Tuesday, August 10

Idle is good, but we need cash.

Both Metafilter and Boingboing points us to this excerpt Tom Hodgkinson's forthcoming book "How to be Idle."

The Guardian gives us a peek into the virtues of idleness, which our open 24 hrs, online all the time modern existence practically sneers at. To be idle is not good, a virtue that was most visible in the 80s, when every waking second must be dedicated to the pursuit of money and expanding your multinational corporation's coffers.

But this same attitude to a little downtime also has its downside: we rarely get enough shuteye. The Morning News reports that 37% of working adults claim to feeling so tired that it interferes with their work. Taking naps during midday, in the middle of a workweek is equal to professional suicide. So it leads to people falling asleep during meetings, or not being productive during office hours. At its worse you get nodding drivers, which leads to accidents.

Leslie Harpold advocates taking those midday naps, if only to freshen up both mind and body and thus making drones more productive. He (or is it she?) samples a new napping place at the Empire State Building, MetroNaps, which offers its customers a sleeping pod where you can doze for 20 minutes and waking up with an expanded feeling of restfulness. I say that if we live in a society that now requires us to pay for those few precious minutes of sleep, then it must not be good. Perhaps there might be virtue in downtimes after all. If philosophers like Descartes and even Sherlock Holmes needs the slow moments to function, then so do we ordinary mortals.

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