Views & Reviews Between the Lines

A call for convalescence

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8337 (Published 13 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8337
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

In theory I am in favour of idleness, for without it there can be no contemplation, and without contemplation there can be no wisdom. But good as I was in my youth at being idle, I now find it difficult in practice to be idle. There is, besides, the difficult question of just how idle one should be, and for how much of the time; like many a joy, that of idleness quickly palls.

Can there be any idler pleasure than leafing through second hand books? I picked up a small volume recently while doing so called How to Be Idle, by a philosopher of idling and founder of the Idler magazine, Tom Hodgkinson. …

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