Friday, December 25, 2009

The Art of Loafering

During my school days I read a book "Art of Living" translated from Chinese, it was by the author Lin Yutang (1895 – 1976) a Chinese writer/philosopher. One of the chapters in that book was on the "art of loafering". Loafering is a rough translation from Chinese meaning just wander around aimlessly. Lin Yutang says that we are too accustomed to "objective this and objective that" or "goal this and goal that" in life. He suggests just leave your familiar environment and go in an environment where no one knows you and wander around aimlessly without any "objective" or "goal".

Since I read that book many years ago I have been practicing the art of loafering. This year, of course, it was a few days before Christmas. I went into a community where no one knows me. I wandered around all over the place – on the streets and malls and stores. One thing which struck me was the holiday spirit and generosity of people. Whether I stopped somewhere for a coffee, breakfast, lunch or supper, people made extra effort to be nice which is not the case year around. Even the hotel people made extra effort to make sure that I felt comfortable and that all my needs were well looked after.

I went to a grocery store and saw this lady wearing a Santa hat. So I asked her that if she was Santa, then my wish was that I get the Christmas cake free. She laughed and it was fun even though I did not get the cake and I did not want it anyway.

What I learned from this experience is that religion plays a very important role in people's lives and quite often tames that beast in humans and makes them more moral. It is billions and billions of people around the world. If you take religion away from their lives there will be a complete chaos. Life is much more pleasant with religious beliefs (minus the fanatics of course).

If we can rid the world of fanatics like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ladens, then religion will not be such a bad influence. Quite frankly I consider Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld worse than Laden even. Bin Laden is alleged to have masterminded 9/11 and killed 3000 innocent people. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and associates are responsible for the killing of millions of innocent men, women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention American troops sent in harms way in the first place. Also, over 40,000 US causalities and over 5000 young men were killed in these wars and thousands more psychologically injured for the rest of their lives. We should use a uniform standard for all these beasts and keep them in a cage. Once we do that the world can be a better place and religion in its true spirit does provide good guidance to live a productive and useful life.

In the picture, it is an actual quote from Lin Yutang.

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  1. I have lived my life in this manner but I did not know I was actually loafering.

  2. Now you know that you lived a good life. :)

  3. Regarding this quote. We know instinctively how to wile away any afternoon pleasantly do we not?

    It is once we start to "grow up" and go to day care or whatever mind numbing social conditioning institutions that we forget our natural state of "being".

    And dang, I need my naps!