OCCUPATION AND PREOCCUPATION
WHAT are our occupations? Is their number confined to the trades and professions listed in a business directory? Are people solely occupied as plumbers, bakers, bank clerks, doctors, writers, and the like? Or is it not also an occupation to be a hunchback, or to have read the Bible oftener than the Pope, or to experience a "run of hard luck"? Eliot has said: "The author of 'Biographia Literaria' was already a ruined man. Sometimes, however, to be a 'ruined man' is itself a vocation." Indeed, one of the most remarkable features of the religious rationalization was its ability to socialize a man's ruin by making it the foundation of his recovery.
Such men as Jung and Jaensch have investigated the possibility of distinct mental types. Kretschmer has sought to chart correlations between physique and character. Recent speculations (somewhat in the stage of alchemy or astrology) have attempted to describe distinct patterns of endocrine balance. Are not all such inquiries deeply concerned with the fundamental occupations of the persons studied?
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Publication information: Book title: Permanence and Change:An Anatomy of Purpose. Contributors: Kenneth Burke - Author. Publisher: New Republic. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1935. Page number: 303.