Tis the season to go insane


It is for me anyway, with deadlines looming, gifts unbought, and the family coming to our house for the holidays (gentlemen, start your engines--I mean vacuum cleaners!). That's why this article from Harpers couldn't have come along at a better time. It's all about the virtues of idleness. A snippet:

Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, req­uisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it. By giving the inner life (in whose precincts we are most ourselves) its due. Which is precisely what makes idle­ness dangerous. All manner of things can grow out of that fallow soil. Not for nothing did our mothers grow suspicious when we had "too much time on our hands." They knew we might be up to something. And not for nothing did we whisper to each other, when we were up to something, "Quick, look busy."

So, the next time I start getting too busy, I'm going to sit back and just be idle for a while. Who knows what greatness could come from that?

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