Manual Labour Quotes

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Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labour, that he takes snuff, that he is a Freemason, that he has been in China, and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately, I can deduce nothing else.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Red-Headed League - a Sherlock Holmes Short Story (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #2))
The ambition to secure an education was most praiseworthy and encouraging. The idea, however, was too prevalent that, as soon as one secured a little education, in some unexplainable way he would be free from most of the hardships of the world, and, at any rate, could live without manual labour. There was a further feeling that a knowledge, however little, of the Greek and Latin languages would make one a very superior human being, something bordering almost on the supernatural.
Booker T. Washington (Up from Slavery)
I was fifteen when I left school. And what did I get to show for my ten years in the British education system? A piece of paper which said: John Osbourne attended Birchfield Road Secondary Modern. Signed, Mr Oldham (Headmaster) That was f**king it. Not a single qualification. Nothing. I had two career choices: manual labour or manual labour.
Ozzy Osbourne (I Am Ozzy)
That's not hard work. It's just manual labour," Nagasawa said with finality. "The "hard work' I'm talking about is more self-directed and purposeful.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
I hardly think that any Socialist, nowadays, would seriously propose that an inspector should call every morning at each house to see that each citizen rose up and did manual labour for eight hours.
Oscar Wilde
Work. Good, honest work, whether it’s working with your hands to create an artwork, or manual labour, brings forth a sense of divinity at play. The only prerequisite is that whatever the work is, it is done sincerely and in congruence with the soul’s true origin and intent, then, without any effort, one experiences a flow, wherein one feels a part of the plan of the entire universe.
Kamand Kojouri
Hinduism is the religion of the king. If you want something – you ask the king. Christianity is the religion of the prince. If you want something – you don’t go to the king, you ask the prince. Islam is the religion of the ambassador. If you want something – you don’t go to the king, you ask the ambassador. Buddhism is the religion of the manual labourer. If you want something – you do it yourself.
Ngakpa Chögyam (Wisdom Eccentrics)
Walpole has no intellect. A mere surgeon. A wonderful operator but, after all, what is operating? . . . . Manual labour.
George Bernard Shaw (The Doctor's Dilemma)
The way I see it, people are working hard. They're working their fingers to the bone. Or am I looking at things wrong? That's not hard work. It's just manual labour.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
He had probably never thought about the difference between hard work and manual labour, either.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labour, in other words, the more modern industry becomes developed, the more is the labour of men superseded by that of women. Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. All are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
The best example I know, of this astonishingly stupid attitude towards sport, is that of Franz Ferdinand. His, however, was an achievement with the gun. He used to shoot at Konopist with no less than seven weapons and four loaders, and he once killed more than 4,000 birds, himself, in one day. [A propos of statistics and quite beside the point: a Yorkshireman once drank 52½ pints of beer in one hour.] Now why did Franz Ferdinand do this? Even if he shot for twelve hours at a stretch, without pause for luncheon, it means that he killed six birds in each minute of the day. The mere manual labour, a pheasant every ten seconds for twelve successive hours, is enough to make a road-mender stagger; and there is little wonder that, by the time the unhappy archduke had accumulated his collection of 300,000 head of game, he was shooting with rubber pads on his coat and a bandage round his ears. The unfortunate man had practically stunned himself with gunpowder, long before they bagged him also at Sarajevo.
T.H. White (England Have My Bones)
She replied that the manual labour exercised her body while allowing her mind and spirit to rest, adding that she believed there was value in the discipline of ordinariness, provided that it was only a discipline and not an unvarying state of being.
K.J. Bishop (The Etched City)
As long as there is thirst in you, water can quench it; but you can live a kind of life in which you never feel thirsty; do not go in the sun, do no manual work, stay at home and relax and you will not feel the thirst. But then you will find no joy in drinking water. He who toils all day, enjoys the bliss of a good night’s rest. This is ironical: if you want to enjoy the pleasure of a good night’s sleep you have to work like a labourer all day. The trouble is that you want to spend your days like an emperor and your nights like a labourer.
Osho (Bliss: Living beyond happiness and misery)
A man may be poor; he may have nothing at all except his labour to sell; he may be a manual worker for a weekly wage, but in a free commonwealth he must enjoy as good a right as any lord, or prelate, or capitalist in the country to the integrity of his own political convictions.
Winston S. Churchill (Churchill: The Power of Words)
Marxism cannot, even on the grounds of political expediency or party solidarity, be reduced to a rigid formalism like mathematics. Nor can it be treated as a standard technique such as work on an automatic lathe. The material, when it is present in human society, has endless variations; the observer is himself part of the observed population, with which he interacts strongly and reciprocally. This means that the successful application of the theory needs the development of analytical power, the ability to pick out the essential factors in a given situation. This cannot be learned from books alone. The one way to learn it is by constant contact with the major sections of the people. For an intellectual, this means at least a few months spent in manual labour, to earn his livelihood as a member of the working class; not as a superior being, nor as a reformist, nor as a sentimental "progressive" visitor to the slums. The experience gained from living with worker and peasant, as one of them, has then to be consistently refreshed and regularly evaluated in the light of one's reading. For those who are prepared to do this, these essays might provide some encouragement, and food for thought.
Damodar Dharmananda Kosambi (Exasperating Essays: Exercises in the Dialectical Method)
If a society has the form of its synthesis determined by the labour relationship in the production process, thus deriving its fundamental order directly from the labour process of man's acting upon nature, then the society is, or has the possibility of being, classless. We have spoken of such societies under Marx's term 'communal modes of production'. Labour is either done collectively by members of a tribe, or if done individually or in groups the workers still know what each one does, and work in agreement. People create their own society as producers. The structure enables us to call them ' societies of production '. The alternative is a form of society based on appropriation .
Alfred Sohn-Rethel (Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology)
The doctrine of Relativity is carried to a fallacious pitch, when applied to prove that there must be something absolute, because the Relative must suppose the non- Relative. If there be Relation, it is said, there must be something Un-related, or above all relation. But Relation cannot in this way, be brought round on itself, except by a verbal juggle. Relation means that every conscious state has a correlative state ; which brings us at last to a couple (the subject-mind, and the object or extended world). This is the final end of all possible cognition. We may view the two facts separately or together; and we may call the conjunct view an Absolute (as Ferrier does), but this adds nothing to our knowledge. A self-contradiction is committed by inferring from * everything is relative,' that * something is non-relative.' Fallacies of Relativity often arise in the hyperboles of Rhetoric. In order to reconcile to their lot the more humble class of manual labourers, the rhetorician proclaims the dignity of all labour, without being conscious that if all labour is dignified, none is ; dignity supposes inferior grades ; a mountain height is abolished if all the surrounding plains are raised to the level of its highest peak. So, in spurring men to industry and perseverance, examples of distinguished success are held up for universal imitation ; while, in fact, these cases owe their distinction to the general backwardness.
Alexander Bain (Logic: Deductive and Inductive)
Then it all came together—every particle of discontent, nostalgia, and resistance in England—fusing in the North. The North: two words to describe a territory and a state of mind. England was conquered and civilized from the South upwards, and as one approached the borders of Scotland—first through Yorkshire and then Durham and finally Northumberland—everything dwindled. The great forests gave way first to stunted trees and then to open, windswept moors; the towns shrank to villages and then to hamlets; cultivated fields were replaced by empty, wild spaces. Here the Cistercian monasteries flourished, they who removed themselves from the centers of civilization and relied on manual labour as a route to holiness. The sheep became scrawnier and their wool thicker, and the men became lawless and more secretive, clannish. Winter lasted eight months and even the summers were grey and raw, leading Northumberland men to claim they had “two winters—a white one and a green one.” Since ancient times these peripheral lands had gone their own way, little connected to anything further south. A few great warrior families—the Percys, the Nevilles, the Stanleys—had claimed overlordship of these dreary, cruel wastes, and through them, the Crown had demanded obeisance. But
Margaret George (The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers)
If the introduction and increase of machinery means the displacement of millions of manual by a few machine-workers, improvement in machinery means the displacement of more and more of the machine-workers themselves. It means, in the last instance, the production of a number of available wage-workers in excess of the average needs of capital, the formation of a complete industrial reserve army, as I called it in 1845, available at the times when industry is working at high pressure, to be cast out upon the street when the inevitable crash comes, a constant dead-weight upon the limbs of the working class in its struggle for existence with capital, a regulator for the keeping of wages down to the low level that suits the interests of capital. Thus it comes about, to quote Marx, that machinery becomes the most powerful weapon in the war of capital against the working class; that the instruments of labour constantly tear the means of subsistence out of the hands of the labourer; that the very product of the worker is turned into an instrument for his subjugation. Thus it comes about that the evolutioni of the instruments of labour becomes at the same time, from the outset, the most reckless waste of labour-power, and robbery based upon the normal conditions under which labour functions; that machinery, the most powerful instrument for shortening labour-time, becomes the most unfailing means for placing every moment of the labourer’s time and that of his family at the disposal of the capitalist for the purpose of expanding the value of his capital.
Friedrich Engels (The Friedrich Engels Collection: 9 Classic Works)
In the field of education, it seems ‘normal’ to run stories about class sizes, teachers’ pay, the country’s performance in international league tables and the right balance between the roles of the private and state sectors. But we would risk seeming distinctly odd, even demented, if we asked whether the curriculum actually made sense; whether it really equipped students with the emotional and psychological resources that are central to the pursuit of good lives. When it comes to housing, the news urges us to worry about how to get construction companies working, how to make purchasing a home easier for first-time buyers and how to balance the claims of nature against those of jobs and businesses. But it doesn’t tend to find time to ask primordial, eccentric-sounding questions like: ‘Why are our cities so ugly?’ In discussions of economics, our energy is channelled towards pondering what the right level of taxation should be and how best to combat inflation. But we are discouraged by mainstream news from posing the more peculiar, outlying questions about the ends of labour, the nature of justice and the proper role of markets. News stories tend to frame issues in such a way as to reduce our will or even capacity to imagine them in profoundly other ways. Through its intimidating power, news numbs. Without anyone particularly rooting for this outcome, more tentative but potentially important private thoughts get crushed.
Alain de Botton (The News: A User's Manual)
Women had worked at heavy jobs for centuries alongside men.21 They were now barred from heavy, manual, wage-earning labour, only to carry out heavy, physical, unpaid work at home.
Gabrielle Palmer (The Politics of Breastfeeding)
...a broad-shouldered, rather fleshy individual, without any hat, whose grizzled head under that suspended light seemed to Sam the largest human head he had ever seen. It was the head of a hydrocephalic dwarf; but in other respects its owner was not dwarfish. In other respects its owner had the normally plump, rather unpleasantly plump figure of any well-to-do-man, whose back has never been bent nor his muscles hardened by the diurnal heroism of manual labour.
John Cowper Powys (A Glastonbury Romance)
P. Sainath says, 'What we need to do is not just destroy the caste hierarchy but simultaneously create respect for the work and labour that people do, for what they produce. I have always maintained that untouchability is not just a social evil. It’s more than that. It’s an extremely cruel, vicious but sophisticated form of exploitation by which we keep a large labour force permanently demoralised, humiliated and dependent. So we need to destroy the feudal relations of production completely; we need to accept that if a son or daughter of a potter, weaver or leather worker do not want to be in that field, it’s a perfectly legitimate need of theirs and they cannot under any circumstance be compelled. You need to break down the caste hierarchy and when you bring respect and economic returns for that skill, who knows—many other children in the village might want to do it. Look at the way we’ve destroyed weaving. Several weavers, who for countless years made the famous Kanjeevaram saree, are driving autorickshaws in Kanchi and Chennai, and this is called reskilling. These individuals hold within them cumulatively thousands of years of skill, knowledge and experience. We simply do not respect labour, we don’t give dignity to those who do this beautiful work. However, there are also professions and occupations that you want to see dead. I don’t want to see anybody take up or inherit manual scavenging. It is the greatest assault on human dignity that you can think of in a structured way. And it is perpetrated because we are somehow very comfortable with the idea of using the children of our poor to do the dirty work for us. So there are professions that have to be completely destroyed. And there are professions, occupations and livelihoods that have to be preserved. But not as they were in their old context but recreated in a new one.
Aparna Karthikeyan (Nine Rupees an Hour: Disappearing Livelihoods of Tamil Nadu)
The relevant social barriers of first-century Palestine may not have been that strong in any case: rabbis were expected to gain a skilled trade apart from their study (thus Paul was a leather-worker), so that the stratification that divided the teacher from the manual labourer in Stoic and other circles of the hellenistic world was not a significant factor in much of Palestine.
D.A. Carson (The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary (Pillar New Testament Commentary))
Why trust this account when humanity has never been so rich, so healthy, so long-lived? When fewer die in wars and childbirth than ever before—and more knowledge, more truth by way of science, was never so available to us all? When tender sympathies—for children, animals, alien religions, unknown, distant foreigners—swell daily? When hundreds of millions have been raised from wretched subsistence? When, in the West, even the middling poor recline in armchairs, charmed by music as they steer themselves down smooth highways at four times the speed of a galloping horse? When smallpox, polio, cholera, measles, high infant mortality, illiteracy, public executions and routine state torture have been banished from so many countries? Not so long ago, all these curses were everywhere. When solar panels and wind farms and nuclear energy and inventions not yet known will deliver us from the sewage of carbon dioxide, and GM crops will save us from the ravages of chemical farming and the poorest from starvation? When the worldwide migration to the cities will return vast tracts of land to wilderness, will lower birth rates, and rescue women from ignorant village patriarchs? What of the commonplace miracles that would make a manual labourer the envy of Caesar Augustus: pain-free dentistry, electric light, instant contact with people we love, with the best music the world has known, with the cuisine of a dozen cultures? We’re bloated with privileges and delights, as well as complaints, and the rest who are not will be soon.
Ian McEwan (Nutshell)
They must learn to respect each other and be respected again – the intellectual must respect the manual labourer and vice versa. Neither can exist without the other. From them both will emerge the new man: the man of the coming German Reich! Adolf Hitler, Landsberg, December 18, 1924
David Irving (The War Path)
The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labour, in other words, the more modern industry becomes developed, the more is the labour of men superseded by that of women.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
We may be artists or scientists; but none of us can do without things obtained by manual work — bread, clothes, roads, ships, light, heat, etc. And, moreover, however highly artistic or however subtly metaphysical are our pleasures, they all depend on manual labour. And it is precisely this labour — basis of life — that every one tries to avoid. We understand perfectly well that it must be so nowadays. Because, to do manual work now, means in reality to shut yourself up for ten or twelve hours a day in an unhealthy workshop, and to remain riveted to the same task for twenty or thirty years, and maybe for your whole life. It means to be doomed to a paltry wage, to the uncertainty of the morrow, to want of work, often to destitution, more often than not to death in a hospital, after having worked forty years to feed, clothe, amuse, and instruct others than yourself and your children. It means to bear the stamp of inferiority all your life, because, whatever the politicians tell us, the manual worker is always considered inferior to the brain worker, and the one who has toiled ten hours in a workshop has not the time, and still less the means, to give himself the high delights of science and art, nor even to prepare himself to appreciate them; he must be content with the crumbs from the table of privileged persons. We understand that under these conditions manual labour is considered a curse of fate. We understand that all men have but one dream — that of emerging from, or enabling their children to emerge from this inferior state; to create for themselves an “independent” position, which means what? — To also live by other men’s work! As long as there will be a class of manual workers and a class of “brain” workers, black hands and white hands, it will be thus.
Pyotr Kropotkin (The Conquest of Bread (The Kropotkin Collection Book 1))
Before the days of factories and machinery, all forms of work were literally manual labour, and all the world over the labourer, obeying a primitive instinct, sang at his toil: the harvester with his sickle, the weaver at the loom, the spinner at the wheel. Long after machinery had driven the labour-song from the land it survived at sea in the form of shanties, since all work aboard a sailing vessel was performed by hand.
Richard Runciman Terry (The Shanty Book, Part I, Sailor Shanties)
Under particular threat have been ‘routine’ jobs – jobs that can be codified into a series of steps. These are tasks that computers are perfectly suited to accomplish once a programmer has created the appropriate software, leading to a drastic reduction in the numbers of routine manual and cognitive jobs over the past four decades.22 The result has been a polarisation of the labour market, since many middle-wage, mid-skilled jobs are routine, and therefore subject to automation.23 Across both North America and Western Europe, the labour market is now characterised by a predominance of workers in low-skilled, low-wage manual and service jobs (for example, fast-food, retail, transport, hospitality and warehouse workers), along with a smaller number of workers in high-skilled, high-wage, non-routine cognitive jobs.24
Nick Srnicek (Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work)
In these outpourings Hitler's envy of Britain became plain – his envy of the national spirit, master-race qualities and genius whereby the British had won their colonial empire. Other themes emerged in these early, beerhall speeches. He demanded that Germany become a nation without class differences, in which manual labourer and intellectual each respected the contribution of the other.
David Irving (The War Path)
People in their sixties usually exercise power over people in their twenties, even though twentysomethings are much stronger than their elders. The typical plantation owner in Alabama in the mid-nineteenth century could have been wrestled to the ground in seconds by any of the slaves cultivating his cotton fields. Boxing matches were not used to select Egyptian pharaohs or Catholic popes. In forager societies, political dominance generally resides with the person possessing the best social skills rather than the most developed musculature. In organised crime, the big boss is not necessarily the strongest man. He is often an older man who very rarely uses his own fists; he gets younger and fitter men to do the dirty jobs for him. A guy who thinks that the way to take over the syndicate is to beat up the don is unlikely to live long enough to learn from his mistake. Even among chimpanzees, the alpha male wins his position by building a stable coalition with other males and females, not through mindless violence. In fact, human history shows that there is often an inverse relation between physical prowess and social power. In most societies, it’s the lower classes who do the manual labour. This may reflect Homo sapiens’ position in the food chain. If all that counted were raw physical abilities, Sapiens would have found themselves on a middle rung of the ladder. But their mental and social skills placed them at the top. It is therefore only natural that the chain of power within the species will also be determined by mental and social abilities more than by brute force. It is therefore hard to believe that the most influential and most stable social hierarchy in history is founded on men’s ability physically to coerce women.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The idea, however, was too prevalent that, as soon as one secured a little education, in some unexplainable way he would be free from most of the hardships of the world, and, at any rate, could live without manual labour.
Booker T. Washington (Up from Slavery: an autobiography)
women have, throughout history, been excluded mainly from jobs that require little physical effort (such as the priesthood, law and politics), while engaging in hard manual labour in the fields, in crafts and in the household. If social power were divided in direct relation to physical strength or stamina, women should have got far more of it.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
In fact, human history shows that there is often an inverse relation between physical prowess and social power. In most societies, it’s the lower classes who do the manual labour. This may reflect Homo sapiens’ position in the food chain. If all that counted were raw physical abilities, Sapiens would have found themselves on a middle rung of the ladder. But their mental and social skills placed them at the top. It is therefore only natural that the chain of power within the species will also be determined by mental and social abilities more than by brute force. It is therefore hard to believe that the most influential and most stable social hierarchy in history is founded on men’s ability physically to coerce women.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
There are many facets to the decline in fairness and opportunity in American life. Perhaps the worst are the conditions now imposed upon young children born into the underclass and subjected to the recent evolution of the educational system. They are related, and they reinforce each other; their combined result is to condemn tens of millions of children, particularly those born into the new underclass, to a life of hardship and unfairness. For any young child whose parents don’t have money, or who is the child of a migrant agricultural worker and/or an illegal immigrant, prenatal care, nursery, day care, after school, school nutrition, and foster-care systems are nothing short of appalling. And then comes school itself. The “American dream”, stated simply, is that no matter how poor or humble your origins—even if you never knew your parents—you have a shot at a decent life. America’s promise is that anyone willing to work hard can do better over time, and have at least a reasonable life for themselves and their own children. You could expect to do better than your parents, and even be able to help them as they grew old. More than ever before, the key to such a dream is a good education. The rise of information technology, and the opening of Asian economies, means that only a small portion of America’s population can make a good living through unskilled or manual labour. But instead of elevating the educational system and the opportunities it should provide, American politicians, and those who follow their lead around the globe, have been going in exactly the wrong direction. As a result, we are developing not a new class system, but, without exaggeration, a new caste system—a society in which the circumstances of your birth determine your entire life. As a result, the dream of opportunity is dying. Increasingly, the most important determinant of a child’s life prospects—future income, wealth, educational level, even health and life expectancy—is totally arbitrary and unfair. It’s also very simple. A child’s future is increasingly determined by his or her parents’ wealth, not by his or her intelligence or energy. To be sure, there are a number of reasons for this. Income is correlated with many other things, and it’s therefore difficult to isolate the impact of individual factors. Children in poor households are more likely to grow up in single-parent versus two-parent households, exposed to drugs and alcohol, with one or both parents in prison, with their immigration status questionable, and more likely to have problems with diet and obesity. Culture and race play a role: Asian children have far higher school graduation rates, test scores, and grades than all other groups, including whites, in the US; Latinos, the lowest.
Charles H. Ferguson (Inside Job: The Rogues Who Pulled Off the Heist of the Century)
Concurrent with the decline of manufacturing, the latter half of the twentieth century oversaw another shift. While earlier office technologies had supplemented workers and increased demand for them, the development of the microprocessor and computing technologies began to replace semiskilled service workers in many areas – for example, telephone operators and secretaries.20 The roboticisation of services is now gathering steam, with over 150,000 professional service robots sold in the past fifteen years.21 Under particular threat have been ‘routine’ jobs – jobs that can be codified into a series of steps. These are tasks that computers are perfectly suited to accomplish once a programmer has created the appropriate software, leading to a drastic reduction in the numbers of routine manual and cognitive jobs over the past four decades.22 The result has been a polarisation of the labour market, since many middle-wage, mid-skilled jobs are routine, and therefore subject to automation.23 Across both North America and Western Europe, the labour market is now characterised by a predominance of workers in low-skilled, low-wage manual and service jobs (for example, fast-food, retail, transport, hospitality and warehouse workers), along with a smaller number of workers in high-skilled, high-wage, non-routine cognitive jobs.24
Nick Srnicek (Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work)
In answer to questions the Barbes said: “All our ministers live in celibacy, and work at some honest trade.” “Marriage, however”, said Œcolampadius,, “is a state very becoming to all believers, and particularly to those who ought to be in all things examples to the flock. We also think that pastors ought not to devote to manual labour, as yours do, the time they could better employ in the study of Scripture. The minister has many things to learn; God does not teach us miraculously and without labour; we must take pains in order to know.” When the Barbes admitted that under stress of persecution they had sometimes had their children baptized by Romish priests, and even attended mass, the Reformers were surprised, and Œcolampadius, said: “What! has not Christ, the holy victim, fully satisfied the everlasting justice for us? Is there any need to offer other sacrifices after that of Golgotha? By saying Amen’ to the priests’ mass you deny the grace of Jesus Christ.
E.H. Broadbent (The Pilgrim Church)
What the culture of get rich quick does to our people is they look down at people who are engaged in manual labour
Sunday Adelaja
Matthew 11:28   28  ¶ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:29   29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:30   30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Scriptures - LDS eLibrary with over 350,000 Links, Standard Works, Commentary, Manuals, History, Reference, Music and more (Illustrated, over 100))
There is nothing necessarily dignified about manual labour at all, and most of it is absolutely degrading.  It is mentally and morally injurious to man to do anything in which he does not find pleasure, and many forms of labour are quite pleasureless activities, and should be regarded as such.  To sweep a slushy crossing for eight hours, on a day when the east wind is blowing is a disgusting occupation.  To sweep it with mental, moral, or physical dignity seems to me to be impossible.  To sweep it with joy would be appalling.  Man is made for something better than disturbing dirt.  All work of that kind should be done by a machine.
Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man under Socialism)
In India and other tropical countries I have noticed farmers, industrial labourers, and in fact all kinds of manual and office workers working in slow rhythm with long and frequent rest pauses. But in the temperate zone I have noticed the same classes of people working in quick rhythm with great vigour and energy, and with very few rest pauses. I have known from personal experience and the experience of other tropical peoples in the temperate zone that this spectacular difference in working energy and efficiency could not be due entirely or even mainly to different levels of nutrition
David S. Landes (Wealth And Poverty Of Nations)
Your birth is the best predictor of where you’ll end up. Sadly, at the time of writing, this is even more solidly true than ever. If your mum and dad are both ground-down manual labourers, if there are no books in the house, you’ll probably end up on a building site or, worse, doing nothing.
Russell Kane (Son of a Silverback)
Black "womanhood" has never protected Black women from being forced to perform difficult manual labour, or from the systemic and institutionalized sexual and physical violence structured into the institution of slavery.
Robyn Maynard (Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present)
There are two problems with this emphasis on muscle power. First, the statement that ‘men are stronger than women’ is true only on average, and only with regard to certain types of strength. Women are generally more resistant to hunger, disease and fatigue than men. There are also many women who can run faster and lift heavier weights than many men. Furthermore, and most problematically for this theory, women have, throughout history, been excluded mainly from jobs that require little physical effort (such as the priesthood, law and politics), while engaging in hard manual labour in the fields, in crafts and in the household.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Further than this, influenced by Platonic thought, Leonardo's conception of painting was, as an intellectual state or condition, outwardly projected. The painter who practised his art without reasoning of its nature was like a mirror unconsciously reflecting what was before it. Although without a "manual act" painting could not be realized, its true problems—problems of light, of colour, pose and composition, of primitive and derivative shadow—had all to be grasped by the mind without bodily labour. Beyond this, the scientific foundation in art came through making it rest upon an accurate knowledge of nature. Even experience was only a step towards attaining this.
Leonardo da Vinci (Thoughts on Art and Life)
It is evident that a factory could be made as healthy and pleasant as a scientific laboratory. And it is no less evident that it would be advantageous to make it so. In a spacious and well-ventilated factory the work is better; it is easy to introduce many small ameliorations, of which each represents an economy of time or of manual labour. And if most of the workshops we know are foul and unhealthy, it is because the workers are of no account in the organization of factories, and because the most absurd waste of human energy is a distinctive feature of the present industrial organization.
Pyotr Kropotkin (The Conquest of Bread and Other Writings)