Thursday, March 06, 2014


The Grimy Gospel of Labor

E.M. Martin (pseudonym of Edith Lister [1867-1938]), Wayside Wisdom: A Book for Quiet People (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1909), p. 237:
It was thought in those far-away days that quiet meant peace, and that peace was only another and perhaps a more beautiful name for happiness. Now we look at life differently, and, summed up briefly, our ideal of happiness is noise, crowds and constant movement. Only the invalid and the imbecile may take their fill of ease; the rest of us must hurry along the road doing something, no matter how well or how ill, if only so be we are up and doing. Moreover, we must work, as the convicts do, in company, and in full sight of an approving or a disapproving world; because those who live alone and work alone, learn to think alone, and this is a high crime in our active bustling age. But have we not lost, too, the very habit of thinking? for thought needs silence, solitude and leisure; all the conditions of life we have learned to despise, all that is forbidden in the grimy gospel of labour.
Hat tip: Andrew Rickard.

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