Work and Play

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“Work and Play” By: Michael Oakeshott

“I have called ‘play’ either as a holiday designed to make us ‘work’ better when it is over or merely as ‘work’ of another sort” (Oakeshott). In his article Work and Play, Michael Oakeshott goes into detail about human’s desire for pleasure. Oakeshott explain that in order to achieve that “true happiness” we must work for it, even though “playing” is involved in the process of reaching this happiness as well. Work is defined by Oakeshott as the effort to utilize and take advantage of the resources given to us on Earth. "‘Work’ is a continuous and toilsome activity, unavoidable in creatures moved by wants, in which the natural world is made to supply satisfaction for those wants” (Oakeshott). He describes work as being a successful path to get to the fulfillment we desire as humans, the satisfaction we need. With this in mind, Oakeshott makes a good point in stating that happiness and fulfillment can not be achieved with out work or effort. We must use our intellect to perform work to the best of our ability, this way we can assure that the outcome of our work will fulfill our desires and “make us happy”. Another mean to accomplish and fulfill our desires is by “playing”. "‘Play,’ in short, stands for something that is neither ‘work’ nor ‘rest’” (Oakeshott). What Oakeshott mean by this is that in a larger scale, the word “play” could stand for an activity that demands a skill that is not necessary to obtain something or to create something out of it. But unlike working, playing does not bring frustration along with satisfaction, it only brings satisfaction.

There are two types of philosophers: a materialist and a non-materialist. Michael Oakeshott can be categorized as a materialist. First of all, a materialist is someone that believes that a “material world” is all there is, and everything comes from “the active intellect”. This believes were also shared by Descartes, Aristotle, and even Thomas Aquinas....
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