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Doing Good / God’s Work (Part 1 / 2 – Discussion)
November 3, 2022 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
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There are many phrases we use to describe doing work we feel is meaningful, important, and moral. In this salon co-hosted by Interintellect founder Anna Gát and executive coach Jason Shen, we explore the conception of Good Work / God’s Work / One’s Calling / Ikigai—and how we all might find more spiritual fulfillment in a secular world.
In recent years, the idea that one’s work could be a source of fulfillment has been losing favor. The r/antiwork subreddit has 2.2 million views, the FIRE movement encourages people to save up so they can eventually quit work and truly live life, and the clarion call of tang ping or ‘lying flat’ in China has officials scrambling to reinvigorate the workforce. But in fact, many of history’s greatest thinkers and philosophers have understood the idea that one’s labor can be considered a sacred act, a channel of virtue, a form of self-expression, and a source of meaning.
The origin’s of this salon were planted when Anna tweeted “We need a secular equivalent of ‘doing God’s work’” leading to a robust conversation about modern language and ideas struggle to reflect this ancient concept which predates even monotheism — Aristotle, Lao Zi, Hillel the Elder all have wisdom to share on the importance of duty and doing excellent work. One of those responses came from Jason. As an executive coach to entrepreneurs and tech leaders, Jason is familiar with the struggle that ambitious creative people face when trying to do work that is of high caliber and of moral virtue in a in high pressure and profit-driven environment.
Join us for a wide ranging conversation about what it means to find one’s calling, the struggle of doing work that is both excellent and ethical, and determining who in modern time can help us find our way towards goodness: Influencers? Our therapist? An AI companion?
This discussion will be followed by a second salon in early December which functions more as a workshop. Jason will facilitate an activity to help participants connect with their wiser selves through a visualization exercise—and then discuss the experience together.
- The Care of Souls – Harvard Divinity School
- Voltaire and Cultivating One’s Own Garden – The School of Life
- On Paul Gauguin and Living the Authentic Life – Aeon
- Agnes Callard on Aspiration – Econtalk