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On the other hand, we bossed ourselves around, set impossible goals, and demanded longer hours than office jobs usually entail. It was the ultimate “flextime,” in that it depended on how flexible we felt each day, given deadlines, distractions, and workaholic crescendos.

But on Aristotle’s view, the lives of individual human beings are invariably linked together in a social context. In the Peri PoliV he speculated about the origins of the state, described and assessed the relative merits of various types of government, and listed the obligations of the individual citizen.