On Lying Fallow: An Aspect of Leisure (International Journal of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Vol. 6, 1977)


by Masud Khan (1924 - 1989)

A clinical paper that reads as an elegant essay despite its professional vocabulary, relevant to every writer or artist who claims that staring out the window is working.

Khan observes how little has been written about our non-conflictual, non-neurotic emotional states, how little allowance modern Western societies make for our needs to be private and ‘unintegrated’, and, in the last third, how the ‘pursuit of frantic leisure’ now dissipates us all. While acknowledging the infinite ways ‘lying fallow’ can go wrong, he asks analysts to distinguish more honestly between true illness and overinflated expectations about the perpetual ‘fun’ of existence.

Related recommendation: David Foster Wallace’s ‘A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again’ (Harper’s 1996, and reprinted in the collection of the same name, 1997); Montaigne’s ‘On Idleness’

Can also be found at: British Library shelfmark P.321/770

Origin: Britain

Themes: Artistic Method, Vocation and Celebrity

Genres: Scientific or Medical

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