Of the retiring sort?

There is an idea that when people reach retiring age they collapse unless they have plenty of hobbies and are tremendously busy. In Sweden -- I think it is Sweden but it may be Denmark (or even Norway: but definitely not the Congo) working people can take courses on how to fill their retiring years to the brim with useful and absorbing pursuits, learning gardening, carpentering, photography, etc., so that when the fateful day comes they will be ready to plunge into their retirement armed with every sort of time-consuming activity. In fact the notion behind the scheme is that when a man is thanked off with a handshake and a clock he will never be happy unless he knows how to take the clock to pieces and put it together again.

Basically, and certainly for most men, this is a very sound idea, for one has seen many a poor soul, suddenly forbidden to go to work, wilt in the unaccustomed leisure. On the other hand there are some people, and I am one of them, who positively revel at being out of the swim, who actually enjoy feeling the reins slipping from their fingers. In the West we always equate living with doingm something, and if we are not earning our livings then we must be ungainfully employed; otherwise we're well on the way to being dead.

In the remoter parts of the globe this silly idea doesn't pertain at all, and people work just hard enough to supply themselves with food and a cow, and then they stop and lean against a tree and live by breathing. Perhaps if you have been running a factory, or even simply been running for the bus every day, it is difficult to cry halt to everything and take to sitting on a deck chair in the garden picking your teeth.

But let me remind you of what it says in Ecclesiasticus: "The wisdom of a learned man cometh by opportunity of leisure; and he that hath little business shall become wise." There is no reason I can see why retired people should not devote their spare time to thinking.m Instead of us all going to classes to learn Spanish, pottery, quilt-making and the piano, we could be pondering the mutability of earthly greatness and exuding waves of wisdom for other m people to act upon. Is not this the perfect cure for unemployment?

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