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."
30 October 2009
Link of the day: "Quitting the Paint Factory" by Mark Slouka
I enjoyed the essay "Quitting the Paint Factory" by Mark Slouka. Apparently, it was originally published in Harper's Magazine in 2004. Thanks to Gina Trapani for pointing it out in her original post. I think the main essence of the essay is captured by this quote (and Trapani agrees with me, I think):