Some years ago, my then 90+ year old neighbor, told me how the generation after his became enamored of "things" and so left the farm for the city.
I read similar sentiments in Marcus Grodi's Life From Our Land:
As long as they (the rural family - JC) lived untouched by the obsession of the outside world for lesser material goods, the simple contented farm family lived happily, content with their food, drink, clothing, shelter, and the spiritual enrichment of their local parish.
However, when the simplicity of the rural farm family was shattered by the lure of the city, when farm children were lured away to work in factories, or to train in college for leadership roles in factories, trading houses or investment firms, not for the procurement of more bodily goods or spiritual enrichment, but for "wealth and what it will buy" their lives became limitlessly driven.
There is a lot in here. But first, I remind myself of my post below where Pope Benedict (in Spes Salvi) notes that technology and progress are good with virtuous guidance.
Secondly, rural life can be hard. There is no sugar-coating this.
But, I will say this: the satisfaction I gain from a day or a week of hard work on the farm is totally different than the satisfaction I get when I complete a patent case and submit an invoice. I am not sure, but I think the difference is that on the farm the thing I have worked for is direct. In other words, I planted a vegetable garden and that food will be on my table. (as opposed to, I wrote a patent and got money so we could go to the store and buy food to put on the table.)
The connection between the work and the result is definite (as opposed to: the money could be spent on anything).
I think this may be something worth exploring more.
It is not simply instant gratification as the work you do may take months to harvest.
It may be that man was meant both for intellectual labor and manual labor, yet most of us get so little of the manual these days.
It may be that our work, whether intellectual labor or manual is meant to have a definite connection with the fruits of the labor and not an indirect or remote connection.
Something to ponder on. Maybe someone will write a book on it, and I can find out what the answers are....
Oremus pro invicem!