Issue #17, 9/12/2006
The Tyranny of Leisure
Family Court Philosopher
In one part of Las Vegas is the Family Court, which graphically illustrates a deprivation of resources. Children who pass through this place, both as foster children and juvenile delinquents, are almost always in need of services that the government can't give them. Their problems usually trace to a lack of parental resources, mental health resources, mentoring resources, educational resources or monetary resources. Apart from the occasional "spoiled brat," almost all of the children here need more adult attention.
In other parts of town, you have the casinos, which are massive monuments to the waste of resources. Adults use these facilities to fritter away their time and money, to the benefit of no one.
It is wishful thinking to want to unite the two. Those wasted resourcesin casinos and a million other adult diversionswill never be united with the needs of children. Still it makes me wonder why all this waste must exist.
The waste of excess resources is called "leisure." In leisure, people are using their time and money for some ultimately meaningless activity that contributes to no long-term goal. Why are people drawn to do this? Why can't they be productive all the time?
If you are fighting to just to feed yourself and your family, you wouldn't call this leisure. If you have already fulfilled your basic needs, and you look around for something to do, that's when leisure steps in.
Leisure (otherwise known as "luxury") tends to suck up whatever extra resources you happen to have. If for example, a worker gets a raise, they tend to buy a bigger house or acquire more high-maintenance goods until, effectively, they are just as poor and trapped as they were before.
The Pyramids of Egypt are a tragic monument to leisure. Here was a society that happened to be rich enough to have some extra resourcessome "leisure"but the leaders absorbed all these resources with these massively useless public works projects.
Leisure, I contend, is an affront to decency, and I believe it should be stamped outat least in my own life.
For example, I never gamble; I won't go to sporting events; I don't drink; I don't watch TV; I won't go on a cruise; I refuse to "waste time" on anything.
Yet, I don't feel that I am depriving myself of anything, that I am stressed or that I am simply a "workaholic." I enjoy life, but I also believe that every moment is precious and shouldn't be frittered away on anything meaningless.
Leisure is a sin. It is a gross display of decadence that is especially offensive to the people who don't have it. How can you play tennis or buy a Mercedes when you know that thousands in the community are suffering for lack of these resource that you are now wasting?
Leisure is a delusion that is sold to us by advertizing and media. When we have extra resources, we are supposed to buy things with it. We are supposed to buy a boat, play golf, or go down to the casino to gamble. If we have the time or money, we are supposed to buy supposed "luxuries," which it turns out don't really make us happy.
I say that you can completely eliminate all leisure from your life and not have lost anything. This doesn't mean you need to "work" all the time, but you should never be doing anything frivolous or wasteful either.
A leisure-free life is not necessarily drudgery. It can be a happy and relaxed existance. A life without leisure doesn't mean that you are working all the time or that you never rest. You just avoid wasting resources.
A life without leisure can consist of a rich and lively variety of activities, each of which fall into one of these five categories....
Within the categories above, there can be travel, romance, reading, an occasional movie and a palatable meal or two. You can live a rich, creative, sociable, and comfortable life without ever resorting to leisure. In fact, by avoiding leisure, you can end up being a lot happier than people wealthier than you who are burdened by their leisure.
As much as it is advertized otherwise, leisure merely drains the vital essance from your life. Wasted hours turn into years, and in the end you have blown away most of your potential on this planet.
Whenever you find yourself "killing time," you're in trouble, because the time you kill can never be brought back.
“Some good points, but I disagree that learning to belly-dance doesn't count as education. Even if the value of new knowledge isn't immediately obvious, nothing you learn is ever truly wasted.” — 8/31/07 (rating=3)
“Tyranny at its best.. www.tyrantjudges.com” —Calvin Roach 8/28/09 (rating=5)
Visit Glenn's other websites: Glenn-Campbell.com, RoamingPhotos.com, KilroyCafe.com and GlennsDrivingService.com
Page Started: 9/12/06