The Post-Millenial Creed
My father was a practical man, a manager, and largely devoid of religious convictions. One summer, sitting under an apple tree in Devon, in meandering conversation about life and work and society, he came out with an extraordinary statement, the first and most telling part of which I still vividly recall:
Look, it's quite simple. First you need the basic necessities - food and shelter. But that takes next to no time. After that there are the good things in life. Some people like music, or art, or fine wines and cuisine, or they enjoy playing golf.... (B.K.Davis)
What was extraordinary to me was that he believed that the basic necessities of life could be had with minimal effort, in "next to no time". Translated into the terms of Idle theory, my father was saying that human idleness approximated to unity, and that life was really all about enjoying "the good things in life". Translated into Christian terminology, my father was saying that the Kingdom of God had come, that we were living in the Millennium, and not in the dark toilsome ages preceding it.
The idea that some people might believe such a thing had occured to me some time before, as an explanation of neo-classical economic theory. In that theory, elaborated over a century or more, humans were regarded as wanting things, the purchase and consumption of which afforded them 'pleasure'. The world, according that economic theory, was a playground full of thrill-seekers. I was inclined to dismiss it as a fiction entertained by unworldly academics, until my father, who was no sort of academic or intellectual, bluntly expressed exactly the same view of human life.
Author: Chris Davis
Last edited: 19 June 1998