The Right to be Lazy

The Right to be Lazy

What the Lord did on the eighth day the Bible does not state; it is permitted to speculate that He continued to rest and, for all that the last million years’ record shows, never returned to the hectic working spree of the first six days. And when, after another million years, He will be sitting gloriously on His throne, with angels leisurely winging around Him, He will behold His arrangement with satisfaction and say: All is as it should be. By definition, anyone who can offer Himself such a long vacation must be God; by the same token, the lesser breeds are eating their bread in the sweat of their brow. He will muse upon the sorry fate of the Devil, busily running the world, rushing hither and thither to aggrandize his little kingdom and really leading one hell of an existence. And He will take pity on the damned—Sisyphus rolling his stone up hill, Tantalus hopping for his apples, the Danaides pouring water into the bottomless barrel.

For it’s labor that is Hell and leisure that is Paradise. Mankind knew that even when it was very young. We never got over that first and most effective of all curses which was the punishment for the first sin. The curse has worked well indeed; we still think it’s a sin to revive that blissful state which existed before the Fall. But the wisdom of the peoples has never forgotten; it imagines Heaven as the absence of pain and effort; it exalts royalty (“The king was in the counting house. . “) as representatives of the gods on earth—clearly because leisure is the measure of distinction and pleasure is divine.

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Lima