Idling by Greg Calise

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I’m here again. I had my computer checked, and it died, so I bit the bullet and got a refurbished Apple. So I’m still writing. It was actually really good to not have it for a few days. I immediately went to my bookcase and grabbed a really good book. I’ve already read it twice, but it’s kind of like my practical handbook on life. It’s called ‘How To Be Idle’ by Tom Hodgkinson. It is a philosophical gem, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s a rebellion against our slave existence, where we have been programmed to frantically work, work, work to buy, buy, buy. There is never any time to think, contemplate, relax or enjoy life. We have become automatons in an unnatural system, where we are bled dry and riddled with guilt if we decide to take some time off for ourselves.

The book starts out in Europe before the industrial revolution. In those days, there was no frantic pace. Most people lived in the rural areas as small farmers, craftsmen, fishermen and the like. People worked a few hours a day, and spent the rest of the day at their leisure. About that time, some deranged people decided to invent machines to make life more efficient. But, of course, many of the craftsmen could not compete with the machines. In England, the fat cats created factories to make themselves richer, while enslaving the population into slavery, where they worked in deplorable conditions from dawn until dusk. The people fought back, refusing to work in the factories, and there were many riots.

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The the fat cats got the preachers to try to convince the people that god demanded that they work hard. They preached the protestant/methodist/puritan work ethic with such catch phrases as, “idle hands are the devil’s tools.” The seventh “deadly sin” became sloth. This didn’t go over too well, so the British government starved the people to force them into the factories. As they say, the rest is history.

So now we have the modern work ethic, where people are forced to work harder and harder for less wages. Not many people have much time of leisure. The weekends are taken up by the household chores, and what little time we had, they gave us TV to indoctrinate us further. Everything is about doing, and taking time off for yourself is frowned upon, and we are forced to feel guilty if we are not doing something “productive”.

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We see that writers, poets, philosophers, artists and musicians are looked down upon as lazy people. What they don’t tell us is that all great creations in any field come about through periods of inaction. In these periods of inaction, one has the time to think, to ponder and to contemplate. In such periods we can delve into the depths of our souls, to gather wisdom and realizations. Even staring out into oblivion has huge benefits, for the soul, the body and the mind. But of course, the corrupt leaders don’t want us to do these things. An awakened populace is very difficult to control.

Everyone needs time for contemplation. Without it, you are simply moving from one action to another. We have become addicted to this terrible habit. Some people cannot sit still. Immediately the mind thinks of the next thing to do, or the things forgotten to do. It’s all about doing, as the Nike motto tells us, “Just do it”. They don’t tell you to think before you do it. Authorities don’t want us to think, because you just might realize that you are getting screwed. For them, thinking, pondering or contemplation is not efficient or productive. Just follow orders and do, do, do.

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But this is not actually true. If you take time for yourself for rest, relaxation, contemplation and pondering, one can actually be more productive, and one will commit many less mistakes. What we have today are frazzled people, burnt out, with failing health and mental and emotional illnesses. Of course the cure for that is to take a pill to temporarily mask the symptoms, without addressing the cause. They don’t want you to know the cause, because then you would slow down and take off time for yourself to recuperate naturally. You would stop being a slave to the fat cats.

Without idlers, we would not have such great people as Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Buddha, Jesus, or any of the great philosophers. We would not have the true masterpieces of art, music, writing, or any of the other great creations from the masters. You may be a creative genius yourself, but you will never know until you take time off for yourself and be still. You can never know your true self if you are constantly doing, on the go, working yourself to death. I observe that such people, when they actually do get a little time off, they spend it knocking down drinks to forget their misery, or plop themselves down in front of the TV, sports events, or any of the psychoactive drugs they can find. This modern lifestyle is insanity. Yet it is the idlers, the great thinkers, that are looked down upon in our sick society. It”s time to wake up and take your life back.

I am not proposing that one becomes a lazy bum that never does anything, and then mooches off of others. I’ve known quite a lot of them. I feel that it is important to be responsible and carry one’s own weight. But what we see in today’s society is people working too hard and too many long hours, many times simply to pay the bills. Many people find themselves trapped in situations where they are so much in debt, family members that are addicted to useless consumerism, with no way out of their dilemma. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

I propose to start a new movement called Slow Life. That should go down well with the authorities. It should give them a good dose of indigestion.

– Greg Calise