Welcome to “the new busy”

The idea of busyness is being reinvented, a ‘new busy’ for a new generation, so writes John Naish in last Saturday’s edition of The Times:

The launch of Microsoft’s latest global ad campaign for brazenly rebrands the modern, harried life. Firing off e-mails in your leisure time isn’t a sign of a stressed lifestyle. This sort of multitasking is, according to Microsoft’s wisdom, “The New Busy”.
’We are redefining busy because we know that having a full calendar means having a full life,” states the company blurb for Windows Live Hotmail. “It’s about people who lead big, busy lives and love every minute of it. The ‘new busy’ make beavers look lazy. When you can take your desk with you, the world is your workspace.” Perpetual busyness is becoming a badge of pride.
Our cultural icons are no longer the leisured rich, but the super-active. Madonna’s public life is an ever-shifting carnival of new hobbies, from extreme aerobics to knitting to kabbalah.
Even relaxation has become hardcore, with the rise of hot yoga and one-minute meditation classes.
But do we really need to mourn the death of leisure? According to the experts, there is much to suggest that whirling busyness can benefit our health and morale.
Being busy is becoming our comfort mode, Rachel Lawes, a London-based futurologist, suggests. “People are moving from ‘sitting back’ activities to ones that are ‘sitting forwards’,” she says. “People think that they have got something worthwhile to do and worthwhile to say.”

Read the full article at the TimesOnline website here.

7 thoughts on “Welcome to “the new busy”

  1. Ann van Wijgerden

    My first reaction to the above was "Ahh, help!! Lord have mercy!" (etc.) The last paragraph of the full article is very ‘telling’, I think:"The thing that we are growing to fear most is the vast, depthless boredom of silent inactivity. Empty hours may be the haven of spiritual adepts, aesthetics and philosophers, but for the modern-minded denizens of our high-shriek, attention-deficit society, they are a new-built circle of existential hell."

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  2. Martin Luff

    Ann, you have hit the nail on the head – and it’s a frightening development. Our youth won’t read because they say it’s boring – and yet they need to be constantly entertained – headphones on all the time, TV, Facebook, video gaming……I don’t think we can change it that easily – so what is taxing me at the moment is how do we disciple young people though it?

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  3. Steve Davies

    I’m certainly challenged about how to make space in my life to sit at the feet of Jesus as Mary did when I’m faced with a long list of worthy tasks to be done!

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  4. Martin Luff

    @Ann – yeah, that post by Mark Sayers was excellent – and very astute I thought! Existential before experiential – absolutely!@Steve – absolutely, you know I’m with you there, bro. Interesting point the article above is making though is that younger people today are more comfortable with busyness that we are – we want to just find space to be quiet and still – which is the last thing our youth want – they thrive on activity and get agitated if they run out of things to do…….The question then is, how do they find God? Because He so often speaks to us in the silence of sanctuary……

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  5. Bob

    "The question then is, how do they find God? Because He so often speaks to us in the silence of sanctuary"but if people find God, they might not kneel before Bill Gatesthat’s not a joke or sarcasm, I’m dead serious

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  6. Martin Luff

    Good point, Bob.Does busyness actually stop contemporary youth from finding God?Author and speaker Fred Smith says that "busyness is the new spirituality" – if that is the case, then who is (are) the new god(s) and what is the new church?Is busyness actually the root of a new ‘religion’ in our contemporary culture? And how do we break into it with the truth of the gospel?

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