Only the freewheeling artist-explorer, non-academic, scientist-philosopher, mechanic, economist-poet who has never waited for patron-starting and accrediting of his co-ordinate abilities holds the prime initiative today.
Also it is commonly believed that happiness depends upon leisure;
for we occupy ourselves so that we may have leisure, just as we
make war so that we may live in peace.
The wisdom of a learned man cometh by opportunity of leisure:
and he that hath little business shall become wise.
It is not wise to rush about. Controlling the breath causes strain. If too much energy is used, exhaustion follows. This is not the way of the Tao. Whatever is contrary to the Tao will not last long.
Id quod est praestantissium maximeque optabile omnibu sanis et bonis et
beatis, cum dignitate otium.
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
For Thou, being the Good, needing no good, art ever at rest,
because Thou Thyself art Thy rest. And what man will teach man to
understand this? Or what angel, an angel? Or what angel, a man?
The perfect state, the summum bonum, is Play.
In play, life expresses itself in its fullness.
God's life is play. Adam fell when his play became
serious business .
All intellectual improvement arises from leisure.
Man plays only when he is man in the full meaning of the word;
and he is wholly man when he plays.
I am the laziest man in the world.
If work were so pleasant, the rich would keep it for themselves.
Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet
made have lightened the day's toil of any human being. They have
enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and
imprisonment, and an increased number of manufacturers and others
to make fortunes. They have increased the comforts of the middle
classes. But they have not yet begun to effect those great changes
in human destiny, which it is in their nature and in their futurity
I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done
in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of WORK, and that the road
to happiness and prosperity lies in the organised diminution of work.
What is this life if, full of care,
Man is about to be deprived of a great pole - work routine.
The nightmare of capitalist society is unemployment;
the nightmare of cybernetic society will be employment.
There cannot be any true leisure until all the world
possesses it equally.
History's political and economic power structures have always abhorred
'idle people' as potential troublemakers. Yet nature never abhors seemingly
idle trees, grass, snails, coral reefs, and clouds in the sky.
We find all the no-life-support-wealth-producing people going to their 1980s
jobs in their cars and buses, spending trillions of dollars' worth of
petroleum daily to get to their no-wealth-producing jobs. It doesn't take a
computer to tell you that it will save both Universe and humanity trillions
of dollars a day to pay them handsomely to stay at home.
I don't think there is, or ever again can be, a cure for unemployment. I
propose that unemployment is not a disease, but the natural, healthy functioning
of an advanced technological society.
A worker is a part-time slave.
As soon as you're born, they make you feel small
Saving nickels, saving dimes,
In the industrial age, when productivity increased dramatically with
the new technologies, millions of people organized to say that we want
to participate in the gains we brought about. That has always meant a
shorter work week, better pay, more benefits, increased leisure. My
question to any politician who might be watching this interview is:
why should we expect anything less of the information age than we did
of the industrial age? Why is it that I'm probably the only person in
this debate who is saying that labour-saving technologies are to free
us? That's been the whole promise of modern science and technology -
to free us from toil. The options are quite clear: we can reduce the
work week or the work force, we can either have leisure or
Only the idle can be at the complete disposal of chance." (André Breton)
That work is not hard that pays enough to release us from it. (SPANISH PROVERB)
The labor we delight in physics (cures) pain. (SHAKESPEARE, MACBETH, 1606)
The order of things should be reversed; the seventh day should be the day of toil...and the other six his Sabbath of the affections and the soul, in which to range this widerspread garden, and drink in the soft influences and sublime revelations of Nature... (THOREAU, A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS, 1847)
To crush, to annihilate a man utterly, to inflict on him the most terrible of punishments so that the most ferocious murderer would shudder at it and dread it beforehand, one need only give him work of an absolutely completely useless and irrational character. (FEODOR DOSTOEVSKY, 1862)
There is no doubt that if the human race is to have their dearest wish and
be free from the dread of mass destruction they could have, as an
alternative, what many of them might prefer, namely, the swiftest expansion
of material well-being that has ever been within their reach, or even within
their dreams. By material well-being I mean not only abundance but a degree
of leisure for the masses such as has never before been possible in our
mortal struggle for life. The majestic possibilities ought to gleam and be
made to gleam before the eyes of the toilers in every land and ought to
inspire the actions of all who bear responsibility for their guidance.
"Work is not always required...there is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected." -- George Macdonald
Tomorrow do thy worst, I have lived today. (John Dryden)
All that is left to us by tradition is mere words. It is up to us to find out what they mean. (ibn al-'Arabi, Tarjuman al-Ashwaq)
"Idle and inattentive." (Schoolteacher's report on Isaac Newton.)
These days I barely have time to read the ingredients on a food label let alone the likes of Chomsky (Taking Liberties comment)
In producers, loafing is productive; and no creator, of whatever magnitude, has ever been able to skip that stage, any more than a mother can skip gestation. (Jacques Barzun)
A riddance am I asking of the gods
Last Edited: April 2008