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Why Doing Nothing Is One of the Most Important Things You Can Do

Break away: idleness' potential for greater freedom seems worth the exploration

From the age of Enlightenment onward, philosophers, political leaders and moral authorities of many kinds have tried to convince us that work is one of the most important opportunities for freedom. Through work, we can become a somebody, relish the esteem we gain, structure our lives and, while we are at it, contribute nobly to the common good. This is a strange brew of ideas, but one that has seeped deeper into our psyche than we may realize.

We develop a craving for recognition that is rarely satisfied. We need to be seen and admired, pushed along by a narcissism that doesn’t really believe in itself, but doesn’t know how to stop. We depend on the approval of strangers with needs of their own. Self-satisfaction proves elusive. If we are lucky enough to accomplish one thing, another seemingly compelling challenge — or even just an after-hours email — steps in to give us a new worry.

The ever-tightening connection between our work and our personal identity constricts even more. We come to believe that being idle at all is, somehow, the antithesis of freedom. But we would do well to think about idleness more, and rather differently from how we do.

Please select this link to read the complete article from TIME.

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