In [Aristotle’s] formal logic, thought is organized in a manner very different from that of the Platonic dialogue. In this formal logic, thought is indifferent toward its objects. Whether they are mental or physical, whether they pertain to society or to nature, they become subject to the same general laws of organization, calculation, and conclusion but they do so as fungible signs or symbols, in abstraction from their particular “substance.” This general quality (quantitative quality) is the precondition of law and order in logic as well as in society the price of universal control.
The bourgeois thinkers of the eighteenth century thus turned Aristotle’s formula on its head: satisfactions which the Greek philosopher had identified with leisure were now transposed to the sphere of work, while tasks lacking in any financial reward were drained of all significance and left to the haphazard attentions of decadent dilettantes. It now seemed as impossible that one could be happy and unproductive as it had once seemed unlikely that one could work and be human.Alain de Botton