The New York Times: The ‘Busy’ Trap

RA Guy Community News 4 Comments

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.

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Comments 4

  1. Deb aka abcsofra

    Ring a ding ding! Oh yes! This did ring my bell for sure 🙂 And it hit a big cord as to why when we first lack the ability to do or as the world calls it – disabled – we find ourselves drowning. It isn’t our chronic illness but rather the super highway or go, go, go that we find ourselves with deflated tires resting on the shoulder. It takes years to unwind, declutter our minds and our souls before we find peace within ourselves and realize that in fact it isn’t our disability that hindered us but rather the false goals of society at large. I do breath easier now, I do take the time to smell the flowers and oh do I realize that the rat race was named appropriately…for rats. We are humans and we crave peace, tranquility, and we need time without the noise of everyday living to recharge and grow. A terrific piece!

  2. Cathy

    This is my favorite part of the article too. This article really hit home with me. I am working on a little post about how it relates to my current life!

  3. Penny

    My parents are farmers and always worked very hard. They taught us that idleness is a sin. If you watched television you knit, or sew or churn butter. But never can you be idle. I fought with this and RA for many years. Now my poor sister is newly diagnosed with RA and again fights with that idleness.
    When I need a 10minute break at a family picnic; I still get accused of being lazy. I have to remember it is their problem not mine but it is difficult.

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