Quotes, Self, Spirituality

Willian James Regarding Vacations

Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not.

~William James

I suspect James was onto something there.   A long vacation can disconcert us in so far as it might force us to confront the fact that we are neither our occupations nor our routines, but something else perhaps.

It is easy enough to say such a thing, but until we chance to take a long vacation we do not actually see it.  We do not actually experience the fact we are not our occupations nor our routines, and so the fact does not become a part of us.

Perhaps vacations are necessary least we take ourselves too seriously.

6 thoughts on “Willian James Regarding Vacations”

  1. For my whole carreer I was blessed with 4 full weeks vacations . You can really get away from it all and really, really enjoy quality time with family and friends. You come back with a clearer mind and even if some work has piled up you can move mountains. One month vacations should be mandatory for everyone…and think of the jobs created in this period of heavy unemployment.


  2. It can happen that we are ‘our job’ etc. In this case any disconnection may cause pain. But we should fight this one-dimension life or self. So I agree with James, one should force himself/herself to vacation, something I though found hard to do in recent years.


  3. @ Man of Roma: That’s quite an interesting point that we can become our job, so to speak. I agree. It’s a frightening point too.

    @ Paul Costopolous: Sometimes I become extremely cynical — cynical enough to believe we have a system that discourages long vacations because long vacations would result in the destruction of the system. People would come back from their vacations with too much insight into how insensitive, spiritually stupid and unnecessarily ruthless their work was — then they would change their work. To prevent that from happening — that’s why our vacations are never really long enough. Yes, Paul, I can be that cynical. For at least 12 minutes at a time. But even so.


  4. That’s quite interesting, Querulous, because it’s sort of counter-intuitive, but I can see it. I can see it because the last month has been a sort of break from routine for me — but I really didn’t go very far from home. No long trips or anything.


  5. You know there was a time when I was so lost in illusions about my importance at the workplace that I could not take any vacation fearing things would fall to pieces. But once I was forced to be away for a couple of weeks and found that everything went on fine without me. Not the way I’d have done it but it was ok. No one missed me. Nothing stopped. I wasn’t Atlas holding it up. I needed that vacation to dispel the inflated sense of my importance in the larger scheme of things.


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