THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IDLE

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Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: `Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.` Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what has always been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun ( it was before the days of Mussolini ), and offered a lire to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. This traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope, that after reading the following pages, the leaders of the YMCA will start a campaign to induce good men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

In Praise of Idleness (extract) by Bertrand Russell.

I have to say straight off, that Bertrand Russell is my kind of guy, because I possess an incorrigible and valiant chilled out personality, which requires of me to accomplish the precise amount of physical and mental effort, before my natural instinct for idleness powers down my internal engines, in order to preserve my finite energy levels. Idleness is an accomplishment for any gentleman to aspire to, and separates us from those poor specimens who feel the Anglo-Saxon Work Ethic is in praise of God, and therefore a virtue. Stuff and nonsense. Work is merely a necessary evil to subsidize idleness in the manner to which aficionados such as myself have grown accustomed to down the years. Lounging on a hammock strung between two palm trees on a warm, sunny tropical beach is far more the ticket than chiseling away at the 24/7 coal face of life in the workplace. The importance of being idle really should have been at the top of Moses` Ten Commandments instead of all that other secondary stuff.
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