Yesterday I was picking up some keys at work and found myself listening to what I assumed to be some kind of motivational talk on the radio, or on tape, whatever, playing away in the office. I only caught a few seconds of it, fortunately, a strident voice booming out that it really wasn't necessary to sleep, that you needed to keep working all the time to stay in front - that kind of nonsense. I found myself half laughing at it, and half quite irritated that someone was getting away with peddling this dangerous nonsense.
It came into my mind again this morning when I decided to do precisely nothing before noon, despite having a fair few things I could have been getting on with. It was obvious to me that I'd been overloaded for the last few days, not with physical work but with the kind of data overload that fries the brain. I knew that even the slightest effort made to keep going with this kind of stuff was going to be deeply self-defeating. I spent a gloriously indolent three hours or so doing nothing more than lying on the floor, listening to music I knew well enough to hardly have to listen at all. (Yet, strangely, I seemed to listen hard, almost as if I was hearing it for the first time.)
By afternoon I was functioning again and feeling if not exactly fresh then by no means particularly jaded.
We've lost the wisdom to understand that when we think we're doing nothing we aren't. Something is being done to us, and it's something we need, something we can't do without.