From Cooked by Michael Pollan: “…Balzer has developed a somewhat cynical view of human nature, which his research suggests is ever driven by the quest to save time or money or, if possible, both…..Face it: We’re basically cheap and lazy.”
That is putting it plainly enough. In the era of post-enlightenment, we value efficiency over presence, and leisure time over work.
Pollan has more to say: “..the general view in a modern specialized consumer culture that ‘leisure activities’ should involve consumption, whereas any activity involving production is leisure’s opposite: work. Put another way, a leisure activity is one you can’t conceive of paying someone else to do for you. (Watching television, for example, or reading a book, or doing the crossword puzzle.) Everything else---everything that the market has figured out a way to do for us—becomes a species of work, something that any rational actor would presumably outsource just as soon as he or she could afford to.”
I’m relishing this book not only because it has inspired me to be cooking again (real cooking, not reheating), but also helping me to examine my life and how I have compartmentalized work vs. leisure.
I’m drawn back to the beginning of time in Genesis 2:19, “So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.”
God gave Adam the responsibility of naming the animals. Do you think that Adam’s first thought was, “I need to find a job so I can pay someone else to name the animals for me? That way I can watch football on Sunday afternoons instead of doing ‘work’.”
Pollan makes an interesting point that when work is seen as oppressive (e.g. a woman’s place is in the kitchen, cooking”, then there is a subservient nature to the command. But if it is what God wants us to do, is any task too menial to please God?
One of our clergy at St. George’s, Rev. Roger Senechal, often quotes a prayer of Brother Lawrence, “Lord of all pots and pans and things...Make me a saint by getting meals, And washing up the plates!”
I’m reflecting on how I have separated work and leisure, and how I should instead do everything for the glory of God.