Saturday, November 17, 2018

Doing nothing

When I walk I don't use electronics, or, usually alone, talk. It is time to think, listen, observe, pray. I enjoyed this:
As an undergraduate, I went for walks in rural Michigan. Sometimes alone, sometimes with others. Romantic walks, friendly walks, philosophical walks, beautiful walks. On one memorable walk, I delighted in the loveliness of the effect a streetlight can have on green leaves in the dark. I wasted time on those walks, and it shaped my soul.

Such time-wasting walks do not happen very often in a fast-paced, modern society of constant work. Even when we do walk, we do so quickly. ....

Our technology allows us to fill every moment with sensory stimulation, and that has detrimental consequences to our mental well-being. We are depriving ourselves of “that needed replenishment of mind that comes from doing nothing in particular.”

We are depriving ourselves of what Josef Pieper calls leisure, that receptive disposition to reality that makes possible poetry and philosophy. Those with leisurely souls are receptive to the beauty of the world around them and full of wonder about its causes. Such receptivity is important to our mental health. In our busyness, we are neglecting the cultivation of an inner richness that is part of a healthy and flourishing life. ....

.... Human beings are not simply producers; they are also lovers of beauty and contemplators of truth; they are wasters of time.

The liberally educated person does not have an agenda when he walks. He simply walks slowly, keeps his eyes open, and his wits about him.

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