Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wu Wei Today

The New Statesman's Steven Poole "doing nothing might be the best thing for your well-being and your brain" — Why the cult of hard work is counter-productive. He quotes Taoist master Samuel Johnson:
    Some are always in a state of preparation, occupied in previous measures, forming plans, accumulating materials and providing for the main affair. These are certainly under the secret power of idleness. Nothing is to be expected from the workman whose tools are for ever to be sought.
More:
    There is no kind of idleness, by which we are so easily seduced, as that which dignifies itself by the appearance of business and by making the loiterer imagine that he has something to do which must not be neglected, keeps him in perpetual agitation and hurries him rapidly from place to place . . . To do nothing every man is ashamed and to do much almost every man is unwilling or afraid. Innumerable expedients have therefore been invented to produce motion without labour, and employment without solicitude.
"Does this not perfectly describe our modern saturation in fatuous busywork? " asks Mr. Poole.

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