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WRONG WAYS OF LIVINGby@hgwells
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WRONG WAYS OF LIVING

by H.G. WellsJanuary 18th, 2023
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When we lay down the proposition that it is one’s duty to get one’s living in some way not socially disadvantageous, and as far as possible by work that is contributory to the general well-being and development, when we state that one’s surplus energies, after one’s living is gained, must be devoted to experience, self-development and constructive work, it is clear we condemn by implication many modes of life that are followed to-day.
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First and Last Things by H. G. Wells, is part of the HackerNoon Books Series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here. WRONG WAYS OF LIVING

WRONG WAYS OF LIVING.

When we lay down the proposition that it is one’s duty to get one’s living in some way not socially disadvantageous, and as far as possible by work that is contributory to the general well-being and development, when we state that one’s surplus energies, after one’s living is gained, must be devoted to experience, self-development and constructive work, it is clear we condemn by implication many modes of life that are followed to-day.

For example, it is manifest we condemn living in idleness or on non-productive sport, on the income derived from private property, and all sorts of ways of earning a living that cannot be shown to conduce to the constructive process. We condemn trading that is merely speculative, and in fact all trading and manufacture that is not a positive social service; we condemn living by gambling or by playing games for either stakes or pay. Much more do we condemn dishonest or fraudulent trading and every act of advertisement that is not punctiliously truthful. We must condemn too the taking of any income from the community that is neither earned nor conceded in the collective interest. But to this last point, and to certain issues arising out of it, I will return in the section next following this one.

And it follows evidently from our general propositions that every form of prostitution is a double sin, against one’s individuality and against the species which we serve by the development of that individuality’s preferences and idiosyncracies.

And by prostitution I mean not simply the act of a woman who sells for money, and against her thoughts and preferences, her smiles and endearments and the secret beauty and pleasure of her body, but the act of anyone who, to gain a living, suppresses himself, does things in a manner alien to himself and subserves aims and purposes with which he disagrees. The journalist who writes against his personal convictions, the solicitor who knowingly assists the schemes of rogues, the barrister who pits himself against what he perceives is justice and the right, the artist who does unbeautiful things or less beautiful things than he might, simply to please base employers, the craftsman who makes instruments for foolish uses or bad uses, the dealer who sells and pushes an article because it fits the customer’s folly; all these are prostitutes of mind and soul if not of body, with no right to lift an eyebrow at the painted disasters of the streets.

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This book is part of the public domain. H. G. Wells (2009). First and Last Things: A Confession of Faith and Rule of Life. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved October 2022, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4225/4225-h/4225-h.htm

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org, located at https://www.gutenberg.org/policy/license.html.