Mr. Bartel TA South County Inklings Term Paper 4, P Landino

Tags: God's design, Gerard Manley, Clive Staples, Maslow's theory, Maslow, ideal state, Christ, act of creation, creative activity, Sayers, basic needs
Content: Paige Landino Mr. Bartel TA South County Inklings Term Paper 4 May 25, 2010 Word Count: 2,000 One's Own Work America's economy is in a rotten state. Those who may choose their jobs are among the lucky few, and the remaining majority is often stuck in work which does little to exercise their natural inclinations and abilities. For them, the insistence of people like Dorothy L. Sayers that one should do "one's own work," the work to which one is fitted by character and talents (Gaudy Night 46-48), may seem a pleasant but inapplicable ideal. Admittedly, many could at least work towards a position in which they may do their own job, either within or outside their paid work. However, this would involve serious risk, perhaps even sacrifice, in finances, security, and position. Thus, they must decide whether their own work is worth considerable loss of comfort. Although some insist that the discomfort of a low-paying, unrecognized job supersedes the benefits of one's own work, a man may achieve joyous fulfillment through the work to which he is fitted regardless of pay or appreciation, because God designs each man to engage in specific work, while He provides for their material and emotional needs. Certain research suggests that money and recognition should be work's primary goals. Particularly notable is Abraham Maslow's widely accepted Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslow, men have a series of needs (pars. 14-15). Upon sufficiently satisfying one need, desire for the next emerges (Maslow par. 15). The first needs are biological, safety, love, and esteem needs (Maslow pars. 4-36). After a man satisfies all four needs, in that order, a final need emerges (Maslow par. 37). This need, which Maslow calls "self-actualization" is the need to become oneself in one's own work (pars. 37-38). Maslow declares that "an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy" (par. 37). Self-actualization is necessary for complete happiness, yet it relies upon gratification of the first four needs, for a man's consciousness will be dominated by those needs until they are at least partially satisfied (Maslow par. 39). Looking at this hierarchy, risking salary and recognition for one's own work appears impractical, even unwise. As before said, Maslow claims that sacrificing the satisfaction of any of the first four needs is tantamount to sacrificing one's desire for one's own work. Because money, security and recognition achieved in work are huge factors in satisfying the biological, safety, and esteem needs, one cannot permit substantial risk to one's pay and
Landino 2 prominence without potentially sacrificing the satisfaction of one or more of those basic needs. Consequently, it seems that by forgoing a job of pay and prominence for a relatively insecure job with scanty salary and recognition, one may well fail to satisfy a basic need and so lose one's desire and drive for the very work one sacrificed to engage in. One will be consumed with need for the things one has given up, so that one cannot have real joy in the work one has gained. It appears that the wisest course of action is to keep the job of comfort, accepting that one must be content without doing one's own work unless the opportunity arises to do so without substantial risk to any of the basic needs required to retain joy in that work. However, the Bible opposes this action. For Christ warns against the lures of money and fame, yet He says, as Lewis reminds, " `Be ye perfect' " (173). When something is perfect, it is in the ideal state to accomplish its function. A perfect bookshelf, for instance, is perfect for holding books. To be perfect, a man must be in the state in which he can best do the task God has for him. Without defining that task--that is not this paper's purpose--one may say that the ideal state for that task is the state God designed for each man. Therefore, men move towards the perfection Christ demands by conformation to God's design for them. Thus Christ prioritizes a man's conforming to God's design above money or recognition. Some might declare that conforming to God's design is unrelated to work. Work is simply a necessity for survival, they say. So, providing they serve God in their work, they may choose the work, however far it is from being their own, that best satisfies the first four needs in Maslow's hierarchy without violating God's desire. However, this conclusion is faulty, for part of God's design for each man is that he do his own specific work, as shall be shown. To begin with, God designed man for creation. As Sayers reminds, God is the "Maker of all things," and man is designed in His image (Letters to a Diminished Church 11). The concept that man was created in God's image is complex, and one must be wary in claiming to know its Meaning; however, as Sayers points out, it is only right to suppose that if man was designed to resemble the Supreme Creator, he was almost certainly designed to create (Letters 10-11). Similarly, in "When Kingfishers Catch Fire", Hopkins declares of the man who "Keeps grace" that he "Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is-- / Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places / Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his" (lines 10-13). Christ displays himself through men who accept his Grace, and since "All things were made through him" (English Standard Version, John 1:3), it seems almost certain that one way he would shine through would be in this defining attribute of creativity. Observation securely backs the claim that God designed men to create. As Sayers observes, "Those who create . . . will, I think, agree that their
Landino 3 periods of creative activity are those in which they feel right with themselves and the world" (Letters 11). This is what one would expect if man was made for creation; he would feel right when creating, feel that he is doing what he should be doing, for creation is something which, according to his design, he should rightly do. Evidence strongly points to God having designed man for creation. It follows from this that man ought to engage in creative work. For men create when they "rearrange . . . . units of matter . . . . into new forms" (Sayers, Letters 29), and work is expending effort to accomplish something. One cannot "rearrange . . . . units of matter" (Sayers, Letters 29) without getting something done. All creation is work, so if a man must create, he must work. It does not follow, however, that all work fulfills man's design for creation. Although all work results in creation--one cannot accomplish without rearrangement--Sayers distinguishes between "those who create" and those who "merely labor" (Letters 11). Labor here means mindless, mechanical accomplishment. Admittedly, labor results in creation; yet even robots can labor. A carpenter working mechanically, with as little thought as possible, holds his mind apart from his task and therefore keeps himself from being touched by the act of creation. It is the carpenter who commits himself fully to his creation, bringing it as near perfection as he may, who will be fulfilled in the joy of doing, with all of himself, what God created him to do. `Creative work' in this essay, therefore, refers to an act of creation in which a man is as fully engaged as possible, and in this sort of work he is brought towards conformity to God's design. Thus far it appears that any good creative work suffices for any man; however, God creates each man for a specific sort of work. Lewis claims that God designed humanity to be "like . . . . organs in one body" (145). The Bible uses this same simile to describe the Church (English Standard Version, 1 Cor. 12:12-20). It's connotation is clear; different people have different designs and different jobs. The perfect Alice is different than the perfect Peter, just as the perfect ear is different than the perfect eye. Thus springs Sayers' bold declaration that although the apostles, whose job it was to spread God's word, rightly refused to leave their preaching to cook meals, "the person whose vocation it is to prepare the meals beautifully might with equal justice protest: It is not meet for us to leave the service of tables to preach the word" (Letters 140). Because God has a different design for each man, different men are fitted to different sorts of work. It is in the work a man is fitted to--his work, his vocation--that he moves most towards conformity to God's design. Christ commands men to conform to God's design regardless of pay and prominence, and their own work is part of that design. Yet, this conclusion creates a dilemma. For as Lewis declares, God "invented us as a man
Landino 4 invents an engine" (54). Just as "a car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else," men function on the terms God created them to function (54). Thus, if God did not create men to run on money and recognition, but did design them for specific work, their material state should not hurt their participation in that work. Yet Maslow's research implies that without the pay and appreciation necessary to satisfy the basic needs, a man's desire for his own work will be overrun by other needs, in which case, if he still tries doing his own work, it will be forced and thus joyless and deficient. It almost seems that one must reject Maslow's theory to accept that man was created for his own work. Yet this is difficult, for Maslow was a well-educatED PSYchologist who built his theory on solid observation and research, and sixty years after his hierarchy's formation it is widely accepted and taught. Honestly, it might be easier to believe the conclusion that man was created for his own work is somehow faulty than it would be to completely reject Maslow. However, although Maslow's research is likely valid, it is missing a vital factor. For Maslow built his theory upon a humanistic worldview, and the existence of God revolutionizes the application of Maslow's research, even though his discernment of human needs remains true. For while some satisfaction of the biological and physiological needs is necessary for survival, man is commanded to rely on God for provision. Safety needs, for a humanist, mean earthly security, but with God in the picture man may rely on Him for their security. Belongingness and love also comes from Him, regardless of whether humans offer it. Finally, self-esteem springs from the knowledge of being specially created and loved by God, not from human appreciation. With God in the picture the first four steps are taken care of, and no long, difficult process is required before one's own work may be joyfully engaged in, even for the materially poorest and most humanly neglected soul. Therefore, because God designed them for it, men must engage in their own work when they can, and such engagement is worth material sacrifice. Maslow's research suggests that joyful engagement in one's own work requires money and recognition. However, God's priority is that man should be perfect, which requires man conforming to God's design for him. Being made in the image of the Supreme Creator, part of that design is that he should engage in creative work. As each man has a different design, to align himself to God's design for him he must engage in the particular work he was created for. Thus, God is more concerned that a man does the work which is his own than that he retains money. Maslow may be correct in his assessment of human needs, but the first four needs are pre-attended to by God, so men may joyously engage in their own work regardless of their situation. Admittedly, there may be cases in which a man is justified in temporarily dropping his own work, but if he must, let
Landino 5 him remember that God is In Control always, looking to his needs. For man is not ready for his own work at birth, and indeed never in life is he fully prepared. Although he must try to engage in it for the sake of conformation, he may nevertheless trust that, even when it is cut off from him, God can prepare him in ways unimaginable for the fullest participation in his own work. Works Cited The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. Print. Hopkins, Gerard Manley. Poems and Prose. New York: Knopf, 1995. Print. Lewis, Clive Staples. Mere Christianity. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. Print. Maslow, Abraham H. "A Theory of human motivation" (1943). Psychological Review 50 (1943): 27 pp. 11 May 2011 . Sayers, Dorothy L. Gaudy Night. New York: HarperTorch, 1964. Print. Sayers, Dorothy L. Letters to a Diminished Church. Nashville: Nelson, 2004. Print.

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