Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose

By Kenneth Burke | Go to book overview

VI
OCCUPATION AND PREOCCUPATION

Extending the Concept of Occupation

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?

-303-

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Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Permanence and Change - An Anatomy of Purpose *
  • Contents 7
  • Part I- On Interpretation 11
  • I- Orientation 11
  • II- Motives 30
  • III- Occupational Psychosis 54
  • IV- Style 71
  • V- Magic, Religion, and Science 82
  • Part II- Perspective by Incongruity 95
  • I- The Range of Piety 95
  • II- New Meanings 106
  • III- Perspective as Metaphor 118
  • IV- Argument by Analogy 128
  • V- Secular Conversions 164
  • VI- Meaning and Regression 193
  • Conclusion 207
  • Part III- The Basis of Simplification 214
  • I- Causality and Communication 214
  • II- Permanence and Change 227
  • III- Secular Mysticism in Bentham 237
  • IV- The Ethical Confusion 247
  • V- The Search for Motives 275
  • VI- Occupation and Preoccupation 303
  • VII- The Poetry of Action 316
  • Conclusions 336
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