Feet up on the stove

“If the prophets of automation and cybernation are right, leisure, not labor, is going to be the normal condition of man. Men will become philosophers, artists, and poets just to stay sane: Contemplation will be the only defense against drowning in our own spare time. Even now, the doctrine of justification by work is difficult to defend. Jobs are shorter and more boring than they used to be. It’s hard to believe that five hours a day of button-pushing and paper-shuffling are the heart and soul of human existence. Heaven help us, then, in the bright new day of the guaranteed income and the twenty-hour week. The grim old religion of salvation by rushing will go bankrupt altogether, and we shall go straight out of our minds – unless we learn to sit still.

“The habit of contemplation, therefore – the ability to sit down in front of something and care enough to let it speak for itself – cannot be acquired soon enough. Accordingly, I invite you, too, to put your feet up on the stove. If some true believer in the gospel of haste comes along and asks us why we are wasting time, we shall tell him we are busy getting the seats of our pants properly shined up for the millennium.”

-Robert Farrar Capon in The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (1967), p.68

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