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6 August 2012

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The Busy Trap

There has been a similarity in the ideas that I’ve come across this weekend. I was recently talking with a friend on Friday afternoon about how we occupy our weekend and balance our desire to work on personal hobbies with the need, and guilt of being “lazy.” I was making the argument that ‘shutting down’ is necessary not only for our health, (every machine is taken out of service periodically for maintenance and parts replacement, why do we feel we are different) but also for our creativity.

There is this unnecessary internal and external pressure to be constantly doing something worth talking about. And with the full integration of the social web into our lives, there can exist a constant need to document the what and where of our daily lives. Some days I feel the most interesting, luxurious thing I can do is take a nap – and not tell anyone I did it.

In the conversation I had made a passing reference to Bertrand Russell’s In Praise of Idleness. On Saturday morning, while catching up on my backlog of leisure reading, I read Tim Kreider’s The ‘Busy’ Trap

It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

This backlog of reading led me to another quote by Jonathan Harris as part of his CreativeMornings talk.

The more you document your own life, the more you check in, you tweet, the more you post photos of what you did last night, the more you do all of this stuff, or even in my case, the more you listen for little lines of dialogue that can make their way into stories, the more you photograph moments, in a way, the more you start to step out of those moments, and if you do that too much, you become a spectator to your own life.
- Jonathan Harris

The “unexamined life is not worth living,” according to Socrates. Are we stopping to take the time to be fully in the moment, or even take the time to look back and reflect on what we have done and were we want to go?

Finally, Sunday’s morning stack of magazines held the latest volume of  Kinfolk magazine (iPad):

The past few years have levied a strange burden of proof upon our backs, a burden to account for our hours and days, to prove to all who care to watch from the screens of their phones and computers that we are doing something worthy with our lives. In the meantime, we have forgotten how to be content in being present.
- Rebecca Parker Payne

Now I’m becoming more interested in this Friday afternoon conversation due to this serendipitous collision of similar thoughts and ideas. Is it happening because I’m looking for the connections and the topic is still fresh in my mind?


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