How Philosophy and Art Can Help You Quit the Cult of Being Busy
Take a moment to stop rushing, and rebel against the cult of being too busy.
Everyone is busy. You, me, the guy cutting you off in traffic, that irritable person who pushed you in the elevator. We all have some new and interesting problem coming along to make our days just a little harder. We all have anxieties.
The modern world is as anxious and stressful as it has ever been. Despite our modern conveniences and wealth, we often find ourselves with less time and more expenses. We have to, don’t we? After all, being excellent at our jobs, sociable, active in our community, and patrons of the newest and flashiest stores and restaurants is the good life, isn’t it? Who has time for anything else?
A few philosophers remind us to take a break every once in a while, and just breathe.
While most people see the tycoon, celebrity, or the like as an ideal to be strived for, Schopenhauer offers us “The Sage”. An individual who can overcome their desire, and retreat from the stresses of life to live as an intellectual. He did offer a more practical solution for the rest of us, and advised stressed people to spend as long as possible with art and philosophy, which gives us a moment of clarity. However brief, it is a break from our daily labors to spend in beauty and reflection.
A more optimistic philosopher, Epicurus, was a committed hedonist above all else. However, he understood that happiness was, in the end, best found in tranquility, moderation, and pleasures of the soul. He wrote that excess of nearly any kind will cause dissatisfaction later, and many followers of his school set up communal living arrangements to further explore the ideas of this way of life.
To the east, Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, reminded us that “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Leaving his post at court and living as a hermit, and reminding us of the joys of slowing down. He wrote that, “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” Imploring us to take a moment to stop our rushed and anxious thoughts to just be. That being, he argues, helps us to find our real selves.
Alright, but how can we have that?
The answers are many, and differ from person to person; but many simple and wonderful ideas come to mind in a hurry. Go watch a cool video about nothing, go for a walk in the park, play sports, watch the sunset, read a good book, go stargazing, or even just watch some birds. Take a moment to ask if rushing around all the time is really what you want or even need. Just asking can make it seem like less of a burden.
We can’t all escape the rush of the day to day, but a few great thinkers remind us to take a break now and then, and find a moment to lose our minds in something beautiful.
International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.
Discover the holistic and all-encompassing philosophies of the ancient East.
- Taoist philosophy teaches its adherents the paradoxical action of non-action.
- Over three thousand years ago, the I Ching conceptualized binary code and influenced major asian religions
- Ram Dass and Herman Hesse synthesized western scientific and philosophic views with traditional eastern religions to inform their teachings.
An MIT study predicts when artificial intelligence will take over for humans in different occupations.
While technology develops at exponential speed, transforming how we go about our everyday tasks and extending our lives, it also offers much to worry about. In particular, many top minds think that automation will cost humans their employment, with up to 47% of all jobs gone in the next 25 years. And chances are, this number could be even higher and the massive job loss will come earlier.
One way to limit clutter is by being mindful of your spending.
- Overbuyers are people who love to buy — they stockpile things as a result. These are individuals who are prone to run out of space in trying to store their stuff and they may even lose track of what — and how much of what — they have.
- One way overbuyers can limit their waste, both money and space wise, is by storing items at the store, and then buy them when they really need them.
- Underbuyers tend to go to extraordinary lengths to not buy things. They save money and do fewer errands, however, they often make do with shabby personal items. They may also, when they finally decide to go out to buy a product, go without entirely because the item may no longer be available.
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