Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Idleness

"Idleness is the hot-bed of temptation, the cradle of disease, the waster of time, the canker-worm of felicity. To him that has no employment, life in a little while will have no novelty; and when novelty is laid in the grave, the funeral of comfort will soon follow." - Richard Baxter

"Idleness is the canker of the mind." - John Bodenham

"Whatever study tends neither directly nor indirectly to make us better men and citizens is at best a specious an ingenious sort of idleness; and the knowledge we acquire by it only a credible kind of ignorance, nothing more." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"Mindfulness should be strong everywhere, for mindfulness keeps the mind away from distraction, into which it might fall, since faith, energy and understanding partake of the nature of distraction: and away from idleness, into which it might fall, since concentration partakes of the nature of idleness." - Bhadantācariya Buddhaghoṣa

"Love is the business of the idle, but the idleness of the busy." -

"Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness — its opposite — never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"Idleness is an inlet to disorder, and makes way for licentiousness. People that have nothing to do are quickly tired of their own company." - Jeremy Collier

"Watch, for the idleness of the soul approaches death." - Demophilus NULL

"The taxes were indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abatement." - Benjamin Franklin

"Purity of mind and idleness are incompatible." -

"Ennui is the rust of the mind born of idleness. It is unused tools that corrode." - Madame Émile de Girardin, Delphine de Girardin, née Gay

"Idleness leads first to boredom, then to sin." - Aaron Ha-Levi

"Observe a method in the distribution of your time. Every hour will then know its proper employment, and no time will be lost. Idleness will be shut out at every avenue, and with her that numerous body of vices that make up her train." - George Horne

"The happy people are those who are producing something; the bored people are those who are consuming much and producing nothing. Boredom is a certain sign that we are allowing our faculties to rust in idleness. When people are bored, they generally look about for a new pleasure, or take a holiday. There is no greater mistake: what they want is some hard piece of work, some productive drudgery. Doctors are fond of sending their fashionable patients to take a rest cure. In nine cases out of ten a work cure would do them far more good." - William Ralph Inge

"Grief is a species of idleness." -

"Idleness is ever the root of indecision." - Lucan, full name Marcus Annaeus Lucanus NULL

"Idleness is the parent of all psychology." -

"Idleness is the mistress of wanton appetites, and fortress of lust's gate." - John Northbrooke

"An empty mind is little different from an empty house. It, too, soon decays. Just as muscles die when not used, so the brain is weakened through idleness. It needs relaxation and entertainment. But it also needs exercise. It needs and must have work, or it will wither. It must be lived in." - Alden C. Palmer

"Whatever study tends neither directly nor indirectly to make us better men and citizens is at best but a specious and ingenious sort of idleness, and the knowledge we acquire by it only a creditable kind of ignorance, nothing more." - Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"Idleness is the stupidity of the body, and stupidity is the idleness of the mind." - Johann Gottfried Seume

"If idleness do not produce vice or malevolence, it commonly produces melancholy." - Sydney Smith

"Idleness is the burial of a living man." - Jeremy Taylor

"Idleness the parent of all vice." - William Wager

"There are pauses amidst study, and even pauses of seeming idleness, in which a process goes on which may be likened to the digestion of food. In those seasons of repose, the powers are gathering their strength for new efforts; as land which lies fallow recovers itself for tillage." - James Waddel Alexander

"Idleness teaches much mischief." - Apocrypha NULL

"Debt is the secret foe of thrift, as vice and idleness are its open enemies." - John H. Aughey, fully John Hill Aughey

"Idleness is a constant sin, and labor is a duty. Idleness is the devil's home for temptation and for unprofitable, distracting musings; while labor profiteth others and ourselves." - Anne Baxter

"Idleness is the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil chiefly reposes, and a great cause not only of melancholy, but of many other diseases; for the mind is naturally active; and if it be not occupied about some honest business, it rushes into mischief or sinks into melancholy." - Richard Francis Burton, fully Sir Richard Francis Burton

"Bewail lost time far more than gold in store. ‘For chattels lost may yet recovered be, but time lost ruins us for aye, says he. It will not come again, once it has fled... Let’s not grow moldy thus in idleness." - Geoffrey Chaucer

"Wine is the source of the greatest evils among communities. It causes diseases, quarrels, seditions, idleness, aversion to labor, and family disorders... It is s species of poison that causes madness. It does not make a man die, but it degrades him into a brute. Men may preserve their health and vigor without wine; with wine they run the risk of ruining their health and losing their morals." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind. Thinking without constructive action becomes a disease." - Henry Ford

"Idleness leads to idiocy." -

"What a convenient and delightful world is this world of books! - if you bring to it not the obligation of the student, or look upon it as an opiate for idleness, but enter it rather with the enthusiasm of the adventurer!" -

"They change their sky not their mind who cross the sea. A busy idleness possesses us: we seek a happy life, with ships and carriages: the object of our search is present with us." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." - Jerome K. Jerome, fully Jerome Klapka Jerome

"To be idle and to be poor have always been reproaches; and therefore every man endeavors with his utmost care to hide his poverty fro mothers, and his idleness from himself." -

"Idleness is fatal." -

"If at any time all labor should cease, and all existing provision be equally divided among the people, at the end of a single year there could scarcely be one human being left alive - all would have perished by want of subsistence... Universal idleness would speedily result in universal ruin; and ... useless labor is, in this respect, the same as idleness." - Abraham Lincoln

"It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property all work will cease and universal laziness will overtake us. According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything do not work." - Karl Marx (1818-1883) German Philosopher, Socialist and Friedrich Engels

"Equality is one of the most consummate scoundrels that ever crept from the brain of a political juggler - a fellow who thrusts his hand into the pocket of honest industry or enterprising talent, and squanders their hard-earned profits on profligate idleness or indolent stupidity." - James Kirke Paulding

"Idleness and the incapacity for leisure correspond with one another; leisure is the contrary of both. Leisure is only possible to a man who is at one with himself and also at one with the world. These are the presuppositions of leisure, for leisure is an affirmation. Idleness, on the other hand, is rooted in the omission of these two affirmations." - John Piper, fully John Stephen Piper

"The great inequality in manner of living, the extreme idleness of some, and the excessive labor of others, the easiness of exciting and gratifying our sensual appetites, the too exquisite foods of the wealthy which overheat and fill them with indigestion, and, on the other hand, the unwholesome food of the poor, often, bad as it is, insufficient for their needs, which induces them, when opportunity offers, to eat voraciously and overcharge their stomachs; all these, together with sitting up late, and excesses of every kind, immoderate transports of every passion, fatigue, mental exhaustion, the innumerable pains and anxieties inseparable from every condition of life, by which the mind of man is incessantly tormented; these are too fatal proofs that the greater part of our ills are our own making, and that we might have avoided them nearly all by adhering to that simple, uniform and solitary manner of life which nature prescribed." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Nothing is so certain as that the evils of idleness can be shaken off by hard work." -

"National progress is the sum of individual industry, energy, and uprightness, as national decay is of individual idleness, selfishness, and vice." - Samuel Smiles

"Idleness is the enemy of the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to be employed in manual labor at certain times, at others, in devout reading. " - Benedict of Nursia, aka Saint Benedict of Nursia NULL

"Idleness is the root of all evil." - George Farquhar

"I cannot believe that the life eternal is one endless idleness. If it were endless duration only, it would be endless boredom and scarcely willed by God. What we may be given to do in the next life we cannot say, and with so many forms of work in this life related to physical existence, it is useless to speculate. But if there is a fellowship of persons, God will give us tasks for their enrichment." - Georgia Harkness