Man's books are but man's alphabet, Beyond and on his lessons lie The lessons of the violet, The large gold letters of the sky; The love of beauty, blossomed soil, The large content, the tranquil toil: The toil that nature ever taught, The patient toil, the constant stir, The toil of seas where shores are wrought, The toil of Christ, the carpenter; The toil of God incessantly By palm-set land or frozen sea.
I have everything in the world that is necessary to happiness, good faith, good friends and all the work I can possibly do. I think God's greatest blessing to the human race was when He sent man forth into the world to earn his bread by the sweat of his face. I believe in toil, in the dignity of labor, but I also believe in adequate compensation for that toil.
Anna Howard Shaw
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.
You can travel from one end of the industrialized world to the other and almost the only people you will find engaging in backbreaking toil are people who are doing it for sport. To find people whose day's toil has not been lightened by mechanical invention, you must go to the non-capitalist world.
Self-preservation is not a man's first duty: flight is his last. Better and wiser and infinitely nobler to stand a mark for the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" and to stop at our post though we fall there, better infinitely to toil on, even when toil seems vain, than cowardly to keep a whole skin at the cost of a wounded conscience or despairingly to fling up work, because the ground is hard and the growth of the seed imperceptible. Prudent advices, when the prudence is only inspired by sense, are generally foolish.
The philosopher ... subjects experience to his critical judgment, and this contains a value judgment namely, that freedom from toil is preferable to toil, and an intelligent life is preferable to a stupid life. It so happened that philosophy was born with these values. Scientific thought had to break this union of value judgment and analysis, for it became increasingly clear that the philosophic values did not guide the organisation of society.
I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labour and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. A life of ignoble ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual.