Idleness is Everywhere!

Not Lazy. Not Procrastinating. Idle.

When doing my research for Productive Anywhere, I had the chance to interview Raam Dev, who is currently traveling around the United States, embracing a slower pace of life, writing, and deliberately living on a small budget. After finishing the interview, we talked a bit more about our observations and experiences within the work-fetishizing Western societies.

As it turns out, not being stressed and not being angry about our labor situation apparently makes us just as rare as people walking aimlessly through the forest.

The reactions from most people to this lifestyle are puzzled, sometimes even a bit unfriendly. Especially if I introduce myself as an idler, I’m simply seen as lazy or as a chronic procrastinator.

This made me think about how there is a difference between procrastination, laziness and idleness.

It’s maybe just a play with semantics, but for me, laziness is simply dead and sterile: You’re lazy after work because you don’t have any power left. You just feel exhausted, and you don’t want to do anything else, so you retract to your couch and TV.

If laziness is nothing but apathy, procrastination is the desire to escape from boring or gruesome work: You don’t want to do a certain thing, so you start doing something else. In this sense, procrastination is an “away from something”.

Idleness, on the other hand, is a “towards something”: It’s a movement to stop all movement. An invitation to fully be in the present moment. A moment to simply embrace life as it is. As such, being idle can become a part of the broader celebration of life I wrote about some time ago: It means saying yes to the world at large, and it means accepting that most things in life are – all in all, in the big picture – okay and wholesome.

That’s why I’m happy to be an idler. Fancy to join me?