A trip down forest paths


How had I not heard of this Latin word for leisure both idle and productive?

I am prone to otium otiosum at times; unoccupied or idle leisure that might be thought of as wasted time. Much of my reading, video game playing, and social media falls under that general heading even if I am a fairly strong believer in the idea that time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. I strive for otium negotiosum, the busy leisure of hobbies, managing your affairs well, and such activities, but I don’t always reach it. I’ll let the readers decide which form this blog is!

Like many concepts it is easy to make connections although it is unclear how deep they really are. When I first heard of the concept my thoughts went to the fact that one of the best decisions we ever made as a family was that we would do our best to make it work with only one salary. There is much work that needs to be done in a household and having one person able to do that work as their effective job freed both of us up to our affairs well. Like many choices it had risk and opportunity costs but also reduced stress and allowed both of us to have a measure of leisure (both me time and us time in more modern terms) that we would not have had.

More generally it is neat to see that the upper class Romans had a concept that maps fairly well to the idea of vanaprastha that I have mentioned before. My guess is that the Romans would have thought of retiring to a well run farm or house in the city not a forest dwelling but the idea of time for contemplation, personal development, and service seems to be similar.

#forestpaths #David #ramblings