in praise of idleness

“First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first,
altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface
relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to
do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is
pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of
indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders,
but those who give advice as to what orders should be given.
Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by
two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill
required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects
as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of
persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising.”

– Bertrand Russell, from In Praise of Idleness [1932].


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