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06/21/2005 Archived Entry: "Humans aren't made to multitask"

HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT MADE TO "MULTITASK." So indicate several recent studies. And it's not just about whether we can safely drive and talk on a cellphone at the same time. It's about whether we do our best as human beings.

Mystery Woman sent this link after reading yesterday's post on "How to be Idle." Like a lot of us, all my conditioning says "do, do, do." But the more seriously I delve into the virtues of idleness, the more I realize how much went wrong when we surrendered the ideal of leisure for the rather less pleasant ideals of "the work ethic" and "productivity."

What the hell did we let ourselves be talked into? The work ethic initially may lead to greater prosperity. But ultimately, it seems to lead to nothing but a more frantic work ethic ... which spills over into an ethic that says that even our play and our family activities must be carried out with a terrible intensity of pace and purpose. We work at everything as though we're convinced the whole world (espcially the economic world) will collapse under our feet if we stop.

Then, already exhausted, we discover that pleasurable idleness itself becomes hard work -- largely because of all the internal and external barriers we have to break through to find that sort of simplicity again.

Posted by Claire @ 01:45 PM CST

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