By way of prologue...
Profession of faith !
When each man [in ail non-industrial societies] makes one kind of thing, doing only that kind of work for which he is fitted by his own nature and for which he is therefore destined, Plato reminds us that “more will be done, and better done than in any other way.” Under these conditions a man at work is doing what he likes best, and the pleasure that he takes in his work perfects the operation. [...]
Our hankering for a state of leisure or leisure state is the proof of the fact that most of us are working at a task to which we could neyer have been called by anyone but a salesman, certainly flot by our own natures. [...]
We have gone so far as to divorce work from culture, and to think of culture as something to be acquired in hours of leisure ; but there can be oniy a hothouse and unreal culture where work itself is flot its means ; if culture does not show itself in ail we make we are not cultured. We ourselves have lost this vocational way of living, the way that Plato made his type of Justice ; and there can be no better proof of the depth of our loss than the fact that we have destroyed the cultures of all other peoples whom the withering touch of our civilization has reached...
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy : Address delivered before the American Association of Museums at Colombus, Ohio, and Newport, R. I., in may and october 1941