‘ It is quite obvious that in the years to come we shall have to tackle this business of employing leisure much more scientifically than has hitherto been the case. For about 150 years men have been struggling to obtain leisure, and now that they have got it they don’t know what to do with it. Education has been no preparation for it. When the average working man gets any leisure he spends it in the purely passive pursuit of watching films, dog-racing or football. Leisure, which surely ought first and foremost to be an opportunity for giving vent to mans passion to express himself, to create something, is wasted in serving commercial interests.
Our first mistake is to spend our leisure in herds. It has been wisely said that religion is what a man does with his loneliness, and one result of modern civilisation has been to make men afraid of being by themselves. They look upon loneliness as a state to be avoided. In a word they fight shy of it exactly as they fight shy of the word religion.
Too much obedience of the herd extinct has gone along way to destroy our liberty of action and liberty of thought. We follow the dictates of convention and society quite blindly without stopping to think whether we are wise in applying them to our own case. “ It isn’t done,” is our parrot-like remonstrance when someone suggests a convenient but unusual mode of behaviour, like walking coatless in the street on a hot day or drinking tea out of the saucer to cool it.
Our first duty to ourselves is to is to learn to know ourselves, and we shall never do that by always keeping with the crowd. The world is far too full of leagues and societies and clubs and associations. There ought to be an Association for those who vow never to belong to any association.Continue reading