“Don’t waste your time with that garbage!” you’re told. But what does it even mean to waste time ?
Is going for a walk outside a waste of time ? It’s not obviously productive yet the fresh, cool air never ceases to open the mind, creating new connections where previously there were none.
Is playing video games a waste of time ? It’s not obviously productive yet there are exceptions, such as games with actual economies or games with particularly challenging bosses that not one in a thousand can beat.
Is talking to a friend a waste of time ? It’s not obviously productive yet many a great idea was forged by the exercise of bouncing it off a trusted colleague and considering the feedback, just as many a potentially great idea was shattered like a million unlucky mirrors by the same conversation.
Is making dinner a waste of time ? It’s not obviously productive yet eating is an essential function of the human body and breaking bread bonds men, deepening their kinship like nothing else besides, not to mention that scant few restaurants can beat a properly home-cooked meal.
Is gazing admiringly at women a waste of time ? It’s not obviously productive yet the eye is the key to the heart, making an aesthetic attraction essential for courtship, just as much as it can inspire the creative flourishes of a thousand artists, from Botticelli to Goya to Gauguin.
Is sorting your socks by alphabetical order from the store in which you bought them a waste of time ? It’s not obviously productive yet for certain obsessive types it brings relaxation and can serve as a memory recall exercise, especially if you have more than fifty pairs and an aversion to buying in bulk.
Is watching TV or derping on reddit or “checking in” to the social media blackhole a waste of time ? Unequivocally. No good ever came from any of those things. So just stop it already. Jeezus. What, were you raised by wolves ?
But even at that, your life just is. It’s as much a seamless blur as a series of discrete events. One moment flows into the next and the latter could not be without the former. Even the notion that the masses should be or could always be productive is a peculiarly neo-protestant one, and therefore only narrowly relevant both geographically and historically. Chances are you’d be complacent regardless of time, place, or technological influences. Really, it’s just cheaper that way.
Not to mention that giving you the noose to hang yourself keeps you out of the way of the more inherently productive caste. But maybe that’s just a side benefit.
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