Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Take it Easy

This post celebrates the fifth anniversary of the B-List (thunderous applause
breaks out spontaneously in cyberspace).  I thought for many hours what would
be an appropriate theme for such a momentous occasion, but then realised that
as usual I'm thinking about it too much.  So I decided to literally "take it
easy" (and no, I'm not inspired by that insipid song by The Eagles).

1. "The virtue of idleness"  [originally from The Guardian]
"It is a sad fact that from early childhood we are tyrannised by the moral
 myth that it is right, proper and good to leap out of bed the moment we wake
 in order to set about some useful work as quickly and cheerfully as possible."
"I would argue not only that early rising is totally unnatural but also that
 lying in bed half awake - sleep researchers call this state 'hypnagogic' - is
 positively beneficial to health and happiness. A good morning doze of half an
 hour or more can, for example, help you to prepare mentally for the problems
 and tasks ahead." [I practice this often myself - that's what the snooze
 button is for :)]
"The lie-in - by which I mean lying in bed awake - is not a selfish indulgence
 but an essential tool for any student of the art of living. As Sherlock Holmes
 knew. Lolling around in his smoking jacket, puffing his pipe, Holmes would sit
 and ponder for hours on a tricky case."
"Idleness as a waste of time is a damaging notion put about by its spiritually
 vacant enemies. Introspection could lead to that terrible thing: a vision of
 the truth, a clear image of the horror of our fractured, dissonant world."
"The intellectual benefits of being ill are demonstrated and reflected upon at
 length by Marcel Proust. Famously chronically ill and frequently bed-bound, he
 had plenty of time to theorise on being ill: 'Infirmity alone makes us notice
 and learn, and enables us to analyse processes which we would otherwise know
 nothing about."
"There are many examples of the creative power of dreams: Kubla Khan came to
 Coleridge in a dream, as did the tune for Yesterday to Paul McCartney. The idea
 for Frankenstein revealed itself to the young Mary Shelley in a waking dream;
 Einstein said that a breakthrough in his theory of relativity had come to him
 in a dream; Descartes had a dream that set him on the path towards his whole
 philosophical system (he said it was 'the most important affair' of his life)."

2. "In praise of clutter"
"Many companies these days ... run 'clean desk' policies, requiring employees
 to remove all evidence of work from their desks by the end of the day...
 Although office clutter is usually almost entirely work-related, it tends
 nevertheless to be treated as though it consisted of the dirty socks and crisp
 packets of an adolescent. Workers are confused. They know that creating clutter
 is an essential part of the way they work, but they are made to feel guilty
 about it"
[on a slightly related note:]
"Top 11 reasons a messy office is better than a clean one"

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to leave my messy desk and go lie down on my
bed to listen to some music ("Hot Fuss" by The Killers if you're nosy).