Idle Hands are the Devil’s…

Ambrose Bierce defines “Idleness” as “A model farm where the devil experiments with seeds of new sins and promotes the growth of staple vices”. How does the devil experiment with the creation of “new sins” while we are immersed in the pleasures of our “free time?” Another way to come at the question would be: To what worthy ends do we pursue idleness? The problem with “idleness” is that the more time you spend being idle, the better you become at it and the more you crave it. Hence, it is the perfect breeding ground for the perpetuation of “staple vices.” It is a distraction from work that ought to be done. Oddly, it seems to be this idleness that we crave. To push oneself to the edge of one’s limits through hard labor and suffering is not looked upon as being a good thing. We want the results without the effort. Imagine that you want to learn a foreign language, but before committing to an afternoon of serious study, you decide to watch television. It is a decision like this that promotes the growth of staple vices. Once the seed of a habit is planted, it will grow, it will creep up on you from the inside and overtake you. Can you see the connection between idleness and habits? How about idleness and mediocrity?

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