In Praise of Idleness

In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell
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Because of this, the human became more responsible and that led him or her to work more. In addition to that. In my opinion the noble belief of working more than you have to has became the forefoot of slavery.

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Not the cruel notion of slavery, but it could be called as the modern slavery. Because the human redirected to work with a noble belief evil lie that the rulers faked up. To avoid this immoderate situation we, as humanity, we need to stable our production and consumption level. If we can determine a standard between our con- sumption and production, we can go back to our true nature , the nature of eating the pro- duced. Why, do humans persistently pushes this system?

One of the ideas that Russell especially asserts is too much work causes exhaustion and that drives us to be more passive. Never a true word spoken.

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The division of leisure between the urban human and rural human is very visible. One of them earns money, a lot of money. On the contrary, the rural one, earns enough for himself or herself and the family, but has got time for activities which are energetic. For example, the rural one goes for village dance , and games festivals, meetings etc.. But the urban one goes to cinema. In my opinion cinema is counted as a luxury activity in our time crowded modern day, for urban person. The ones who goes to cinema thinks they are doing a rare activity. By Bertrand Russell.


Some are commonplace and ordinary. Weber, Max. This site uses cookies to recognize users and allow us to analyse site usage. Healthy, active aging becomes the duty of responsible, autonomous citizens Rudman , When all these methods prove inadequate we have a war: we cause a number of people to manufacture high explosives, and a number of others to explode them, as if we were children who had just discovered fireworks.

But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Every one knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun it was before the days of Mussolini , and offered a lira to the laziest of them.

Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth.

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This traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it.

Idleness with Dignity. Lecture IV: Russell's In Praise of Idleness.

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. If so, I shall not have lived in vain. Before advancing my own arguments for laziness, I must dispose of one which I cannot accept. If this argument were valid, it would only be necessary for us all to be idle in order that we should all have our mouths full of bread. What people who say such things forget is that what a man earns he usually spends, and in spending he gives employment.

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The real villain, from this point of view, is the man who saves. If he merely puts his savings in a stocking, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that they do not give employment. If he invests his savings the matter is less obvious, and different cases arise. One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some government.

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In view of the fact that the bulk of the expenditure of most civilized governments consists in payments for past wars and preparation for future wars, the man who lends his money to a government is in the same position as the bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers. Obviously it would be better if he spent the money, even if he spent it on drink or gambling.

But, I shall be told, the case is quite different when savings are invested in industrial enterprises.

In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell

When such enterprises succeed and produce something useful this may be conceded. In these days, however, no one will deny that most enterprises fail.

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That means that a large amount of human labor, which might have been devoted to producing something which could be enjoyed, was expended on producing machines which, when produced, lay idle and did no good to anyone. The man who invests his savings in a concern that goes bankrupt is, therefore, injuring others as well as himself. If he spent his money, say, in giving parties for his friends, they we may hope would get pleasure, and so would all those on whom he spent money, such as the butcher, the baker, and the bootlegger.

But if he spends it let us say upon laying down rails for surface cars in some place where surface cars turn out to be not wanted, he has diverted a mass of labor into channels where it gives pleasure to no one. Nevertheless, when he becomes poor through the failure of his investment he will be regarded as a victim of undeserved misfortune, whereas the gay spendthrift, who has spent his money philanthropically, will be despised as a fool and a frivolous person.

All this is only preliminary. I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by the belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work. First of all: what is work? The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.

The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two different bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i. Throughout Europe, though not in America, there is a third class of men, more respected than either of the classes of workers. These are men who, through ownership of land, are able to make others pay for the privilege of being allowed to exist and to work.

An approach to the ideas of “In Praise of Idleness” after 80 years

These landowners are idle, and I might, therefore, be expected to praise them. Unfortunately, their idleness is rendered possible only by the industry of others; indeed their desire for comfortable idleness is historically the source of the whole gospel of work. A man who has worked long hours all his life will become bored if he becomes suddenly idle. But without a considerable amount of leisure a man is cut off from many of the best things. There is no longer any reason why the bulk of the population should suffer this deprivation; only a foolish asceticism, usually vicarious, makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists.

More Praise for Idleness | Issue 29 | Philosophy Now

How pleasant a world would be in which no man was allowed to operate on the Stock Exchange unless he could pass and examination in economics and Greek poetry, and in which politicians were obliged to have a competent knowledge of history and modern novels. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle.

We should increase leisure — and make life more worthwhile — by producing only what makes for better lives. In turn, workers would have the satisfaction of producing things of real value. Share this: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn. Like this: Like Loading Previous post The Feynman Technique.