He presents evidence to demonstrate the discontent that overwork produces. Idleness eats the heart out of men as of nations, and consumes them as rust does iron. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the YMCA will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. He suggests that the uneducated masses may prefer using leisure time to simply watch sporting events or listen to the radio. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish for ever.”, “The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.”, “There are men who, through ownership of land, are able to make others pay for the privilege of being allowed to exist and to work. A life confined to what is personal is likely, sooner or later, to become unbearably painful; it is only by windows into a larger and less fretful cosmos that the more tragic parts of life become endurable.”, “All serious innovation is only rendered possible by some accident, “One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some Government. ... we have chosen instead to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes. “A man who has worked long hours all his life … In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays Quotes, “A habit of finding pleasure in thought rather than action is a safeguard against unwisdom and excessive love of power, a means of preserving serenity in misfortune and peace of mind among worries. Reading, solitude, idleness, a soft and sedentary life, intercourse with women and young people, these are perilous paths for a young man, and these lead him constantly into danger. Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds. It is from large perceptions combined with impersonal emotion that wisdom most readily springs.”, “If [a man] spent his money, say, in giving parties for his friends, they (we may hope) would get pleasure, and so would all those upon whom he spent money, such as the butcher, the baker, and the bootlegger. I hope that ... the Y.M.C.A will start a campaign to induce good men to do nothing. Of course the holders of power conceal this fact from themselves by managing to believe that their interests are identical with the larger interests of humanity. I knew her stress stemmed from her love for me, yet I never paid attention to her feelings. Writing is a dreadful labor, yet not so dreadful as Idleness. The last thing they have ever wished is that others should follow their example.”, “only a foolish asceticism, usually vicarious, makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists.”, “The fact is that moving matter about, while a certain amount of it is necessary to our existence, is emphatically not one of the ends of human life. We cannot afford idleness, waste or inefficiency. If it were, we should have to consider every navvy superior to Shakespeare. But these momentary alleviations do but increase the sources of suffering in the long run. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. August 7, 2020. People who have nothing to do are quickly tired of their own company. ... it is held that getting money is good and spending money is bad. Russell provides examples of activities that constitute "wise" use of leisure time. Idleness - a job that you have to go to, but not necessarily do anything - is the poet's friend. In Praise of Idleness Study Guide. The invention of money opened a new field to human avarice by giving rise to usury and the practice of lending money at interest while the owner passes a life of idleness. Neither of these motives makes any great appeal to the actual worker. If anything can do it, it is a cradle filled annually. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. Acting is a lot of waiting to be picked, and I like to do a lot of things at once. Technology has reduced the demand for human labor. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. The use of the sweeping generalization "Slave State" is a rhetorical technique that Russell employs to cause the reader to reconsider the popular idea that hard work makes a person morally superior. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.”, “Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. Russell describes the transitional moment when he experienced a profound change in his beliefs about the morality of work. Course Hero. Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top. It is idleness that creates impossibilities; and where people don't care to do anything, they shelter themselves under a permission that it cannot be done. Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. Quotes tagged as "in-praise-of-idleness" Showing 1-1 of 1 “The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich.” ― Bertrand Russell Gluttony and idleness are two of life's great joys, but they are not honourable. I'm not a fan of idleness, except in small doses. Invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness - to save oneself trouble. A kind of respect has been instilled in me for acting: I love it too much to ever have a bad relationship with it. 25 Nov. 2020. It has been said that idleness is the parent of mischief, which is very true; but mischief itself is merely an attempt to escape from the dreary vacuum of idleness. Life does not agree with philosophy: There is no happiness that is not idleness, and only what is useless is pleasurable. But if he spends it (let us say) upon laying down rails for surface cars in some place where surface cars turn out not to be wanted, he has diverted a mass of labor into channels where it gives pleasure to no one. To be idle and to be poor have always been reproaches, and therefore every man endeavors with his utmost care to hide his poverty from others, and his idleness from himself. Error rating book. Download a PDF to print or study offline. The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery.”, “We all have a tendency to think that the world must conform to our prejudices. Money is valuable only because it can be used to purchase necessary goods and services. Toil is man's allotment; toil of brain, or toil of hands, or a grief that's more than either, the grief and sin of idleness. It is true that my body demands periods of rest, which I have to fill in as best I may, but I am never so happy as when the morning comes and I can return to the toil from which my contentment springs.”, “The conception of duty, speaking historically, has been a means used by the holders of power to induce others to live for the interests of their masters rather than for their own. The attempt to escape from pain drives men to triviality, to self-deception, to the invention of vast collective myths. One is the necessity of keeping the poor contented, which has led the rich, for thousands of years, to preach the dignity of labor, while taking care themselves to remain undignified in this respect. Russell points out that there has always been a small elite class of landowners who had ample leisure time. In Praise of Idleness Bertrand Russell Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: 'Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.'