We know Sir Winston Churchill as a statesman. He commanded the British army at a time when it seemed impossible to stop the Nazis under Hitler during the second world war. The following speech during the air-raiding of the Nazis on London and elsewhere in England is a very famous one. This was broadcasted live to the nation on the radio. The link for the same is given below.
But many of us do not know the other side of Winston Churchill. He was not only a statesman and a parliamentarian but he was also a soldier, journalist, writer, essayist, historian, orator and a very ardent painter. It seems he would get into his study room and paint for hours together without letting anyone disturb him, during the course of the war. By the way, he started painting after the age of 40!
The below article was written by Sir Winston Churchill on the topic of hobbies.
“Broadly speaking, human beings may be divided into three classes: those who are toiled to death, those who are worried to death and those who are bored to death.
To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real. It is no use starting late in life to say: “I will take an interest in this or that.” Such an attempt only aggravates the strain of mental effort.
The need of an alternative outlook, of a change of atmosphere, of a diversion of effort, is essential for anyone and everyone.
The most common form of diversion is reading. In that vast and varied field millions find their mental comfort. Nothing makes a man more reverent than a library. “A few books”, which was Lord Morley’s definition of anything under five thousand, may give a sense of comfort and even of complacency. But a day in a library, even of modest dimensions, quickly dispels these illusory sensations. As you browse about, talking down book after book from the shelves and contemplating the vast, infinitely varied store of knowledge and wisdom which the human race has accumulated and preserved, pride, even in its most innocent forms, is chased from the heart by feelings of awe not untinged with sadness. As one surveys the mighty array of sages, saints, historians, scientists, poets and philosophers, whose treasures one will never be able to admire, still less enjoy, the brief tenure of our existence here dominates mind and spirit….
“What shall I do with all my books?” was the question; and the answer, “Read them,” sobered the questioner. But if you cannot read them, at any rate handle them and, as it were, fondle them. Peer into them. Let them fall open where they will. Read on from the first sentence that arrests the eye. Then turn to another. Make a voyage of discovery, taking soundings of uncharted seas.
Since change is an essential element in diversion of all kinds, it is naturally more restful and refreshing to read in a different language from that in which one’s ordinary daily work is done….
But reading and book-love in all their forms suffer from one serious defect; they are too nearly akin to the ordinary daily round of the brain-worker to give that element of change and contrast essential to real relief. To restore psychic equilibrium we should call into use those parts of the mind which direct both eye and hand.
Many men have found great advantage in practicing a handicraft for pleasure. Joinery, chemistry, book-binding, even brick-laying, if one were interested in them and skilful at them, would give a real relief to the overtired brain. But best of all and easiest to procure are sketching and painting in all their forms. I consider myself very lucky that I have been able to develop this new taste and pastime….
Painting is a friend who makes no undue demands, excites to no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace even with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Times or the surly advance of Decrepitude. Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day”.
You can find similar articles in the Concepts and Ideas section of this blog.
PS: I am happy to note that atleast one Blogger has a good offline hobby. You can read about the Food Project, which is basically indulging in growing fruits and vegetables in an urban atmosphere (Where space is difficult to allot for gardening), in the following links.
http://lotusnova.blogspot.com/2007/05/food-project.html and the follow up post on it –
If you have come across any different Offline hobbies like the above, or if you indulge in any, do contribute your input in the comments section. It could be useful for others like me!