People have been convinced that constantly working is better even though it does not make us happier or healthier and only adds stress and debt.
The bible initially suggested that working rather than doing nothing is the right thing to do and government and businesses have taken this idea and applied it to produce maximum profits.
The author suggests giving up on alarm clocks. I wonder how a person can function within a society that runs on clocks while giving up on time. If an employer or doctor or babysitter expects you to be somewhere at a certain time how can you fit your clock-less lifestyle around these things?
Weavers worked when they wanted and were considered “self-employed”, or as we might think, free. They worked as much as they needed to earn what they needed. This totally contradicts the system that we have in place today.
Capitalism turned God into “big brother”, watching to make sure people are not being lazy but always toiling.
The author makes the point that by lying in bed and pondering we are above machines since they do not have the ability to ponder.
Skiving is the idea of denying all the schools of thought of living that we have been taught. It is about living in the moment and being free.
Employers embraced lunch not because of the enjoyment of eating and conversing, but so that workers would have an infusion of energy that made them more productive.
We are brought up to resist and feel guilty about napping. Napping is a bodily function that is perfectly healthy yet it is seen as lazy and is frowned upon to nap. I personally do not like taking naps ever. I always have lows in the day where I become tired but napping makes me groggy and cloudy for some time. I also worry about what work I could get done by not napping, something the author says we should not worry about.
Tea and tea time help us to relax and to ponder about the day while coffee represents the birth of the fast paced “in a hurry” lifestyle.
All these aspects of being idle are very linked to our culture, and not to most others. The chapters focus on smoking, drinking, fishing, and tea which are things that are particular to certain cultures, so it may be hard for someone with different customs to read this book and take away the same points. For example, a book written about angling was published in a time when 90% percent of the world’s population was rural; very different from today.
The author thinks that smoking is a way of expressing free will from the approved paths set by our parents and elders. Is choosing not to smoke also an expression of free will, or any decision for that matter that a person makes?
Just as ancient Romans told stories of the Gods shortcomings we love seeing the fallibility of celebrities as it makes us feel better about ourselves.
“The idler’s desire is to live with no rules, or only rules that have been invented by himself.” I think following only one’s own rules would be very hard to do. How does one reject all that surrounds them and dictates our culture and other people?
The invention of the light bulb meant that there was then no excuse for being idle.
Rome had holidays 108 days where official business could not be conducted. Could you imagine trying to go to the bank or store if it was closed 108 days a year? It is estimated that we work one month more than we did 30 years ago.
We must remove the guilt from enjoying ourselves.