II. A. Work allows men to survive and progress

Course on work: Work between myths and beliefs


I. A. Work is opposed to leisure

I. B. Slavery as a means of freedom from work


A. Work allows men to survive and progress

In the myth of Prometheus, fire is stolen from the gods by Prometheus to give it to men. Indeed Epimetheus, before the creation of creatures, shared all the qualities between the species, but inadvertently left man without. His brother Prometheus chooses to bring to men the means to survive.

He found that the other animals were shared with great wisdom, but that man was naked, without shoes, without clothes, without defense. However, the day was approaching when man was to emerge from the earth and appear in the light. Prometheus, very uncertain as to how he would provide for man’s safety, decided to rob Vulcan and Minerva of the arts and fire: for without fire the knowledge of the arts would be impossible and useless; he presented it to the man.

This is how man, through his work, is capable of progress: “he soon found the art of articulating sounds, and of forming from words; he procured for himself a dwelling, clothes, a shoe, and something to cover himself at night, and drew his food from the earth.

The myth confers to work an aptitude for progress. Against the gods, man seeks to emancipate himself. On the contrary, it is indeed to fully satisfy the power of God that Protestantism has given a principal place to work.

→ II. B. The vocation to work