What have we got here in America that we believe we cannot live without? We have the most varied and imaginative bathrooms in the world, we have kitchens with the most gimmicks, we have houses with every possible electrical gadget to save ourselves all kinds of trouble - all so that we can have leisure. Leisure, leisure, leisure! So that we don't go mad in the leisure, we have color TV. So that there will never, never, be a moment of silence, we have radio and Muzak. We can't stand silence, because silence includes thinking. And if we thought, we would have to face ourselves.
Agnes de Mille
The mental and physical reactions to what are perceived as labor and leisure are distinctively different, though at leisure labor is often involved. Some people are able to maintain a happier balance between labor and leisure, not because they have a world of free time, but because they effectively expanded what is in leisure.
Action is the music of our life. Like music, it starts from a pause of leisure, a silence of activity which our initiative attacks; then it develops according to its inner logic, passes its climax, seeks its cadence, ends, and restores silence, leisure again. Action and leisure are thus interdependent; echoing and recalling each other, so that action enlivens leisure with its memories and anticipations, and leisure expands and raises action beyond its mere immediate self and gives it a permanent meaning.
Salvador de Madariaga
As Western nations became more prosperous, leisure, which had been put off for several centuries in favor of the pursuit of property, the means to leisure, finally began to be of primary concern. But, in the meantime, any notion of the serious life of leisure, as well as men's taste and capacity to live it, had disappeared.
How we use our leisure is equally as important to our joy as our occupational pursuits. Proper use of leisure requires discriminating judgment. Our leisure provides opportunity for renewal of spirit, mind, and body. It is a time for worship, for family, for service, for study, for wholesome recreation. It brings harmony into our life.
J. Richard Clarke
Leisure, the highest happiness upon earth, is seldom enjoyed with perfect satisfaction, except in solitude. Indolence and indifference do not always afford leisure; for true leisure is frequently found in that interval of relaxation which divides a painful duty from an agreeable recreation; a toilsome business from the more agreeable occupations of literature and philosophy.
Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann
The most remarkable aspect of the transition we are living through is not so much the passage from want to affluence as the passage from labor to leisure. Leisure contains the future, it is the new horizon. The prospect then is one of unremitting labor to bequeath to future generations a chance of founding a society of leisure that will overcome the demands and compulsions of productive labor so that time may be devoted to creative activities or simply to pleasure and happiness.
If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment -- assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do, because they are convinced that the poor would not know how to use so much leisure. In America men often work long hours even when they are well off; such men, naturally, are indignant at the idea of leisure for wage-earners, except as the grim punishment of unemployment; in fact, they dislike leisure even for their sons.
If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment - assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do, because they are convinced that the poor would not know how to use so much leisure. In America men often work long hours even when they are well off; such men, naturally, are indignant at the idea of leisure for wage-earners, except as the grim punishment of unemployment; in fact, they dislike leisure even for their sons.
What is the benefit of fasting in our body while filling our souls with innumerable evils? He who does not play at dice, but spends his leisure otherwise, what nonsense does he not utter? What absurdities does he not listen to? Leisure without the fear of God is, for those who do not know how to use time, the teacher of wickedness.
[But that was how it was in a workaday Britain generally addicted to merit, rather than one increasingly enslaved to notions of entitlement. In the deepest part of themselves, all classes now are devoted to leisure, as if proper and difficult occupation has become one of the enemies of modern selfhood.] The secret of being miserable, ... is to have leisure to bother whether you are happy or not.
George Bernard Shaw
Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.
Now the code of life of the High Middle Ages said something entirely opposite to this: that it was precisely lack of leisure, an inability to be at leisure, that went together with idleness; that the restlessness of work-for-work's sake arose from nothing other than idleness. There is a curious connection in the fact that the restlessness of a self-destructive work-fanatacism should take its rise from the absence of a will to accomplish something.
What was more needed by this old man who divided the leisure hours of his life, where he had so little leisure, between gardening in the daytime, and contemplation at night? Was not this narrow enclosure, with the sky for a background, enough to enable him to adore God in his most beautiful as well as in his most sublime works? Indeed, is not that all, and what more can be desired? A little garden to walk, and immensity to reflect upon. At his feet something to cultivate and gather; above his head something to study and meditate upon: a few flowers on the earth, and all the stars in the sky.
That was the trouble with being a writer, that was the main trouble""leisure time, excessive leisure time. You had to wait around for the buildup until you could write and while you were waiting you went crazy, and while you were going crazy you drank and the more you drank the crazier you got.
Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.
Among this people there is no leisure class. We often forget that in the United States over half the youth and adults are not in the world earning incomes, but are making homes, learning of the world, or resting after the heat of the strife. But here ninety-six per cent are toiling; no one with leisure to turn the bare and cheerless cabin into a home, no old folks to sit beside the fire and hand down traditions of the past; little of careless happy childhood and dreaming youth.
W.E.B. Du Bois
Many concerns now make part or the whole of their dividends from by-products that formerly went to waste. How do we, as individuals, utilize our principal by-product? Our principal by-product is, of course, our leisure time. Many years of observation forces the conclusion that a man's success or failure in life is determined as much by how he acts during his leisure as by how he acts during his work hours. Tell me how a young man spends his evenings and I will tell you how he is likely to spend the latter part of his life.
B. C. Forbes
Well, in a world where so few of us are obliged to cook at all anymore, to choose to do so is to lodge a protest against specialization-against the total rationalization of life. Against the infiltration of commercial interests into every last cranny of our lives. To cook for the pleasure of it, to devote a portion of our leisure to it, is to declare our independence from the corporations seeking to organize our every waking moment into yet another occasion for consumption. (Come to think of it, our nonwaking moments as well: Ambien, anyone?) It is to reject the debilitating notion that, at least while we're at home, production is work best done by someone else, and the only legitimate form of leisure is consumption. This dependence marketers call 'freedom.
For this new-married man approaching here, Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd Your well defended honour, you must pardon For Mariana's sake: but as he adjudged your brother, - Being criminal, in double violation Of sacred chastity and of promise-breach Thereon dependent, for your brother's life, - The very mercy of the law cries out Most audible, even from his proper tongue, 'An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!' Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure; Like doth quit like, and MEASURE still FOR MEASURE
I gather, " he added, "that you've never had much time to study the classics?" "That is so." "Pity. Pity. You've missed a lot. Everyone should be made to study the classics, if I had my way." Poirot shrugged his shoulders. "Eh bien, I have got on very well without them." "Got on! Got on? It's not a question of getting on. That's the wrong view all together. The classics aren't a ladder leading to quick success, like a modern correspondence course! It's not a man's working hours that are important-it's his leisure hours. That's the mistake we all make. Take yourself now, you're getting on, you'll be wanting to get out of things, to take things easy-what are you going to do then with your leisure hours?
Traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning. It incorrectly assumes that for every ounce of teaching there is an ounce of learning by those who are taught. However, most of what we learn before, during, and after attending schools is learned without its being taught to us. A child learns such fundamental things as how to walk, talk, eat, dress, and so on without being taught these things. Adults learn most of what they use at work or at leisure while at work or leisure. Most of what is taught in classroom settings is forgotten, and much or what is remembered is irrelevant.
Russell L. Ackoff
in Aristotle... leisure is a far more noble, spiritual goal than work... leisure is pursued solely for its own sake... : the pleasures of music and poetry, ... conversation with friends, and... gratuitous, playful speculation. In Latin, the ultimate good is otium - the opposite is negotium, or gainful work. We have sought too much counsel in the proto-Calvinist work ethic preached by St Paul... during the cessation of work we nurture family, educate, nourish friendships... in loafing, most of our innovations come... the routine of daily work has too often served as... sleep... a refuge from two crucial states - awakedness to the needs of others, and to the transcendent, which only comes... loitering, dallying, tarrying, goofing off.
Francine du Plessix Gray
She says I shall now have one mouth the more to fill and two feet the more to shoe, more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure or visiting, reading, music, and drawing. Well! This is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worth all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ's name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother's heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!
Elizabeth Payson Prentiss