“An idle brain is the devil’s workshop”

This quote must have been heard by most at some point of time. The basic idea the phrase conveys is an empty mind is an idle mind who is the committer of most of the sins, if not deadly, but sure destructive in nature – A peace Destructor. So does this quote hold any water? Does an idle mind really become a “devil’s workshop”? Let’s find out.

We all have feared a “devil” since we were a child. My mother used to feed me convincing me that a “devil” would come and take me away if I didn’t eat and sleep. I used to be afraid and I ate. Clearly, this fear of devil was always frightening, and imagining it in our brain- the worst thing we can think of.

So does the quote seem justified?The fact that a quote like this exists for this insidious condition makes us believe that it actually exists. We tend to get bored,then our brain creates a wholly narrative piece of loomy scenarios for us to brood over and agonize. Suddenly a random jab, a random fight in college, a phone call which never returned takes on a sinister meaning. The worst – a devil from our dreams arrives in front of you with a weapon in his hand, burning your heart flame by blame, making you realize, you were never wrong in that fight- YOU need a revenge for it. This projection of the devil is projected, unfortunately, onto a real person, who has no idea, why you are pissed off at him.

Do people really behave because they have been idle, ironically filled with erroneous and wicked thoughts incorporated within an idle mind.I am sure most of the criminals that have committed crimes were not criminals by birth- rather they weren’t criminals by mind too. Circumstances. They made him react that way. A poor man who has been asked for bribe by a government official, tends to go numb. Numb means he goes into a phase where he tends to get idle, not talking to anyone, and feeling like concentrating all his aggression to pour his hatred for the system on one man. How numb? He certainly doesn’t know how he’s gonna pay! This is where the devil acts. He comes up to your ears and whispers- you need to take your revenge. This hatred is further fuelled by some incident stuck in your unconscious mind, where you saw the same incident, but happening to a different person. But instead of filing a PIL, a complaint, he feels like making an impact on his own.


Teenagers for example are more prone to externalities, finding the unethical things more attractive than what is morally or ethically correct. For example, the recent Nirbhaya Case was committed by a 16 year old juvenile. Infact he was the said to be the most heinous of them all. But was it wholly his fault? It was, no doubt in that. But we need to see how this fragile mind evolved such that he went to this extent. He didn’t have any job, was unemployed and as the popular saying goes khaali dimaag shitaan ka ghar…the same thing happened.Feminists must realise here that I am not justifying the rape, am giving a reason why he did this.

Take for another example,a guy loved a girl. They were friends since childhood. He proposed her-she rejected. The guy found out later she got committed to the guy’s best friend. Instead of taking it as a matter of happiness for that girl, he was agonized. He felt rejected. He couldn’t take her rejection. He used to be lonely, until one fine day, he threw acid on that girl. Consequence? One got jailed, other got her life ruined. Wasn’t all this because his ideas seemed to encounter a blockage? He could have used this dejection in a constructive way, by trying to achieve the best in life. But he used his loneliness to do some ethically and morally wrong.

Taking some more examples,the news nowadays are flooded about how a girl(educated) was being radicalized by women member of ISIS. Did we ever think about what must have happened? The girl used to be lonely at home, and surfing on the internet in her idle time must have shifted his attention to something so destructive.


Seeing the other side of the story,there was a farmer, who was really poor. He had 150 hectares of land, half of it was dry, arid and couldn’t bear a cash crop. It surely required water to be drained. He had to fetch water from a far of well. He did farming in the better half and earned money. He never thought of the other half land. One idea struck in his mind– instead of half of the day when he sits idle, doing nothing, why not use it in a constructive way. He decided to dig a well. It took him a month to dig it, until a layer of water touched his feet. He was happy. He used the water in the other half land and grew cash crops there.

He became rich. He employed other farmers in his land. He helped them both financially and also helped them during the course of work. What was he doing? He wasn’t keeping himself idle. Once when he was idle, and now he was utilising this time helping others. Can we take out positives from the ways being followed?



So, what basically needs to done? How to NOT remain idle, or rather how to use this idle time in a constructive manner?

Constantly reading, writing and creating : When I feel like things aren’t actually going my way, and m occupied by devil thoughts- I go for a novel(a peace spreading novel of course!). A book forces you to synthesize all the images, sounds and emotional complexities that tends you to focus on the story rather than devil thoughts.The more you create, the more you know of yourself. The more you know of yourself, the more you get to live by your own rules and only allow those you want in. A blockage is created against the contagion that is other people’s way of life tending you to believe what is the best way to live.

Treating our work like a play : Work needs to be played in a healthy way and not by getting involved in boredom. We need to enjoy it like a game. We bring in ideas, we innovate, we think good, a think better- and ultimately, come up with the best.You might as well use something you’re engaged in most of your waking hours to your advantage.

Spot crappy thoughts when they arise. Orthodox and irrelevant self-talk and unproductive thoughts are an addiction. And like most addictions, there are triggers that start the cascade. If you’re the type of person who is highly introspective and constantly looking for ways to master your thoughts, you probably know by now certain events, people or words trigger negativity.


An ideal mind tends to a devil’s playground only after how we perceive things. For example : the idle mind when was utilised by the farmer in a constructive manner, he turned rich. The same mind when was used by a rejected lover in a destructive manner, turned him violent against the girl he liked. So what’s the basic idea? Didn’t Newton discover gravity while he was sitting idle? Didn’t Edison invent a bulb in his idle time and an idle mind? Of Course he did. As we say, everything is in our mind. If we focus the good traits, forget the bad phases, we can to do wonders with this idle brain.

Philosophy Tuber