This is a quote we have all heard from time to time. Whoever wrote this quote quite evidently thought an idle mind would lead to laziness. Was it true; was there a time when an idle mind did lead to a lazy demeanour?
Has this quote stood the test of time? Has it been able to prove its worth with the changing circumstances? Has it, in essence, still maintained its credibility? These are the questions I aim to address.
In a simplistic lifestyle, an idle mind would lead to nothing but ruin. A person who leads a simple life cannot afford to let his mind stay idle, as it will only lead him to question himself, not only with regard to his mundane activities but the very moral and social system he is a small part of. He will begin to question the viability of his very existence, which would overwhelm him and break him to the point of reclusion or social isolation.
But we all know a “simplistic lifestyle” as we know it does not exist anymore. Every human being is busy. Every human being is preoccupied with proving his mettle. Whether it is a young primary school student trying to ace his class, or the CEO of a huge corporation trying to increase profits; we have so many short term and long term goals set up ever since we get an understanding of the world around us, that there is no scope of idleness of mind.
But are we happy? Even after constantly working and enriching our mind, do we feel a sense of satisfaction? Why is it that even after having a well stimulated mind, we are still uncertain of our place in the world?
This is because, with the passage of time, we have lost the ability to observe. We concentrate only on material and intellectual gain, but we forget one of the most important modes of intellectual development. We have stopped observing. The moment we get some free time, we engage in several things we love doing. But nobody just sits and thinks, nobody spares the time to just perceive everything around him. The sights and sounds of his surroundings beckon him to look closer but he doesn’t pay any heed. Why should he; he doesn’t have the time. He shall keep stressing himself with the obligations he owes to others; he will stare bluntly at his cell phone screen, typing ‘LOL’ for a joke that didn’t even coax a smile. But he wouldn’t look up to see the sea reflect the sunset in myriad shades of red and yellow.
We have started exhausting our minds with pointless pondering over unnecessary aspects of our monotonous lives. We have started tiring our minds with meaningless inhibitions and baseless limitations to thought; all this to such an extent that we get brain-dead; our mind refuses to work any further. We have trained our mind into something that has lost its capacity to contemplate on even the most mundane aspects of life. A mind that has stopped questioning and has started accepting anything it perceives. What is this if not the “devil’s workshop”?
Observation and understanding are two essential qualities that define the very crux of humanity. We are destroying these innate human qualities by working our minds to the point of exhaustion. After all, one can only truly observe when his mind is free of all external inhibitions. Hence, in the current scenario, a little bit of “idleness” might just be an urgent necessity.
Article by – Pratham Ajmera