A Secondary Review on Leisure: the Basis of Culture


a wonderful excerpt:

Today, in our culture of productivity-fetishism, we have succumbed to the tyrannical notion of “work/life balance” and have come to see the very notion of “leisure” not as essential to the human spirit but as self-indulgent luxury reserved for the privileged or deplorable idleness reserved for the lazy. And yet the most significant human achievements between Aristotle’s time and our own — our greatest art, the most enduring ideas of philosophy, the spark for every technological breakthrough — originated in leisure, in moments of unburdened contemplation, of absolute presence with the universe within one’s own mind and absolute attentiveness to life without, be it Galileo inventing modern timekeeping after watching a pendulum swing in a cathedral or Oliver Sacks illuminating music’s incredible effects on the mind while hiking in a Norwegian fjord.

The most profound achievements of the human mind stem from “down time”, meditation sessions, or things of the sort. This is something I have always believed and lived…. most of the time sub-consciously. I have never felt intellectually aroused sitting in a classroom of 20 + students in a public high school, and rarely at the mid- sized state university I attended for four years. When I did feel that I was cerebrally (is that a word?) ascending up the ladder of intelligence, I was most of the time daydreaming. Or browsing through photos on some blog, imagining a lifestyle I could be creating.


“So how did we become so conflicted cultivating a culture of leisure?”





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