The head, the hands, the heart

The pandemic is like an abstract painting: you see what you want to see.

For some, this pandemic is proof that man has pushed nature to the limit.

For others, it’s a “wake-up call” that forces us to work less and consume less in order to refocus on “real values”: psychological well-being, family, love.

For British essayist David Goodhart, it’s an economic shock that reminds us that people who work with their hands and hearts are as – if not more – important to the smooth running of our societies than those who work with their heads.


In his latest book, The head, the hand and the heartGoodhart (a last name which means, ironically, good-hearted) says the time has come to revisit what he calls our “hierarchy of trades and professions.”

Western societies, he says, tend to overestimate and overestimate cognitive work – lawyers, intellectuals, managers, financiers, politicians, advertising designers, media people, stars, etc.

The men and women who work with their heads, who manipulate concepts, figures, abstractions …

But, says Goodhart, if there is anything this crisis has shown us, it is that those who row in the hold (that is, manual workers and people who work in the care environment ) are as important as this category of workers who reign at the top of the pyramid!

When people applaud the nurses and attendants on their balconies, he says, “it is not only the nursing staff who are thanked, but also all the people who carry at arm’s length the invisible structure of our daily lives: supermarket workers, bus drivers and delivery people, those who maintain food and medicine supply chains, and who get rid of our household waste.

“Not all are manual workers in the literal sense of the word, but all perform essential tasks. ”


Look at what the Legault government did.

Has he released funds to bring more managers, more financiers and more lawyers into the system?


He struggled to have more attendants and more teachers. Workers “of the heart,” Goodhart would say.

In fact, it’s like the world is a theater, and for years, the only people we were interested in were those who were in the limelight.

And then suddenly, we discovered the importance of the people behind the scenes: the decorator, the stagehands, the lighting designers.

Those who run the machine.

If society continues to function, during this crisis, it is because a bunch of workers “of the heart” and “of the hands” are active in the shadows.

Truck drivers, store clerks, emptiers, farmers, manual workers who make masks, daycare educators …

It’s time these people (long despised by academics) received the respect they deserve, says David Goodhart.

And not just applause or rainbow designs.

But salaries that take into account the essential role they play.

About Victoria Smith

Victoria Smith who hails from Toronto, Canada currently runs this news portofolio who completed Masters in Political science from University of Toronto. She started her career with BBC then relocated to TorontoStar as senior political reporter. She is caring and hardworking.

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