Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tempted To Idleness

Despite all the devices intended to make our lives easier it never fails to amaze me how many people complain of a lack of time to accomplish all they want to do. I can’t claim to exempt myself here, for I’ve made the same complaint often enough.

Yet, when you compare our lives, it’s astonishing how much people lacking our conveniences accomplished in the past.

Take Dickens, as an example. The man was a veritable fountain of energy. In a life of less than 60 years he penned 20 novels—many of them initially produced as weekly or monthly serials—none of which has ever gone out of print. He would often start one novel while halfway through another and in the midst of continuous journalism. Add to that three short story collections, numerous other short stories, non-fiction, poetry and plays.

And, at the same time, he was heavily involved in social reform efforts, doing public readings, engaged in family and social life and having a secret fling with a young mistress. Nor was he a sedentary creature. He was an energetic walker, often going more than 10 miles a day.

Dickens is only one example of many. There are many similar cases to be found in biographies of writers, artists and other notables of the past. There are lessons to be learned from their example.

What has happened to us? Are we so distracted by our conveniences and entertainment devices we willingly surrender our creativity to their temptation?

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