The first condition for social opportunity which consists of frequent contact with an increasing variety of social influences is LEISURE. So long as one's time is all occupied in the mere getting of a living, the chance for social influences to operate upon him, which creates new desires, is impossible.
The first condition for social opportunity which consists of frequent contact with an increasing variety of social influences is LEISURE. So long as one's time is all occupied in the mere getting of a living, the chance for social influences to operate upon him, which creates new desires, is impossible. Whatever increases the draft upon the physical and nervous energies of man make him less susceptible to the refining, and more disposed to the stimulating and vulgarizing influences. It is one of the characteristic features of modern industrial life that by its division and specialization of labor, it tends to increase the intensity of the strain upon the nervous energies of the laborer. In no country in the world is this fact more prevalent than in America. The persistency with which industrial energies are intensified in this country have come to be almost regarded as a national characteristic. It has become a recognized fact by medical science that the first step toward remedying this condition is more leisure, more physical and mental repose, more and longer periods of relief, from the strain which the specialized industrial life imposes. This has become absolutely necessary for both physical and social reasons. For physical reasons, because it makes wholesome living and normal physical health possible, and socially because without it frequent social contact is prevented or the susceptibility to the socializing influences is destroyed. The great mass of laborers are compelled to work all the year round under the same monotonous condition. This is made indispensable by the very nature of modern methods in industry. Under the factory system the laborers become mere wheels in a colossal machine, in which the presence of all is necessary to the efficient labor of any. Since the conditions under which any considerable number of the laborers work, must necessarily be those of all, nothing can increase the leisure and enlarge the social opportunities of the laboring classes which does not make a general reduction of the hours of labor.