It is not a single cowardice that drives us into fiction's fantasies. We often fear that literature is a game we can't afford to play — the product of idleness and immoral ease. In the grip of that feeling it isn't life we pursue, but the point and purpose of life — its facility, its use.
It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to work, it facinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.
Why is it a man can never seem to buckle down and train himself to indolence and stupidity when he can see what sanctuary they offer from toil and pain?
I saw myself as reviving a certain mode of life, a mode that had been almost lost: the contemplative life of the country gentleman, in harmony with his status and history. In Renaissance times they had called it sprezzatura. The idea was to do whatever one did with grace, to imbue one’s every action with beauty, while at the same time making it look quite effortless. Thus, if one were to work at, say, law, one should raise it to the level of an art; if one were to laze, then one must laze beautifully. This, they said, was the true meaning of being an aristocrat.
Any church that is overly emphasizing the role of miracles is encouraging his members to be indolent.
The secret of the whole matter is that a habit is not the mere tendency to repeat a certain act, nor is it established by the mere repetition of the act. Habit is a fixed tendency to react or respond in a certain way to a given stimulus; and the formation of habit always involves the two elements, the stimulus and the response or reaction. The indolent lad goes to school not in response to any stimulus in the school itself, but to the pressure of his father's will; when that stimulus is absent, the reaction as a matter of course does not occur.