“On Doing Nothing” is an essay by J.B.Priestley debating over the idea of work and relaxation. He talks of the idea of unwinding oneself and the benefits we would enjoy from doing nothing. He, thus, stresses on the idea of doing nothing and spending time in leisurely activities which is as necessary and beneficial to human life as work. The life of man is fraught with work and all of us are involved in that rat race directly or indirectly. Such a life is necessary and can also make us prosperous. But it isn’t the be all and the end all of all matters. There, thus exists a world outside work-the world of leisurely activities and past times. We are all to spend sometimes consciously in such matters. Nature is beautiful and it, not only soothes the mind, but also a teacher and a nourisher. Nature only regains our mental health and achieves a position where we can work better and more efficiently.
However, the irony is that not many people realize this value. They spend most of their lives at break-neck speed and pass away without even looking at nature. The author does not conform to such an idea of life. However, the author does not instruct us against work. Work is important and necessary and absolute, no work would only mean laziness couple with aimlessness. He only wants us to blend our work with the perfect mixture of rest and pastimes. These things done in moderation only helps us to perform better. Thus, we should make conscious efforts to enjoy nature and relax. It is only then, that, our lives become a complete circle.
This is the reason why he enjoys his outing with his artist friend at Yorkshire Falls. Such communion with nature helps him to retain his sanity intact. On the other hand, he denounces the likes of Mr. Gordon Selfridge who curse the waste of time. Such people work only for profit motives and in reality miss out a considerable portion of life. The tragedy, however, is that many of us don’t’ even realize the value of past times. This makes the author suggest instances in our history, who would uphold the author’s notion of life and its’ value. Thus, William Wordsworth would only be happy to vouch for such a kind of life. Priestley goes on to say that a devil is usually busiest being and majority of the world’s fuss is created by overwork and impatience. A break from the usual, monotonous and humdrum affairs of life only helps us to avoid such irritation. In short, the author tries to hold before us a way of life and its’ intrinsic value. There is more to life than just working ceaselessly. Work and leisure, if blended properly not only helps us to go a long way, but also in a better and more fruitful way.