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How to be Idle

How to be Idle - cover 2I’ve recently recalled reading this book back in 2005. After reading about mindfulness, stillness and quieting oneself down for meditation, it prompted me to remember “How to be Idle” by Tom Hodgkinson.

“How to be Idle” was a delightful read. Easy going and entertaining. It had a significant effect on me at the time, but that has mostly worn off (not completely!). It’s probably worth a review again now.

It’s easy not to agree with a lot of what’s in this book, because of what we’ve been taught to believe, but I suspect it has a lot more wisdom than most of us would like to admit.

How to be Idle : The Manifesto

(This was printed on the inside front cover of the book)

The religion of industry has turned human beings into work robots
The imposition of work-discipline on free-wheeling dreamers enslaves us all
Joy and wisdom have been replaced by work and worry
We must defend our right to be lazy
It is in our idleness that we become who we are; it is when lazy that we achieve self-mastery
Jobs rob our time
Productivity and Progress have led to anxiety and unease
Technology imprisons as it promises to liberate
Careers are phantasms
Money is mind forg’d
We can create our own paradise
With freedom comes responsibility
Nothing must be done
Be good to yourself
Stay in bed
Inaction is the wellspring of creation
Art, people, life
Bread, bacon, beer
Live first, work later
Time is not money
Stop spending
Quit your job
Study the art of living
Live slow, die old
Embrace nothing
Know nothing
Do nothing
Be idle!

How to be Idle : Table of Contents

  • 8 a.m.: Waking Up is Hard to Do
  • 9 a.m.: Toil and Trouble
  • 10 a.m.: Sleeping In
  • 11 a.m.: Skiving for Pleasure and Profit
  • Noon: The Hangover
  • 1 p.m.: The Death of Lunch
  • 2 p.m.: On being Ill
  • 3 p.m.: The Nap
  • 4 p.m.: Time for Tea
  • 5 p.m.: The Ramble
  • 6 p.m.: First Drink of the Day
  • 7 p.m.: On Fishing
  • 8 p.m.: Smoking
  • 9 p.m.: The Idle Home
  • 10 p.m.: The Pub
  • 11 p.m.: Riot
  • Midnight: The Moon and the Stars
  • 1 a.m.: Sex and Idleness
  • 2 a.m.: The Art of Conversation
  • 3 a.m.: Party Time
  • 4 a.m.: Meditation
  • 5 a.m.: Sleep
  • 6 a.m.: On Holidays
  • 7 a.m.: A Waking Dream

It interesting that even modern science states that many of the things that are good for us (like sleep, meditation, taking holidays and reducing stress) require idleness.

Being idle might not be such a bad thing!!

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