I used to
think that hyper-activity was a side effect of living in this century where we
are overwhelmed by the hight speed
of things, by the quantity and endless
possibilities surrounding us. Reading Montaigne made me realize it is an old
problem. Here is an interesting quote on the subject from book III chapter X on
managing the will:
“Men let themselves out to hire;
their faculties are not for themselves, but for those to whom they have
enslaved themselves; 'tis their tenants occupy them, not themselves. This
common humour pleases not me. We must husband the freedom of our soul and
mortgage it only on the right occasions; which are in very small numbers, if we
“They thrust themselves in indifferently
wherever there is work to do and obligation, and are without life when not in
tumultuous bustle: "They are in business for business' sake."-
Seneca. They seek business only for busyness.
“It is not so much that they will go, as it is that
they cannot stand still: like a rolling stone that cannot stop till it can go
no further. Occupation, with a certain sort of men, is a mark of understanding
and dignity: their souls seek repose in agitation, as children do by being
rocked in a cradle; they may pronounce themselves as serviceable to their friends,
as they are troublesome to themselves.”
Dear Edna, thank you for these valuable source (although I did not understand them completely) - indeed, as with any "disease" of the brain, we have a philosophical problem between the free will and the causal structure of our brain.
But I would also like to stick to the point that hyperactivity is rather modern. Formerly, it seemed to be more symptomatic than a disease in itself, as it is grasped today. This shift in the perception of many professional medical doctors (and in medical classification systems like the ICD) lead to an incredible increase of medical treatments. I think, that this has a high price to be paid by the children under such treatments, because they have a high risk in suffering adverse effects on the long run.