The Preoccupied Mind



It is the mind which is tranquil and free from care which can roam through all the stages of its life: the minds of the preoccupied, as if harnessed in a yoke, cannot turn round and look behind them.

So their lives vanish into an abyss; and just as it is no use pouring any amount of liquid into a container without a bottom to catch and hold it, so it does not matter how much time we are given if there is nowhere for it to settle; it escapes through the cracks and holes of the mind.

And so the preoccupied are concerned only with the present, and it is so short that it cannot be grasped, and even this is stolen from them while they are involved in their many distractions.

[Seneca]
On the Shortness of Life, p.16




Has it been observed to what extent a genuine religious life […] requires external leisure or semi-leisure, I mean leisure with a good conscience, inherited, by blood, which is not altogether unfamiliar with the aristocratic idea that work degrades - that is to say, makes soul and body common? 

And that consequently modern, noisy, time-consuming, proud and stupidly proud industriousness educates and prepares precisely for ‘unbelief' more than anything else does? 

Among those in Germany for example who nowadays live without religion, I find people whose 'free-thinking’ is of differing kinds and origins but above all a majority of those in whom industriousness from generation to generation has extinguished the religious instincts: so that they no longer bare any idea what religions are supposed to be for and as it were merely register their existence in the world with a kind of dumb amazement. 

They feel they are already fully occupied, these worthy people, whether with their businesses or with their pleasures, not to speak of the 'fatherland and the newspapers and ‘family duties’: it seems that they have no time at all left for religion […]

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
Beyond Good and Evil, 58



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