Multitasking is a Moral Weakness
December 24, 2010 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Stop and smell the roses. In this time of hectic preparation for year's end, last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping, baking etc. let us not forget the gift of idleness and its endearing virtue. Some may disagree, but what is the use of progress if it fails to offer time for relaxation and contemplation? Sit back, relax and enjoy your time off from the daily toil. Christmas is upon us with the message of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. (thanks be unto the Presurfer for this Christmas gift)

My prior urging has sadly gone 404. The Idler though slowly persists. Peace be with you this holiday and remember the old adage, "never put off till tomorrow that which can be put off until the day after tomorrow."

More mefi slow goodness:
posted by caddis (5 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
goodwill towards men with the exception of the waitstaff at whatever restaurant you're heading to. come on, you know you're guilty, you treat the homeless better this time of the year.
posted by kitchenrat at 8:48 AM on December 24, 2010

Two quick and easy perennial favorites, presented in a totally lazy way (yay! thematic consistency!):

Quitting the Paint Factory:

I distrust the perpetually busy; always have. The frenetic ones spinning in tight little circles like poisoned rats. The slower ones, grinding away their fourscore and ten in righteousness and pain. They are the soul-eaters.

When I was young, my parents read me Aesop’s fable of “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” wherein, as everyone knows, the grasshopper spends the sum­mer making music in the sun while the ant toils with his fellow formicidae. Inevitably, winter comes, as winters will, and the grasshopper, who hasn’t planned ahead and who doesn’t know what a 401K is, has run out of luck. When he shows up at the ants’ door, carrying his fiddle, the ant asks him what he was doing all year: “I was singing, if you please,” the grasshopper replies, or something to that effect. “You were singing?” says the ant. “Well, then, go and sing.” And perhaps because I sensed, even then, that fate would someday find me holding a violin or a manuscript at the door of the ants, my antennae frozen and my bills overdue, I confounded both Aesop and my well-meaning parents, and bore away the wrong moral. That summer, many a wind­blown grasshopper was saved from the pond, and many an anthill inundat­ed under the golden rain of my pee.

I was right.

In Praise of Idleness:

I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has 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 lira 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 young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.
posted by byanyothername at 9:48 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love Christmas for precisely this reason. I laid on the couch this morning (I have a cold...another reason for cooling my jets) and watched the sun rise. There's nothing more beautiful than a crisp Alberta morning, where everything is weirdly blue for several hours. First a pretty cobalt blue, then a lighter blue as the sun wakes. Usually the road we live on is busy; it's a shortcut between two communities and also a bus route. No kids, no commuters, no joggers...just many hours of treasured peacefulness while my pet birds preened and grinded their beaks with contentment. Even they could feel it.
posted by Calzephyr at 10:15 AM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Idleness also means "step away from the computer". If you will do nothing, do it correctly.
posted by seawallrunner at 10:36 AM on December 24, 2010

"Work only causes inflation." -- some old(er) Irish fiddle player I've seen quoted somewhere.

Not that we really need an excuse to love our avocations, but I always thought that quote was a nice combination of avuncular humour and semi-truth (could also be actual truth). We need to get away from the belief that the only worthwhile activity for human beings is making money.
posted by sneebler at 12:16 PM on December 26, 2010

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