1) One of the most dramatic effects that the Pandemic has had for many of us is to distance us from our work or at least from our workplaces. Even those who have been able to work from home find that the pace is different and that many of the things that they did when in the office actually don’t need to be done at all. Of course this is not true for everyone. Front line and “essential” workers are doing everything they have always done and more and the most privileged may never have had to do things that weren’t necessary. This week, please reflect on the impact of the pandemic on your experience of work. List to the videos on Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic and Marx on Alienation. Do you agree that our work is what defines us? If so, is this because our value as human beings depends on what we produce or because human beings are defined by our creative capacity (which capitalism alienates by making our work simply a way of enriching others)? Or do you think that the whole modern focus on work is a mistake? Be sure to make reference to both the Protestant Ethic and to the concept of Alienation in your answers.
2) Over the past several weeks the unfolding pandemic has interrupted our ordinary way of life and has forced many of us to think again about what it means to be human –which is, of course, the central question of this course. In this discussion board begin testing out your ideas for your final paper or project by explaining what you think it means to be human –i.e. what is the meaning or purpose of our lives? As you do this, respond to at least two of the readings for this week, noting how they shed light on the question and where you agree or disagree with the ideas they advance. As always, be sure to respond to at least two posts by other students, or to my own responses to your initial post.
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