Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Quotation of the day for December 22, 2004

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.


Ah, but here's the rub: Idleness is not just a psychological
necessity, requisite to the construction of a complete human
being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space
as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a
free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure
out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to
consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it. By
giving the inner life (in whose precincts we are most ourselves)
its due. Which is precisely what makes idleness dangerous. All
manner of things can grow out of that fallow soil. Not for
nothing did our mothers grow suspicious when we had "too much
time on our hands." They knew we might be up to something. And
not for nothing did we whisper to each other, when we were up to
something, "Quick, look busy."

- Mark Slouka, "Quitting the Paint Factory", Harper's Magazine,
November 2004.


[The submitter notes: the full essay is long, but quite worth reading]

Submitted by: Chris Doherty
Dec. 14, 2004