Ah, idleness. What would we do without you? Probably all sorts of stuff. This is a brief ode to the concept I penned many moons ago (note the innocent reference to “the laptop computer”, a novelty when I wrote this…), and recently rediscovered. Like the irony that I’m too busy right now to blog at all; in this case, I’m making an exception…
Once the privilege of the aristocracy, leisure and idleness are now within everyone’s grasp, yet to all appearances, people seem to work harder and more diligently every year. The laptop computer, the cellular phone and the freeway force workers to move through life like gears in the machine, never resting, always within reach and ready for operation. What, pray tell, is the grease that keeps this engine from overheating, or Heaven forbid, seizing up entirely? The answer is plain — Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson and Grant. Money. Cash. The colder and harder the better. But for what? The poorest hovel in the Modern west is equipped with conveniences and, dare I say, luxuries, that only a few generations ago would have seemed like magic. Machinery has long since replaced physical labor in the accomplishment of menial tasks, and yet there continue to be more flesh and blood gears out there than ever before, often fulfilling a role that only leaves them a hollow, stressed-out shell at the end of the line, no more clear on the concept than a newborn babe.
Well, I say “Woah, baby.” Take a load off, relax, take comfort you’re not a serf bonded to the land, forced to toil from dusk till dawn. Heck, even the hardy, downtrodden peasant of yesteryear had it better than us in some ways, for he knew when it was time to let nature take its course, and reap the harvest he’d sown, enjoying its fruits while the world took a little break, to “chill”, so to speak. We continue to work at petty, covetous tasks even as nature’s fury roars right outside our sparkling metallic skyscrapers, defying her to send us all to hell with her fury.
And she’s mad, let me tell you. A woman scorned, she’s only beginning to let her ire be known. Like a great Leviathan, or to use Shelley’s term, a Demogorgon, she is slow to stir, but once awakened, has us all in her grasp. And yet we continue along our busy, self-important way, ants as the storm clouds gather, oblivious to the impending doom. It was swept clean before, it can be again.
Why not, instead of spending our time, live it. To have the luxury to even contemplate the curiosities of existence, our origins in the great fiery balls of flame which glow back at us from the beginning of time, brothers and sisters every one of them. And when the wind stirs — nature’s song, a little reminder that we’re alive and part of something greater — they wink at us, as if knowingly. Tragic to waste this majesty fighting to own and acquire silly, insignificant, infinitesimally small pieces of it — and only for a time — for we all return to dust and the stars in the end.
Idleness is within everyone’s grasp, easier than picking that perfect gift for someone you hardly know, or serving a purpose that strips you bare, leaving nothing but bitterness, regret, ignorance and fear. So, end the rat-race, walk out of doors on an evening when “she” is showing kindness, and be. Humans never had a greater purpose, and with all that our world has brought, and all it will ever bring, we never will. So abandon it, for that is a fire which burns in all of us we must learn, if ever we can, to conquer. And yet even my words are infected with the disease, and so I end them.