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Mindful : December 2018
This slight, thoughtful text lauds “wasting” time from many angles: contemplation, creativity, divergent think- ing, and enduring happiness. These qualities, Lightman asserts, are not trademarks of rare genius, but “habits of mind.” Even better, we’re already practicing them when- ever we rest, play, or meditate. (As a nostalgic example, he conjures an afternoon spent gazing into a tadpole pond and wondering, not Googling, about the world.) He suggests Western culture could benefit from reappraising where we waste our time. Untethering once in a while from soci- ety’s hyperconnected, often counterproductive “grid” of distractions, we can simply be present, letting ourselves idle. IN PRAISE OF WASTING TIME Alan Lightman • Simon and Schuster “Mental downtime is having the space and freedom to wander about the vast hallways of memory and contemplate who we are.” Ever gone into a store and bought something just so you could use the bathroom, been told a bathroom is for Employees Only, frantically searched for a place to go (perhaps, ugh, in vain), or waited in an interminable line at the ladies’ loo? Here’s a strong and thoroughly researched case for how mindless our societies are when it comes to one of life’s universal needs. With an aging population, gen- der fluidity, and shrinking infrastructure budgets, this problem is not going away. Here’s a chance to learn how we got here and what some brave and bright souls are doing about it. NO PLACE TO GO How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs Lezlie Lowe • Coach House Books December 2018 mindful 75 reviews