We find it hard to do nothing. Even just sitting and doing nothing is difficult. There is something in us that makes us want to get up and do something. However, when we get older, then doing nothing, can become the order of the day. ‘Nothing’ can become your all day and night companion. Loneliness, is the consequence of ‘nothing’ stalking your life, day in, day out. Loneliness is a modern scourge of the mobile family-less modern senior citizen.
For those who are younger, it is difficult to comprehend this state of limbo, when the intolerance of sitting still is overtaken by the black void of ‘nothing’. When we are overtaken by a hopeless belief that we are not able to do anything, other than sit and stare. This becomes a way of life for many.
Of course, the absence of drive or aspiration in deprived societies,is the collective envelope of nothing. Nothing to do, nothing to aspire to do, nothing to learn, and nothing to see.
In our modern materialist community, we turn our collective backs on those who have lost the fear of doing nothing. They are almost universally seen as lazy or hopeless. Swathes of de-industrialised Britain have whole communities where nothing pervades their days. Sometimes, if motivation is absent, then the only thing to do is, anything! Even if it is destructive or socially distressing.
We talk of political will, of spreading enterprise, encouraging innovation, fiddling taxes up or down, supporting the welfare of the poorest and balancing the books. Yet there is little here that combats these swathes of ‘nothing’. Education is clearly crucial but not necessarily in the traditional sense. Social and individual aspiration is at the core of all successful people whether old folk or young kids. It seems to me that creating a positive antidote to the ‘nothing’ that pervades so much of our society is lacking.
This is not a soft option, a nice socialist ideal, no, it must become a central plank of any compassionate society. It must mean the spreading the net to capture all that wasted talent of the young and the elderly, in the voluntary as well as the commercial sector.
Instead of a community where the elderly sits alone with that enemy ‘Nothing’, or young people are going out to do mindless damage, we must fashion a community where instilling aspiration is the key, A key, that is an imperative we learn to turn.