Work and pleasure cannot be separated

«Young & Old» column

But I want the opposite: work eroticism

Our author Samantha Zaugg, 26, alternating with Ludwig Hasler, philosopher and publicist, 77, writes in the “Young & Old” column. This week, Hasler explains why work and pleasure cannot be strictly separated.

Dear Samantha

What kind of pleasure are you thinking of? The pleasure in the uneconomical? To islands of the futile? Jokes? Then I’ll try a joke once. He tells of the man who never missed any pleasure in earthly life – and now, in the afterlife, can hardly believe how he is served: with champagne and caviar, with entertainment, with sex à gogo. He feasts on what is on offer, first greedily, then routinely, until one day, hungover and in a bad mood, he drives up to the waiter: “That’s not how I imagined heaven to be.” “How did you get into heaven?” He is amazed, “this is hell.”

Why does Roger Federer continue playing at 40? Because he enjoys his work.

Image: Keystone

Nothing against pleasure. But what really pleases us? So it is not the land of milk and honey that leads directly to the hell of boredom. Rather the currently popular soft version, enjoyment with measure, fun without a hangover? “Walk, hunker, gnuss” is advised by posters in Zurich trams to us old people. Great. But 25 years? If I had asked my father what makes him happy, he would have said: the satisfaction of having got his family of eight to make ends meet. So his work. What is it that makes me happy? For example, that a speech itself surprises me. So my work.

You see, I can’t do anything with the person opposite work and pleasure. Sounds too much like Marx to me: The realm of freedom begins where work ends. Where do we live Are you painting on the assembly line in the factory? What kind of strange freedom is that that has nothing to do with work? If I see it the other way around: Freedom begins where I make my work my business.

Take Roger Federer, 40, he doesn’t stop plaguing himself. Why is he doing this to himself? He’s not doing anything to himself. He loves what he does. His relationship to work is erotic, so he can’t let go of it. A performance erotic who is constantly improving his game. Of course he likes to win, he says, but what appeals to him about tennis is the game itself. Working on the game. So he trains, varies, intensifies, refines. It is his life.

Weird example? Tennis is an extremely lonely scuffle. If we succeed in turning work into freedom and pleasure, then we should be able to do it with ease. You as a journalist. As a filmmaker. Or think of the teacher. Opens young people a door to the world, arouses their curiosity, encourages them, strengthens them, takes away their fear of growing up. Do you know a greater pleasure?

Of course, this blurs the line between work and private life. Does that lead directly to stress, burn-out? It depends on who sets the tone – the job or me. If I am, there is motivation, interest, drive, meaning. Enjoyment.