“It is precisely to prevent us from thinking too much that society pressurizes us all to get out of bed. In 1993, I went to interview the late radical philosopher and drugs researcher Terence McKenna. I asked him why society doesn’t allow us to be more idle. He replied: I think the reason we don’t organise society in that way can be summed up in the aphorism, “idle hands are the devil’s tool.” In other words, institutions fear idle populations because an Idler is a thinker and thinkers are not a welcome addition to most social situations. Thinkers become malcontents, that’s almost a substitute word for idle, “malcontent.” Essentially, we are all kept very busy . . . under no circumstances are you to quietly inspect the contents of your own mind. Freud called introspection “morbid”—unhealthy, introverted, anti-social, possibly neurotic, potentially pathological. Introspection could lead to that terrible thing: a vision of the truth, a clear image of the horror of our fractured, dissonant world.”Tom Hodgkinson, How to Be Idle: A Loafer’s Manifesto
A very interesting article! It’s fascinating how society places such a high value on constant busy-ness, and how that fear of idleness prevents us from introspecting and thinking deeply. My question for the author is: How do we overcome this societal pressure and give ourselves permission to pause and reflect without feeling guilty or unproductive?