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ENG 101- Week 6 Journal

Aug 31, 2023

In the essay, “The Busy Trap”, take a position against Kreider’s and argue for the value of keeping busy. You might include examples from your own life or the lives of friends and family.

Please make sure that your journal is at least a page in length, double-spaced.

Week 6 Journal

“The Busy Trap”, written by Tim Kreider is an essay that argues about an extremely unique prospect (Kreider, 109). This prospect is about being idle, or more specifically not working one to the bone, just the amount that is needed to function on earth. Kreider believes as the title suggests that being busy is nothing but a trap or an illusion. He argues that nobody is busy but has made himself or herself busy. In his opinion, they want to be busy because conventions dictate them to be busy, and if they choose an alternate style of living then it might lead to an attack on their ego or their entire existence. He believes that people who work in places like ICUs are tired and not busy (Kreider, 109). They are tired because they are employed in work that truly matters, while others who claim to be busy are involved in jobs that do not have a lot of value. In his opinion people who are tired work in places where what they do can cause a significant change, take or give someone’s life while those who boast about being ‘busy’ do a job that is not functional to the overall plan of the world. Therefore being busy is a trap in which the people who claim to be it, push themselves, and others who believe it are also caught in it. Kreider believes that the optimal lifestyle is living in a way that gives happiness to your soul and mind allows you to do things at your pace and does not rush you. He explains it through the experience of the painter, in which he states that his friend after going to a foreign country experience much more calmness because she escapes the ‘busy’ trap (Kreider, 110). Kreider thinks that his friend pushed herself to be busy because of her environment. Her work of painting was done in both the places, but in New York, it was a process that took all of her both physically and mentally while in Australia she produces artwork in the same manner but it doesn’t take all of her, she can have a life and enjoy it. Through this, the writer believes that he has proven that being busy is a myth, and there is no reality associated with it, it is an illusion people believe in for the sake of their environment and ego. Kreider again cites the example of his friend who states that he would try to come and meet him even though he is so busy (Kreider, 109). The fact of the matter was that the friend was trying to use the element of ‘busyness’ to make people believe that he was functional and meaningful in the world. This is felt in the fact that rather than answering the writer’s question, whether he would meet him or not, he said that he was busy and would come if there was something great or interactive happening. The answer should have been either a yes or a no, it did not need the explanation of whether he was busy or not. Even then the friend provided it because he wanted to show him, a badge of honor that he had earned, which was that he was involved in a work that made him busy. The inquisition is whether that work is necessary.           

Though Krieder’s work is interesting and he does bring up some great points, it doesn’t mean that his argument is fully effective. The whole essay is an inquisition on the concept of busyness, and whether this phenomenon exists or not. His main argument is that people who claim to be busy are involved in work that does not matter in the overall scheme of the world. The view presented here is nascent and does not take into account the complex societal aspects that are extremely necessary for the present existence. The truth is humans no longer survive in the primitive age where just the actions of cooking and living sufficed. Society is complex and to survive and maintain this societal structure, every aspect of society must be functional. Therefore to consider most of the work in the world to have no value is a wrong view. The author states that the people working in ICUs and taking care of patients are the only ones doing meaningful work. If that view is thought to be correct then the people making the surgical instruments or creating the masks worn by most of the medical professionals, are doing meaningless work. If some years earlier a company making masks would have thought of their work to be inessential and slowed their pace of work, then the last few years would have been even more devastating. The number of masks available in the market was extremely low compared to its requirement during the pandemic, if the people had worked at a faster pace then maybe many more people could have been protected. If their attitude to work had been as casual as Krieder wanted, because it was not as ‘essential’ by Krieder’s standards, then the world would have fallen into more despair. Therefore considering any work to be meaningless is a grave and immature opinion. The world is interconnected, everything is joined to each other. The social media websites in which people make accounts to talk about their favorite shows, and devote hours and intense hard work also have a huge contribution. The community these accounts form helps in the exchange of information, regarding things happening all over the world. Information from inaccessible places becomes available to people through communities. These social media websites in various countries provided information regarding availability in the hospital or situations in other places during COVID-19. Websites for most things provide advertisement that is beneficial for the viewers. It helps the viewers to garner the things they want at the most affordable price. Therefore every work is important in such a complex society that requires a connection. For English students, there is an argument to be made that learning English has no value. Therefore we should not devote our energy towards it. Though learning English not only gives us a method of communication but also exposes us to the ideas of various luminaries, making us understand the views held by people of the past and present. The values inculcated in people are mostly because of the stories they read. Most of the children have learned the value of sharing through the story of a Giant and the Garden. Language exposes these ideals and inculcates them within them.

There are also emotional benefits to keeping busy. Human life is not immune to tragedies and oftentimes being busy at work aids in coping with those tragedies. After losing my grandparents, it was only through my work that I was able to come out of my grief. Humans are also not lonely being they have responsibilities and relationships they need to care for and save from harm. Being successful in work can save the future of an individual’s parents and children. Devotion to work helps in financial gains, which can secure the future of one’s family. Hence, being busy is not as distasteful as a concept as presented in the essay.

Works Cited

Kreider, Tim. “The ‘Busy’ Trap.” The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction, edited by Melissa A. Goldthwaite et al., shorter 15th ed., W. W. Norton, 2020, pp. 109–12.

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