Tuesday, 8 February 2011

In praise of Idleness (first published circa 2005)

I have long held that sleeping and lying abed are the principal foundations for the good life. And contrary to being a waste of life, as is often asserted, idle time is precious indeed. Without it, we are unable to reflect on what we are and what we do; instead, we slavishly follow prescriptions devised by those most likely to profit from their execution. We become, as a result, automatons, blindly pursuing someone else's agenda. From the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution when men began, for the first time, to work by the clock, an insidious philosophy was impregnated into their souls; a belief so deeply ingrained, many believe it to be a self-evident fact of the Universe. The three central tenets of this doctrine being: time is precious; time is money; work is good for the soul. Thus was created The Work Ethic.

Since time immemorial artists have known the necessity of idling time. Without this freedom to meditate and dream, creativity perishes, leaving in its wake a formulaic existence, a mechanical procedure devoid of novelty. But this too applies to all of us, for though we desire compassion and empathy from our fellow men, these things are best learned through meditation, introspection, and importantly, rest; but if this soil in which they grow is not present, can we expect anything other than what we have? Never has there been a time more crucial than now for raising awareness of idling time's theft. Let's regain what we once had and take to our beds and sofas. To sleep, perchance to dream...

Monday, 7 February 2011

In the interim perid, you get this...

When sitting at my computer to perform my daily ritual tasks of emailing, post writing, and blog surfing, I sit in silence. And though high-speed Internet allows me to stream music and video, I choose not to. Sometimes this fact misleads people into thinking I am not a music lover; but they are wrong. The reason for doing so is simple.

For me, music is primarily for listening to, and not  a background "commentary", a stream to dip into when I shift focus away from the particular task in hand. It's a totality, a complete work. Indeed, I've yet to hear a piece of music or a song that's been deliberately punctuated with pauses long enough to accommodate conversations, tea-making, or the taking of a crap; which for me, hints at the composers or Artistes intentions and expectations - they want their music to be taken seriously! So if I decide to listen, I make special time for it, and do not take kindly to interruptions. Music-while-I-work is out.

Interrupt me at your peril if I'm listening to Ella.