Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Idler No 31: On Idleness: Samuel Johnson
This was hard for me to understand, but how I took it was different personality traits that we possess being desribed in terms of people or identity such as, Pride, Sober, and Idleness. Johnson states that "Idleness predominates in many lives where it is not suspected; for being a vice which terminates in itself; it may be enjoyed without injury to others" (2678). Also Johnson explains that some people boast in full dignity of idleness such as "Busiris in the play 'calls himself the Proud" who boast that they do nothing,and thank their stars that they have nothing to do...whose whole labor is to vary postures of indulgence" (2678). He then goes on to explain that Pride is sometimes "hid under humility" (2679). And that people who are always "in state of preparation" is in a sense of idleness (2679). But that people who are conducting labor are not (but then are they in a sense of Pride or Sober). Lastly Sober which Johnson characterizes himself to be pleasures conversation, hard working, and attempts to work like a craftsman or a carpenter but is not so good at doing so, but he is rather an artist. But Sober does practice and tries to continue to improve at least he is not like Idleness who wastes away their days by doing nothing. I can not seem to wonder if this work has to deal with the rich and the working class and what the traits they possess? He asks: "What will be the effect of this paper I know not; perhaps he will read it and laugh, and light the fire in his furnace; but my hope is that he will quit his trifles, and betake himself to rational and useful diligence" (2679 and 2680). Therefore, Johnson is simply characterizing people from himself and comparing their traits to one another. Whether they are hard working, actually trying, or just floating by in life.