in praise of idleness

October 10, 2010

“Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying ‘Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do’. Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution.

I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work, and that what is preached in modern idustralized countries is quite different from what always has been preached… [Hopefully], after reading the following pages, the leaders of the Y.M.C.A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing…”

Bertrand Russell
from the opening of “In Praise of Idleness”.
Unwin Books, London: 1935

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