On a night when one can listen to the rain, and when it is cold enough for a fire and a blanket, yet neither too cold nor damp, there is nothing to touch the pleasure of idleness.
In the age of abundant and cheap diversions, it is outside the ordinary to sit alone with one’s thoughts. Or, better, without them. As the lamp oil burns and the eaves troughs emit and the distant world sloughs, toss a Farewell to the sarcastic gabble of the commentators, and to the vain wit of the celebrity watchers. Leave to themselves the Auspices of the Trends and the steadfast Prophets who compel themselves to a lather, decade upon decade, over the imminent collapse of the Republic. An adieu also to the tweeters and laptop voyeurs, otherwise known as “followers and friends.” And in the silence thereby gained, discover clearness of mind and be candid: we are in the infancy of the species and prone to orbiting the self, filling the human world with so much stuff and nonsense.
It is a misfortune that many will never know the pleasure of mere, disinterested being. The curse of our time is busyness. To imagine the world one thousand years ago, or a thousand years hence— in other words, to imagine a world without oneself in it — is the beginning of wisdom. Meanwhile, the rain arrives from a vast indifferent sky, as it has done for billions of years. As it will do one thousand thousands from now ….