Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Importance of Being Idle

I awake sometimes with the irresistable urge to be just for the sake of being. I rarely do something so frivolous because I like to flatter myself that I’m a writer, which of course, I am not. After all, writers write. That is their nature. But it is not my nature. My nature is to drink coffee, smoke fags, and pamper myself with the soft furnishings of native raw potential. It has always been this way.

I can paint. I can write. I can compose music, and I can play a mean blues guitar. I can turn my hand to pretty much any kind of job you can conceive of, as long as it doesn’t involve heavy lifting. I just choose not to.

Sometimes I wonder about this. Is it because I am afraid of failure that I don’t indulge my talents? Is it because I fear rejection in the eyes of the world? Or is it because I just can’t be bothered?

I think it’s the last one, if I’m honest. I’m a lazy sod, if you want the truth. I don’t really feel the need to do anything.

Why is this? Most people are driven to make something of themselves, to be a success in the eyes of their peers; to own a house or a car or a business; to write a book or to win the Derby. Why not I?

I think the answer is that I’m happy. Happiness takes away the reason to do all this stuff. Maybe that’s why, in our society, it is frowned upon to be happy with who you are and what you’ve got. The whole economy would break down if everyone was happy. Nobody would buy any weapons. My God, where would we be then? Civilisation as we know it would cease to exist. Nobody would ever get anything done.

But there is virtue in idleness. (That’s idleness, not idolatry.) Racing to and fro and trying to achieve things and earn as much money and status as you can before you die and are forgotten about instantly and forever is doubtless very important for the evolution of the human species as a whole – it must be; we’ve had it drummed into us since the day we were born – but somebody has to sit down now and again, take an objective look at it all and ask: “What are we evolving into? Are we evolving at all? Is there even anything to evolve? Or are we just going round and round on the endless merry-go-round of apparent reality?”

That somebody is me.

“I am happiest when I am idle. I could live for months without performing any kind of labour, and at the expiration of that time I should feel fresh and vigorous enough to go right on in the same way for numerous more months.” – Artemus Ward

“Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything.” – Floyd Dell

“The perfect man does nothing. The sage takes no action.” – Chuang Tse


  1. This post spoke to me, man. It might have been the hallucinogens, but still...

    Seriously, loved this one. I relate.

  2. That's funny. I nearly wrote this very same blog post this week (I do get so weary of the self improvement crowd around this time of year) but I couldn't be bothered. Glad to see it made it to the blogosphere without me :)