrepresented life situations. This is just one example of how thoughtful planning and resource allocation can create opportunities for meaningful work even within the constraints of economic necessity​.

Lastly, your point about hobbies and finding time for things one loves is well-taken. The necessity for financial stability should not completely overshadow the importance of seeking joy, fulfillment, and meaning outside of work. This is especially relevant in our current era, where the lines between work and personal life are increasingly blurred.

I hope this provides a fresh perspective and would love to hear your thoughts on these points.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Nancy004
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

Post by Nancy004 »

When I was young, I believed that pursuing what I love and finding meaning in my work was the ultimate priority. Money seemed secondary, as long as I was passionate and fulfilled. I took risks, followed my dreams, and prioritized personal satisfaction over financial stability.

However, as I've grown older, I've come to realize the significance of financial stability. While doing what you love is important, the harsh realities of life require a stable income to support oneself and loved ones. Financial stability provides a sense of security, enabling us to meet basic needs, plan for the future, and navigate unexpected challenges.

Finding a balance between meaningful work and financial stability has become a practical consideration. It's about recognizing that financial stability allows for greater freedom and flexibility in pursuing our passions, and it provides a safety net when things don't go as planned. Ultimately, it's about acknowledging that both aspects hold their own importance in leading a fulfilling and secure life.
Mari Inez
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

Post by Mari Inez »

Oh, I love this question! I think it is an important question to ask, especially for those living in a capitalistic society.

I believe that it is important to find a good balance between work that is meaningful and work that will give you the financial stability you need. This looks different for everyone.

That is all I will say for now, but am glad I found this forum so I can read this book!
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

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Nancy004 wrote: July 16th, 2023, 2:55 pm When I was young, I believed that pursuing what I love and finding meaning in my work was the ultimate priority. Money seemed secondary, as long as I was passionate and fulfilled. I took risks, followed my dreams, and prioritized personal satisfaction over financial stability.

However, as I've grown older, I've come to realize the significance of financial stability. While doing what you love is important, the harsh realities of life require a stable income to support oneself and loved ones. Financial stability provides a sense of security, enabling us to meet basic needs, plan for the future, and navigate unexpected challenges.

Finding a balance between meaningful work and financial stability has become a practical consideration. It's about recognizing that financial stability allows for greater freedom and flexibility in pursuing our passions, and it provides a safety net when things don't go as planned. Ultimately, it's about acknowledging that both aspects hold their own importance in leading a fulfilling and secure life.
Your reflections provide a valuable perspective on the interplay between meaningful work and financial stability. You've aptly described the evolution of priorities as we navigate through different phases of life, and your observation about the practical consideration of balancing between the two is compelling.

Indeed, financial stability can bring freedom and flexibility, acting as a safety net when our pursuits don't turn out as we planned. At the same time, finding joy and purpose in our work can contribute significantly to our overall well-being and sense of fulfillment.

What I'd like to explore further is whether it is always a trade-off between meaningful work and financial stability. Are there scenarios where both can be achieved? What factors can enable this? Perhaps the answer lies in how we define 'meaningful work.' And how does societal expectation and cultural perspectives shape our view in this regard?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Does the need for financial stability outweigh the importance of meaningful work?

Post by Sushan »

Mari Inez wrote: July 16th, 2023, 3:46 pm Oh, I love this question! I think it is an important question to ask, especially for those living in a capitalistic society.

I believe that it is important to find a good balance between work that is meaningful and work that will give you the financial stability you need. This looks different for everyone.

That is all I will say for now, but am glad I found this forum so I can read this book!
I'm delighted that you've found this discussion engaging, and I wholeheartedly agree that striking a balance between meaningful work and financial stability is a quest that can take unique forms for each of us.

Your enthusiasm for the topic is contagious, and I'm eager to hear your thoughts as you delve further into the book and the ideas it presents. Perhaps, as we progress, we can explore more about what this balance looks like in different contexts and how various factors, such as societal norms, personal values, and life circumstances, may influence it.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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