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Friday, December 17, 2004

Blogosphere: An essay on the virtues of idleness

Category: Misc. Net Surfing

An essay that is everywhere on blogosphere.

An essay on the virtues of idleness by Mark Slouka in the November 2004 issue of Harper's magazine.

If you:

- have 35 minutes to spare for *reading* on a weekday (from your busy work) [an irony]
- are interested in reading, understanding, thinking, and contemplating
- like to frame Historical anecdotes and their present day analogy
- understand History, Geo-Politics, and Art
- then this essay on the virtues of idleness is a *Must Read* for you.

The philosophy of the essay is
Leisure is good and idleness is bad is a sign of the world's Zeitgeist.
Leisure is good as money gets leisure; and idleness is bad, as it is a sign of weakness shows the shallowness of our thinking.

The essay challenges your thought process, and if I may add, even though I agree to the thought of idleness as a virtue; I did read this essay only because I had the time to spare (an irony), and I enjoy speed and work (although the thoughts of us being numb at it are very often true), as much as I enjoy standing and watching the stars from the terrace on a dark winter night.

Read the essay and you will have your own views.
A suggestion: Don't leave it mid-way through.
Read, understand, assimilate, think, and contemplate; or else give it a miss.

Insightful quotes.

- We succeeded in transforming even ourselves into bipedal products, paying richly for seminars that teach us how to market the self so it may be sold to the highest bidder.
- I recognize that work of one sort or another is as essential to survival as protein, and that much of it, in today's highly bureaucratized, economically diversified societies, will of necessity be neither pleasant nor challenging nor particularly meaningful.
(Very true, for example, I was making Americans gamble, play Poker for four months of my life last winter).
- If we have no time to think, to mull, if we have no time to piece together the sudden associations and unexpected, mid-shower insights that are the stuff of independent opinion, then we are less citizens than cursors, easily manipulated, vulnerable to the currents of power.
- Idleness, on the other hand, has a bad attitude. It doesn't shave; it's not a member of the team; it doesn't play well with others. It thinks too much, as my high school coach used to say. So it has to be ostracized.
(Or put to good use. The wilderness of association we enter when we read, for example, is one of the world's great domains of imaginative diversity: a seedbed of individualism).
- Whitman might have exhorted us to loaf and invite our souls, but that was not an invitation we cared to extend, not unless the soul played poker, ha, ha. (In this context, read Walt Whitman's The Song of the Open Road. It is a beautiful poem.)

Related Links: Arrow and wound: The art of almost dying by Mark Slouka. Worth reading.
Essays written by Mark Slouka (To read)

I spent a calm and lazy Friday afternoon writing, and posting this (01:28 p.m. to 02:58 p.m.), and I'm hurrying now, as there's a power-cut scheduled for 3 p.m.