MINOR LAPSESThe new way of doing nothing.

MINOR LAPSESThe new way of doing nothing.

Issue 49

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Arts & Culture

  • Words Asher Ross
  • Photograph Andoni Beristain

Most people find it hard to do nothing. Which is not to say we have trouble finding idle distractions. We’re quite good at that. Scroll through our feeds? Sure. Hang around the house with a friend? Easy. But the idea of doing truly nothing seems impossible. Sitting alone, motionless, with no distraction. It’s nearly distressing. 

Unless you’re Dutch. In that case, you may know all about niksen—the act of doing nothing at all. The word transliterates roughly as “nothing-doing,” and in practice, means actively deciding to sit and surrender the rudder of your mind. It should not be confused with meditation, which is a disciplined journey into the self. The point of niksen is to forgo mental discipline altogether. To give the mind a stretch.  

If you’ve ever been exhausted b...

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