Working Culture: Ethics, Writing 2.0 and Commitment


“Haec est, inquam, societas in qua omnia insunt, quae putant homines expetenda, honestas, gloria, tranquillitas animi atque iucunditas ut et, cum haec adsint, beata vita sit et sine his esse non possit. Virtuti opera danda est” (This is the environment that holds everything a man may wish to achieve: honour, glory, happiness and joy and, as long as fill our everyday life, we have achieved happiness, but when they vanish, we are drowned in a sad and flat normality. It is necessary to express our virtue in everything we do).

One of the first, but definitely one of the most powerful and representative, explanations of the idea of commitment to work was provided by Cicero in his work called Laelius de Amicitia, a paradigmatic and surprisingly topical statement of the necessity of facing the speed of a multifaceted and fast society with the weapons of commitment to work, loyalty, education and culture.

Cicero claims how strong the connection between a “working culture” and the human ethic is and how it is vital to set behind any externalization of the idea of work a solid and reliable education. The summa of his theory is given by the statement “officium quidque nihil aliud quam negotium colere est”: every single job is the highest form to honour to the working culture.

In the period from the mid ’80s to the late ’90s, the economic and technological development, together with the development of human dynamics related to this growth, has formed the basis for a new form of a developing and achieving culture, as well as setting a completely new role for information diffusion systems.

In contemporary society, the exponential growth of the media, the increasing development of internet-based forms of communication, and the speed in spreading the news has developed a very dynamic environment.

There is definitely a side effect: the lack of some long-term working ethics. So this is definitely the most precise arrow assigned to information’s bow: the reliability of the communication and the accuracy of the news can develop an individual and collective sense of responsibility towards the social, economical and political issues, as well as contributing to strengthening an ethical system in everyone, with knowledge and enthusiasm, and, as Cicero stated in the Laelius de Amicitia, the working culture is the first thing that has to be improved in order to improve the extremely fast growing society in which we live.

First of all, we have to consider the role of working in the environment of human development: one of the most important acquirements in the investigation into humanities leads us to note how work is meant to be a dimension which belongs to the manifestation of the person.

Working, for a made man, means to be allowed to show off his own personality, that is meant as a fruitful synthesis of knowledge, design intelligence, operative skills, implementing will, and moral principles. We are definitely far from achieving that working goal which is often supposed to be the main aim of a society. Often, we cannot distinguish between some historical forms of working and the tout-court idea of it. We misunderstand the true importance of the word “work”, in terms of an instrument for personal independence and participation in the humanization of the society.

Information is then a medium of development of the human culture. This intuition involves the idea of building a 360 degree knowledge by means of several specific paths, such as the technological, the political and the economic.

According to Cicero, without a clear and deep investigation of the liberal educative potential which invests both the informer and the informed spheres, it is undoubtedly hard to get rid of the cultural allegiance towards classical culture, which has definitely contributed to shaping our modern identity, but cannot demand to fit the complex articulation of today’s’ society.

How then do we renew the relationship between human formation and modern society?

It is simple: it is necessary to re-shape the figure of the informer. On two different planes: the conceptual and the practical.

First of all, for what concerns the theory, the writer-informer has to achieve a good knowledge of the IT media and has to be aware of the constant changes in information systems, changes triggered by the development of the media themselves. It is vital to understand what the new technologies are changing in every step of the communication process: gathering and handling the information, producing texts and their reception by the user. And, practically, it is necessary to see how the new means of communication have provided a relevant amount of “second-level” and intermediary sources: the organized and structured network that that was introduced by the industrialization of the productive processes, in order to offer the writer an already selected and codified source.

Information has become quick, easy, shared, available to everyone and, therefore, it has lost its “elitist” characteristics and therefore has become democratic. This is definitely the biggest achievement in the modernization of communication: news is broadly spread in a few seconds and can be received anywhere in the world. An accurate sharpening of the information systems, both for what concerns the informers and the information itself, can assure exponential growth of the common culture and contribute to a classical-heading improvement of the 21st century technology-filled culture.

It will define a new moral category, which was perfectly described in the ancient Greek and Roman World by Plato in his work Phedrus and by Cicero in Laelius de Amicitia and De Re Publica: exchanging news and data as a form of individual work. This will also happen in accordance with the constitutional provisions that consider every form of work one of the basic principles of the state and rise the working culture to the definition of the basic principle of citizenship status.