By : T R Jawahar, E-Mail : [email protected]
Saturday, 19 August 2017
You can take my word as it arises from prevailing experience: sloth is not sinful. Well, it might have been by choice or forced by some physical misfortune, but idling is by no means a vice.
On the contrary, if you get around to managing your guilt that resides in you and the sly sighs of those around you, it can be argued quite convincingly that doing nothing can actually be a virtue. Many great philosophers from the great sages of Bharat to the usual suspects of B.C Greece to the present yours truly can vouch for it. This, despite the paradox that spreading the word about ‘doing nothing’ itself tantamounts to doing ‘something’.
But as with every facet of life, one’s own personal experience is the real litmus test. Great thinkers and incurable dullheads alike have approached the issue of idleness from different angles: economic, political, religious, moral, medical, psychological, etc., etc. Idlenesss also goes by different names: laziness, leisure, lethargy, laxity and more. There are also some lofty labels like enlightenment, to name one. The lexicon ranges from the profound to piffle. You can choose your nomenclature. But ultimately, it is the individual that has to come to grip with his/her favourite form of inaction. I for one won’t be intrusive so long as you are comfortable with what you are not doing. Also, I am too busy doing nothing!
How can one not do anything? Many idlers have broken their heads over this question, thus breaking the very foundation of idleness. To define or discuss idleness is futile. At best, it is not doing something you are duty/ habit bound to do. At worst, well,… go ask someone else!. Whatever, but it is a folly to say that blank days are pointless. Ironically, ‘nothing’ can be productive, in the long run. All great works of creativity have been preceded by varying periods of idleness. Even the Maker languished in solitary sloth for only He knows how long before conjuring up this messy planet. In the short run it means to just sit, sprawl or stroll. Got the drift?
Many are apt to call it escapism. But then who is not escaping? Everyone is in someplace because he/she desperately wants to get away from somewhere else worse! This is not a tirade against or a call to shun work. On the contrary, I hate strikes. But the point is, human mind is attuned towards thought and reflection while the material world draws it towards constant drill and drudgery. This contradiction is bound to show up at sometime in life. If we understand our basic instinct ‘to just be’, to put it in popular jargon, we can face the conflict when it arrives with greater preparedness, far less damage and much joy.
And now that’s too much work for the day for me. Particularly after I have realised that ‘nothing’ is after all possible, and pleasurably so!
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