Saturday Morning

Beauty brings us to a halt: it imposes, if only for a flash, the cessation of activity. (On the lawn in front of the library, seeing a runner in red shorts complete the last flailing strides of a sprint before pitching forward, his fingers caressing soft dirt: I let my book fall.) Indolence and aesthetic experience both involve feelings of unbidden influence, involuntariness or absence of will. But where the experience of beauty is often significant and always pleasurable, idleness is more equivocal in its effects and character. Essentially contentless, idleness obtains its phenomenological shape from the objects around us—the pliancy of a chair, the gloss of an advertisement—and the thoughts and desires within us.

O’Connor, to his credit, resists conflating idleness with aesthetic bliss, or animal repose, or other unambiguously positive varieties of passivity. Yet experience without content has little to recommend it. Without some consciously chosen value that organizes how we do nothing, we may find that our idle time makes us less free rather than more.

~ Charlie Tyson, from “Idleness” in The Point (September 5, 2019)


Source: Quote – Thank you The Hammock Papers. Photo: via see more.

Comments

  1. The last two sentences of this post reminded me of the two well-dressed 30-something women who were overheard in my supermarket a few weeks ago: “You’re back — hi!” “Yeah! Hi!” “How was your vacation??” “Oh, it was good… but exhausting, you know? It’s good to be back.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘Beauty brings us to a halt: it imposes, if only for a flash, the cessation of activity.’ Charlie Tyson, from “Idleness” in The Point (September 5, 2019)

    Like

  3. thank you, faithful visitor. i hope to be better for you…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dang, DK…. you really making me have to concentrate this morning. I had to read this a few times to get the gist.
    Or maybe I’m just tired. And need to be idle for another day.
    Oh, sorry, DR, you can’t today. You have to fill in for two guys who are off and the Maitre d’ who just quit and the students who have already left… Is October 31 coming soon? I need golf season to end.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. pliancy of a chair, ie: must be a recliner…and it is true that at times a person might need a vacation from their vacation…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thought provoking….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Need a little nothing every now and then. But firm believer in structured nothingness! With lots of delicious naps in between.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ‘il bel far niente’ – the art of doing nothing

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “Yet experience without content has little to recommend it.” Truth. There is definitely action and intent required in being, it’s not just doing nothing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah, yes…”Without some consciously chosen value that organizes how we do nothing, we may find that our idle time makes us less free rather than more.” Beauty is always a good organizer! Thanks, David!

    Liked by 1 person

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