September 20, 2016

"'The world,' we read in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip, 'came about through a mistake.'"

"The demiurge who made it 'wanted to create it imperishable and immortal,' but eventually he 'fell short of attaining his desire, for the world never was imperishable, nor, for that matter, was he who made the world.' The Gnostics believed nonexistence to be a mark of perfection, and coming into being a form of degradation."

From "Why Do Anything? A Meditation on Procrastination."

Yes, I know... why click on anything?

The essay is at the NYT, where the 3rd-highest-rated comment is:
So Costica Bradatan penned about 20 abstruse paragraphs to basically say the following: Don't let perfection be the enemy of good. Also, it's OK to chill sometimes.
I thought it was worth reading though — for the bit from the Gnostic Bible that I quoted and also for the story of the unbuilt mosque in the first 3 paragraphs and for paragraphs 12-14 which are about idleness before the subject becomes procrastination. The author seems to view procrastination as an interesting — more accessible? — subcategory of idleness, but I was annoyed for the shift to the more quotidian and less sublime.

I'm adding an "idleness" tag to the blog to increase the accessibility of the subject, which is one of my very favorites and the subject of 2 books I especially love.


rhhardin said...

Check out Levinas Existence and Existents, for hitting the nail on the head in the idleness and boredom cluster. There are pdf's around but it's nice to have the small book.

traditionalguy said...

Gnostic gospels are the original poison skittles mixed into the bowl.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

traditionalguy said...

Gnostic gospels are the original poison skittles mixed into the bowl.

The original was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

What sick bastard decided to put that in the Garden of Eden?

William said...

I want to lay back and relax, but there's just too much to do okay. Tomorrow, I'll be able to take it easy. If not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow for sure.

Ron said...

Idleness is the nice base metal. Sloth is the primer coat of faux guilt on top of that and procrastination is the shiny gloss coat of rationalizations on top of THAT! Maybe two coats!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Why Do Anything?

Because, while better than nothing is a high standard, it is not that high, and there are plenty of activities that pass the test.

There's the old adage that nobody, lying on their deathbed, wishes that they had spent more time at work. I'd say nobody, lying on their deathbed, wishes that they had done less with their life.

Paddy O said...

Adam and Eve had a delightful garden to lounge about in all the eternity long. But they were in a hurry and wanted to know everything right away. You don't need to wait for God, the serpent says. Go for it! Now!

So they did. They weren't ready. They were disobedient, sacrificing relationship for expediency.

Or so the story goes. Impatience is the devil's workbench.

Roughcoat said...

The fruit of the Tree of Life was laced with LSD.

Christy said...

Pray, what are those two books you especially love?

sykes.1 said...

The Christian Bible was not codified by a Church Council until the late 4th early 5th Centuries. By that time, much of Christian doctrine had been settled, and the books chosen for inclusion in the Bible were selected to support those doctrines. The Gnostic Gospels were explicitly rejected because they did not conform to established doctrine. They have intrinsic historical interest as indicating the range of speculation among early (and present, if you count Mormons, Christian Scientists, Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists, et al.) Christians. They don't have much to say about mainstream Christian thought.

Yoou might like Harold Bloom's "The American Religion," Touchstone (Simon & Schuster), New York, 1992. Bloom is a Jewish Gnostic.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I saw something the other day about procrastination that I have taken to heart.

"I'm not procrastinating.
I'm delegating tasks to my future self."


Roy Lofquist said...

I was an amateur crastinator but I turned pro many years ago.

Paul Snively said...

If you're interested in Gnostic religious texts (among others from the early near-east), don't miss The Other Bible.

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