FROM STOP-GO TO STOP-THINK

You may have muttered it yourself today.

‘Never enough time to think’?

Organisations of all shapes and sizes report staff experiencing being ….overwhelmed. With not enough time to think, decisions and actions are made and taken on the hoof. The emphasis is on ‘just get things done’. Soon, those who ‘just do’ are valued over those who ask questions. The driving force is all about efficiency, completion, and moving on.

There’s another force around ‘no time to think’ that we never talk about.

A moral one.

In the May/June edition of ‘The Idler’, Andrew Smart reminds us of one of the many benefits of idleness by re-introducing the work of Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), a political theorist and philosopher who was particularly interested in the relationship of ‘thought’ to totalitarianism and freedom.

In her book ‘The Life of The Mind’, she explored the idea that stopping to think (avoiding thought-less-ness) was an activity of positive moral good.

Andrew Smart summarises her argument:

Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional standardised codes of expression and conduct protect us from reality. True engagement with the world, and morality, requires that we stop to think’.

The woman who for ever will be associated with the phrase ‘the banality of evil’ in the public consciousness suggests that the ability to stop, observe, become a spectator, and think can condition us not to do wrong.

It makes you see ‘protected me-time’ in a totally new light, doesn’t it?

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