Mark Slouka gives praise to the qualities of being idle. He values the acts of thinking, taking time to wander, and contemplating all the actions we execute on a day to day basis. Even though society frowns upon idleness due to lack of “productivity”, Slouka believes that Idleness is necessary for psychological well-being and allowing us to feel whole.
The title itself references the story of a factory boss whose work caused him to go mad and later leave the work he was doing at the paint factory. Slouka critiques the business culture of America and states that America needs “a new class of individuals who ‘at any physical cost to themselves and others’ would ‘agree to quit working, to loaf, to refuse to be hurried or try to get on in the world'” (Slouka 63). He also mentions that to follow his advice would be considered “mad” and that “We’re all in the paint factory now.”
Idleness has always been human nature for me and has definitely played a huge role in my own spiritual and psychological development. While idleness has always often prevented me from being able to manage my priorities responsibly (like turning this brief in on time), I know that my personality, personal interests, and the intellectual conversations I’ve managed to have with others would’ve most likely never manifested itself. If it weren’t for idleness I most wouldn’t be on the academic track I’m on now. Questioning how our society works and pondering my reasons for being drawn to certain dominant preferences is what has lead me to my passion for sociology and studying social systems and social problems. Being that we live in a capitalistic society, it makes sense that idleness would be frowned upon as it does prevent consistent efficiency and can block certain people in power from making or maintaining a flow of money.
Depending on how you use idleness, I believe it can be a very effective force in disrupting or even contributing to the current system in place. For example, if you’re work a fairly uninteresting job and pondering life to the point where you’re distracted from your work, that can be a way of disrupting the flow of the system within business culture. Another example could be using idleness to come up with ideas that can eventually turn into a significant profit in the future and contributing to ideas of what capitalism has to offer. Either way you look at the two examples though, both would lead you right back into the system in the end.