Monday, December 09, 2002

I slept in again today. I seriously love sleeping in. I was born to not do anything in particular. It must be true; I'm so good at it. I don't even waste free time like some people do, by going out with friends or taking care of a few nagging chores. Nay, I sleep in very, very late, and then I read a book, or stare mindlessly at the ceiling, before taking a nap, and eating, and going back to bed. I think there's something wrong with anybody who doesn't see the glory in that.

While ordinarily I go out of my way to praise capitalism and capitalistic society, this is one of the relatively few problems I have with it. I live in a society that's terribly concerned with doing something. It's irritating as hell. Everything has to be productive in some material, tangible way. Imagine, for instance, a friend going on a spiritual retreat; oh, not one sponsored by his church or whatever. He's just going to head up into the mountains for a few days, by himself, to think. We'd all say he was a crackpot, among other things, and lazy to boot. There are things that need to be done, by God! What's he doing fooling around in the mountains, when there are bills to be paid, and carpets to be cleaned, and for goodness sakes, spots on the windows!

And people seem to think that, even if there really is nothing that has to be done, you ought to go out and find something to do anyway. What's this? Your homework is all done? Your workplace is on shutdown? You've already cleaned the house, the car, the yard, etc.? There's really nothing that needs doing? Perhaps you should...umm...resort your socks? Paint the house? Hey, give the car a tune up! Why don't you go read next week's lessons, so you can get ahead on them, eh? Eh? Eh? To be fair, we might not be able to blame all of it on capitalism, the damn Puritans and their "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" probably contributed too.

I believe in unstructured time. I really do. I think there's a reason so many religious leaders of days gone by were simple shepherd folk. They had time to look up at the stars, and reflect on their place in the universe. In fact, they not only had time, they didn't really have any choice. There wasn't anything competing for their time. They didn't have television, or radio, or (oh sure, I'm especially guilty of this last indulgence myself) email racing across their consciousness.

All of this is sort of reminding me of a conversation I had with the professor I did my research assistant thing for last year. He was telling me about how every time he went to study for his citizenship exam, ad jingles would pop into his brain. I told him about how I couldn't read Marx at all without the theme from the Scarecrow and Mrs. King pop into my head. I guess I somehow associated Marx with Communists, with the bad Russians on that show, which I watched when I was a kid. The gungho language of Marx goes rather well with that theme though, so I guess it's just as well.

What was my point again? Oh yes. Though I'm indeed quite happy to have things like indoor heating and plumbing, and vision corrective devices, and means of mass, instant communication, etcetera, I wish we had a society which valued leisure time a little more. I don't believe that idle hands are the devil's workshop. I think busy hands are. Because busy hands are always about the business of making something, and that something is generally money. And we all know that money is the root of all evil, right? All of the old heroes, Moses, and Isaiah, and the Baptist, and Jesus, and Mohammed, spent time wandering and fasting in the desert. I don't care to do exactly as they did, but I wouldn't mind a nap away from the old regular schedule. And I'm willing to equate the two activities in my mind, because, well, in any case, neither are about materialism.

Big news in about an hour or so, I'll fill you in if it's anything good or bad. It'll likely be the grand news of: "Yeah, uh, we'll have more information for you in a week." You'll probably hear about that too.

Anyway, food calls!