Work and Leisure

Gary Box sends these thoughts from C.S. Lewis:

If in your working hours you make the work your end, you will presently find yourself all unawares inside the only circle in your profession that really matters. You will be one of the sound craftsmen, and other sound craftsmen will know it. This group of craftsmen will by no means coincide with the Inner Ring or the Important People or the People in the Know. It will not shape that professional policy or work up that professional influence which fights for the profession as a whole against the public: nor will it lead to those periodic scandals and crises which the Inner Ring produces. But it will do those things which that profession exists to do and will in the long run be responsible for all the respect which that profession in fact enjoys and which the speeches and advertisements cannot maintain.

And if in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside: that you are indeed snug and safe at the centre of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring. But the difference is that the secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric: for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like. This is friendship. Aristotle placed it among the virtues. It causes perhaps half of all the happiness in the world, and no Inner Ring can ever have it.

The Aristotelian virtues and their application to work and leisure have been on my mind lately, and the thoughts above seem like a better post for the moment than my own musings. I will merely note by way of comment that they highest Aristotelian virtue was balance, which we might also call equilibrium.

But we know from game theory that equilibrium is the point at which there is no change nor any possible way to improve the situation unilaterally. Since we live in a world where change is inevitable and improvement is all we seek, what does this say about our opinion of balance?