Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Busy bein' busy

Beth: Hey, Greenberg, what are you doing these days?
Greenberg: ...I'm really trying to do nothing for awhile.
Beth: That's brave at our age.
– Greenberg (2010)

Don't just do something, sit there
– Author unknown; possibly Buddha

Busy is the new happy. In fact, happiness doesn't even enter into the equation, as if it's an out-of-date fairytale notion; just being busy is enough. Happy is boring; busy equates with, er, being busy and, perhaps, success – far more important than happiness (which people just don't have time for). What have you been up to? I've been busy. It's a great, all-encompassing excuse for not doing something else: Why didn't you…? Oh, sorry, I've been busy. It doesn't matter what one's been busy with – no doubt it will be something dull, like work or chores. I personally hate being busy. Even if I'm busy doing something 'fun' (though for some reason I don't equate the two), I'm counting the hours and minutes when I can be back doing nothing, thinking, smoking, reading, listening to music, but best of all, napping.

'Idle hands make the devil's work' goes the saying, implying a lazy and bored person is easily seduced by the devil. I imagined the saying was invented by a corporation, but it's actually Biblical, which is just as bad; anyway, corporations and multinationals as well as the media have long-since usurped religion, government and possibly education too. Apparently idleness and mischief go hand in hand. It's good for society to have people busy, keeping the cogs turning; if they sat around thinking they might incite a revolution or something. Then again, 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'.

Technology helps us do things quicker and with the comfort of not having to leave home. So traditional, communal activities such as music, cinema, shopping, sex, sports, games and socialising can all be done in front of a screen at home. The internet is meant to free us but has in fact made us antisocial, selfish slaves to the system, Tweeting generic emotions to a machine, addicted to catching up on Facebook, ordering avocados from Ocado.

When people retire, they're often stuck on what to do with the remainder of their time on earth. Either they have a heart attack and die, fill in their time by volunteering in charity shops, watching daytime TV and/or doing courses. Best of all, though, is doing nothing. Surprisingly, it is difficult, for there is an art to it. But the benefits are plentiful; not only does it make time go slower but it's fun and satisfying too. I'm seriously thinking of running a course on how to do nothing successfully.


Jude said...

Of course you have honed this art to a fine tune. Practice makes perfect. It helps that you are a BA already!

Mel said...

Ha ha - nice one (again) Jude! Right, well, no time for a long comment unfortunately - I'm a bit busy. You just have a nice lie down, Barnaby.

Barnaby said...

*Phew!* After that deluge of comments, I feel I deserve a little rest.