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The Importance of Leisure

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

We need a different relationship with leisure in our minds. It may be the best investment we can make. I refer over and over to this article by Maria Popova: Leisure, The Basis of Culture:

"The most significant human achievements between Aristotle’s time and our own — our greatest art, the most enduring ideas of philosophy, the spark for every technological breakthrough — originated in leisure, in moments of unburdened contemplation, of absolute presence with the universe within one’s own mind and absolute attentiveness to life without, be it Galileo inventing modern timekeeping after watching a pendulum swing in a cathedral or Oliver Sacks illuminating music’s incredible effects on the mind while hiking in a Norwegian fjord. So how did we end up so conflicted about cultivating a culture of leisure?"

She covers the topic further in another article, profiling David Steindl-Rast, titled We Lost Leisure:

"Leisure … is not the privilege of those who can afford to take time; it is the virtue of those who give to everything they do the time it deserves to take."

I re-read these articles all the time to remind me what art and life should be about. Leisure is one of those topics we don't discuss much because it seems too indulgent, but if we want to create art, advance civilization or live in any meaningful way, leisure will have to be given priority.

“Of all people, only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only those are really alive.” - Seneca