Workless Society?

A Guardian article speculates on the sense of meaning in the world about a world beyond work:

You don’t need to go all the way to Israel to see the world of post-work. If you have at home a teenage son who likes computer games, you can conduct your own experiment. Provide him with a minimum subsidy of coke and pizza, and then remove all demands for work and all parental supervision. The likely outcome is that he will remain in his room for days, glued to the screen. He won’t do any homework or housework, will skip school, skip meals, and even skip showers and sleep. Yet he is unlikely to suffer from boredom or a sense of purposelessness. At least not in the short-term.

I suggest that as helpful as virtual worlds, like video games, sports, and fiction are for providing human meaning, there is very little evidence that those worlds provide positive biological incentives for flourishing when they replace the material world. Video games, fiction, and sports add an abundance of meaning to our material lives in the context a larger culture of ritual, story, tradition, and transcendent aspirations. But I do not think that those elements of life can substitute for the larger religious and philosophical stories contained in cultures which have evolved over thousands of years. Replacing them with purely simulated realities which have no history of supporting biological needs such as reproduction, creativity, and feelings physically productive seems dangerous.