Work Related

When we consider that each of us has only one life to live, isn’t it rather tragic to find men and women, with brains capable of comprehending the stars and the planets, talking about the weather; men and women, with hands capable of creating works of art, using those hands only for routine tasks; men and women, capable of independent thought, using their minds as a bowling-alley for popular ideas; men and women, capable of greatness, wallowing in mediocrity; men and women, capable of self-expression, slowly dying a mental death while they babble the confused monotone of the mob?

William J. Reilly, How To Avoid Work. Career counseling from 1949.

Boredom is Necessary

From the School of Life’s blog:  

In advance of Sunday’s sermon by visionary architect Will Alsop, we
grabbed five minutes to ask him a few questions about his underlying
thoughts on the subject of boredom.

You’ve
remarked that if a company keeps its employees working as a rule,
that’s bad management. What’s your working style, and how does it stop
you from getting bored? And in keeping your employees and clients
inspired? What role does your drawing wall play in that?

Good
management of people means total openness and never asking them to do
things both you know and they know are a waste of time. The role of the
drawing wall allows all to see a hint of what’s going on.

You’ve
argued that “if a society is creating spaces where people are happy to
sit and do nothing, it’s doing something right”. [Please correct quote
if this isn’t right.] How would you answer those who say that in reality
such places mainly collect the marginalised and socially lost (in the
case of public spaces) or the passive and unthinking (in the case of
entertainment spaces)? What kind of spaces for doing nothing do you want
to create?

Strange
that it’s difficult to sit in a public space and do nothing, as they
have moved all the benches, at the expense of street cafes where you
have to pay to sit and do nothing.

How would you best describe boredom of the creative kind?

WA: To have sufficient time to do nothing and not worry about it. It is never boring.

Do you think today we feel pressured to fill our spare time
with activities rather than use rare and valuable empty time to take
time to pause and reflect? 

WA:  For people of all ages, there would appear to be an
increasing sense of guilt if you are not filling all the hours of the
day with something that so-called society feels is of value.

You’ve suggested that good taste and refined style are boring in a bad way. Why? 

WA: The idea of taste and style are boring in a bad way because
these are values that are imposed by so-called experts/tastemakers
promoted by the media and simply act as a crutch for the mentally
lethargic.

You’ve
remarked that if a company keeps its employees working as a rule,
that’s bad management. What’s your working style, and how does it stop
you from getting bored? And in keeping your employees and clients
inspired? What role does your drawing wall play in that?

WA: Good management of people means total openness and never
asking them to do things both you know and they know are a waste of
time. The role of the drawing wall allows all to see a hint of what’s
going on.

You’ve argued that “if a society is creating spaces where people are happy to sit and do nothing, it’s doing something right”.  

WA:  Strange that it’s difficult to sit in a public space and do
nothing, as they have moved all the benches, at the expense of street
cafes where you have to pay to sit and do nothing.

 

Thrusday

I feel lost in a world of my own thoughts that others can’t understand, can’t know or comprehend.  It’s not that I’m silent, I talk a lot, I tell you things, I tell them things but no one listens.  I try to silence my mind, I try to do yoga and go outside and run, and lay in the sun, listening to the birds and the trees and the water gently lapping against the side of the pond.  Ducks quacking and geese yelling at each other, children playing in the water fountain even though I still feel cool in the shade.  MY mind wanders around a lot and sleep doesn’t seem to come easy at the moment — I look in the mirror in the mornings and see a face that doesn’t seem to resemble mine unless I take the opportunity to look closer, to identify those features that I recognize as me, as my own face, my image.  Looking into my own eyes, you see some despair and some sadness, but lurking in the shallow end is the happiness that is just bursting to get out, to more forwards.   

Those who don’t listen, those whose minds are always occupied by their own things, who don’t look, think, act without though of others — those who are supposedly in charge, who are the ones making decisions, they know nothing of us at the bottom, at that trudge our way through thinking thoughts about telling them off, about just not showing up, about leaving them to their own devices.  We are on a different plane, a level that is above them — they are still in the rut of their own life, laying at the bottom and waiting for all the others to join in with them so that they can feel better in their disappointment and sadness. Come to the bottom, here, this is where you need to be to go any further, come with me here, wallow in our anger.    

No thanks. Go to hell.  I’m not stuping to your level.  My mind is mine, it tells me to do other things with my time, to focus on my lover, on the way we want to be, and to ignore those around me that invade this space of fertile thinking, of creative imagery, of roots planted into those ideas and philosophies that I hold true to myself.  I refuse to give in to your meandering and childish feelings, your rude attitude and hatred of those who have lives worth living.   

The day is bright, the sun is high and shines forcefully on my skin, leaving it’s trail of brown and red, giving my mind a way to release.  The air is smooth, sweet with the smell of the spring flowers and I leave all of the things that tear at my daily life, tear so forcefully at my soul behind in the wind.