On idleness

I bet a number of people are contemplating today what a world with less work in it would look like. Pour vous:

The suspension of effort can clear a space for long-denied fixations or frustrations—Woolf’s anger, my hunger for success—to reveal themselves. In our stretches of idleness, we are released from external demands to work and to produce. But the appetites that structure our unproductive moments—ambition, lust—impose their own demands. Samuel Johnson, one of the most prolific and ambitious writers of his age, was terrified of his own propensity to idle procrastination and abhorred as a vice “the progress of life retarded by the vis inertiae,” heaping scorn upon those “whose whole labour is to vary the posture of indulgence, and whose day differs from their night, but as a couch or chair differs from a bed.”

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