Essay on An Apology for Idlers

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In the present day age when man has become time conscious, it will seem strange that idlers are praised. Idleness is a sin as well as a crime in this age of science. Still only these persons know the joys of idleness who have actually enjoyed it. It is generally said that only in the kingdom of Devil persons remain active. In that kingdom the smallest waste of time is a crime. They want the people to be up and down. Similarly, they think that if a person is idle, his brain becomes a Devil's workshop. He does harm to him­self as well as to society.

But idleness is one of the significant features of heavenly life. They say that those who are free from the cycle of death and birth get idleness as a reward. They sit in heaven and talk out their time or just lounge here and there. There is no work in heaven, they say, and man has not to bother about it. In fact it is only struggle for existence and survival of the fittest that has brought so many miseries upon mankind. Similarly, had man been idle, so many wrong things would not have been done. Now-a-days the conferences are held, decisions are taken but differences are depened, and the nations are unable to patch them up. It is all because of activity, that man has suffered.

Henry Davis has correctly said, 'What is this life if full of cares. We have no time to stand and stare". In fact we cannot sit in the sun during winter and look vacantly here and there, we cannot enjoy the beauties of Nature and also favors of God. It is incorrect to say that idle brain is devil's workshop. Newton was lying idle under the tree when he sew an apple falling and gave the law of gravitation. Idleness helps man to store up his energy and one can utilize it at anytime one likes to use it.

Idleness is one of the qualities which man is to cultivate with a lot of labor. For a busy person waiting for a bus or travelling by train or aeroplane would become miserable. An idle person looks here and there and passes hours together by just looking at the buttons of the co-passengers or by fondling with a pen or just closing his eyes and dreaming this or that thing. Such people never get bored in life. They always pass the hours of loneliness in the most comfortable manner. They never bother about their work or any­thing else.

Lotus Eaters of Tennyson give us a very appealing argument for remaining idle. They say "if death is the end of life why should all life labor be." It is a correct argument because human beings are the roof and crown of things and as such we should not work throughout our life. Life is meant for enjoyment and not for just working like animals. We can enjoy life if we have the patience as well as resources to sit idle and talk about this or that thing.

Man has made life extremely complicated only through work. If man remained idle, his needs would have been very small and his capacity would have been enough to meet those demands. But man has never been living idle That is why there has been misery and unhappiness in this world. Idleness is the panacea for all ills. Many of the diseases of the human beings can only be overcome with the help of rest and leisure.

Some people say that complete idleness is not possible because if the body is at rest, then the mind is working, if the mind is at rest then body might be working. But it is mistaken view because it has been conclusively proved that if within a few minutes man feels that he is dead, i.e., he thinks nothing and does nothing and lies flat on the ground looking vacantly, he definitely recovers his mental as well as physical health.

The rush of life has added misery to life. The desire to speed up everything has nervousness and disorder. But modern man has been so habituated that now it has become difficult for him to give up active life. He has been a cog in the machine and this mechanical habit of mind makes him somewhat miserable. If he is idle, he is open to all impressions. As Hazzlit would like to say a person must vegetate just like the vegetation in the country side, that is, it is necessary to remain idle. Idleness is an ideal, which can be enjoyed properly if one has faith in that ideal. The moment he loses his faith in it, the charm of it is completely lost.


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