An overworked society is to blame for the scarceness of creativity and unpleasantness in society?

The pleasures of urban populations have become mainly passive: seeing
cinemas, watching football matches, listening to the radio, and so on.
This results from the fact that their active energies are fully taken
up with work; if they had more leisure, they would again enjoy
pleasures in which they took an active part, such as more creative pleasures.

It is in times of leisure that true creativity and creative thought is unleashed. Without the leisure class, mankind would never have emerged from barbarism. If Darwin didn’t have hours to think about his theories, he wouldn’t have come up with the theory of evolution.  [Darwin, after going round the world, spent the whole of the rest of his life in his own house.] At present, the universities are supposed to provide, in a more
systematic way, what the leisure class provided accidentally and as a
by-product… However university studies are organized, and the man who thinks of some
original line of research is likely to be discouraged. Academic
institutions, therefore, useful as they are, are not adequate guardians
of the interests of civilization in a world where everyone outside
their walls is too busy for unutilitarian pursuits.

If there was more time for leisure, every person possessed of scientific curiosity will be able to indulge
it, and every painter will be able to paint without starving, however
excellent his pictures may be.

If given more leisure time, at least one per cent of people will probably devote the time not spent in
professional work to pursuits of some public importance, and, since
they will not depend upon these pursuits for their livelihood, their
originality will be unhampered, and there will be no need to conform to
the standards set by elderly pundits.

Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and
security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some
and starvation for others. Hitherto we have continued to be as
energetic as we were before there were machines. Leisure time also breeds good naturedness. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs
most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life
of arduous struggle.

Source: In Praise of Idleness: By Bertrand Russell 1932
(Thanks Alex)


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