Hannah Arendt distinguishes between labor (life-sustaining activity), work (creative activity) and action (activity directed toward maintaining human relationships). This paper extends Arendt’s framework to three corresponding forms of inactivity: incorporating leisure, play and rest into a balanced, sixfold framework provides a robust, philosophical theology of work as divine-human cooperation. The philosopher’s life of leisure suggests a synthesis of Adam Smith’s and Karl Marx’s contrasting views on labor. An overview of biblical perspectives highlights a similarly paradoxical role for play in “the work” of divine creativity. Finally, an attitude of religious “rest” empowers us to transcend alienating tendencies in employer-employee relationships.
- Hannah Arendt
- philosophy of work