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Andy:
Making the Best of It

Those who find their work meaningless and who lack significant personal relationships will find much encouragement in a consumer-oriented society to devote themselves to new forms of gadgetry and to establish a firm decorative control over their limited personal environment. These evasions of freedom, along with the forms of indulgence more usually associated with “sensuality,” must be seen as genuine forms of sin.

. . . We must also identify a form of institutional sin that elicits sensuality or sloth from persons by demanding commitments that preclude responsible attention to the range of choices and responsibilities that they ought to be attending to for themselves. The “up or out,” “publish or perish” career trajectories imposed by businesses, law firms, and academic institutions provide familiar examples of this sort of pressure. . . . Those who yield to these pressures are often pictured as ambitious, “fast-track” achievers whose chief temptation would seem to be to emulate the pride of their seniors and superiors. In fact, however, their achievements are often expressions of sensuality and sloth. The rising executive or scholar abandons the difficult balancing of obligations that marks a life of freedom constrained by human finitude, and substitutes a single set of goals defined by outside authorities.