In Defense of Doing Nothing

Our contemporary practices of glorifying productivity—our do-what-you-love ethos, the flood of self-help writing aimed at creating the appearance and the performance of never-ending work—shame idleness, attach a sort of divine purity to hustle, and raise questions about what leisure even is and who deserves it. This subtle, sleek commodification of experience in the name of some version of “living your best life” is not new; what has, over the last several years, become a cultural impetus to hustle is also built into decades-old political language. Even as we find new expressions of this drive toward ceaseless work, they still manage to feel familiar.