A Cure for Depressive Illness
"Perfection of work is man's greatest reward. When a man sees his work perfected and this perfection is the result of incessant labor and application he is the happiest man in the world. Work is the source of human happiness." (`Abdu'l-Baha, SW, Vol. 13, p. 152)
By popular request, I am beginning a series on the above quote, which has inspired me for decades. First, before getting into new material, I will repost some of what has already been featured on the Badi’ Blog, starting with this:
Work and Happiness
p18wri 2007 July 14; Baha'i Mention, and Other Mentions
Revised and reposted, May 2012
Work and Happiness
Back on the 20th of September, 2002 I wrote an essay called, "On the Parable of the Talents; Ethical Economics, Part IV" where I did a detailed analysis of the implications of the following reported statement by the Master:
"Perfection of work is man's greatest reward. When a man sees his work perfected and this perfection is the result of incessant labor and application he is the happiest man in the world. Work is the source of human happiness." (SW, Vol. 13, p. 152)
It turns out that scientists and medical experts have been making discoveries confirming this wisdom, according to the following report in a local newspaper.
"Want to be happier? Work longer hours," by Joanna Frketich
"You're in early. You stay late. The hours are piling up. Congratulations! Workaholics are less likely to suffer from depression. Statistics Canada reports that those working fewer than 30 hours a week suffered more depression than workers clocking more than 40 hours. Though nobody is quite sure why. Maybe because workaholics don't have time.
"People working 40 hours meet the norms and expectations of society and feel they're doing something useful said Vish Baba, professor of management at McMaster University.”If I'm, working less hours, my sense of self worth is threatened. I might feel the skills I have are not wanted.
"Others suggest it has more to do with being passionate enough about your work to put in the extra time. They have a strong sense of mission to their work:' said Peter Bieling, manager of the mood disorders program at St. Joseph's Healthcare. "It's work that matters to them. Then again, the answer could be simply that people suffering from depression can't work as many hours. "Someone who is healthy is more likely to work longer hours," said Heather Gilmour, analyst in the health statistics division of Statistics Canada." (Hamilton Spectator, A1, 13 Jan, 2007)
Such is the problem with scientific confirmations, you never know if people are happier because they are working, or whether they are working because they are happier. There is an element of faith in both, in being happy and in working, which is why they are of such benefit. As Paul said, "Every man's work shall be made manifest." (1 Corinthians iii. 13)