Author W. Somerset Maugham Reading | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

Author W. Somerset Maugham Reading | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

A Case for Otium

It is better to lie on the naked ground and be at ease than to have a golden coach and a rich table and be worried.  – Epicurean proverb.


Otium is a Latin abstract term which refers to leisure time in which a person can enjoy eating, playing, resting, contemplation and academic endeavours. It is a state of security, where one is at peace and ease.

Otium is not, however, a term simply synonymous with relaxation; it refers to time spent that is intellectual, enlightening, and / or artistically valuable. It is time taken to strengthen the mind and the character.

‘… ought it not to be my first aim to have my leisure as remote from idleness as my life is from active affairs?’ – Petrarch

While Otium can often traditionally refer to a time in a person’s retirement, it seems equally important for people at all stages of life to engage in intellectual, enjoyable, and introspective downtime. In fact, otium can be a much needed respite for those who experience stress in their day-to-day lives.

In our fast-moving epoch filled with so much intrusive external stimuli, it can seem difficult to find the time to disconnect and be introspective; however, the results can be immensely beneficial. Not only can this time be incredibly rejuvenating physically and mentally, it’s also important if you want to begin, or reflect upon, a challenging project. As Saint Augustine said, otium is the prerequisite for contemplation.

The recently opened SEYMOUR+ space is an environment specially created to cultivate imaginative and introspective processes such as otium. As a haven for the mind, we hope to inspire your inner spark and authenticity, to reduce any stress and anxiety you might have, and to provide with confidence to push forward with your own projects. For more information about SEYMOUR+, click HERE


 C.T. 2014

Published: December 4th, 2014

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