Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Importance of Variation

Original Posting

As I was sitting here surfing the internet for things I probably won't even remember tomorrow morning, my mind hopped onto a certain train of thought.

You see, earlier today I was busy writing something for a website I contribute to once a week (that sounds a lot more prestigious when I don't describe the nature of these contributions) and I noticed something during that time: I suddenly had a reawakened desire to study. I suddenly had a desire to do some heavy thinking about some heavy topics. This desire, however, occurred at a time when I couldn't fulfill it because of my prior obligation.

Then, as I lay here in my bed surfing the internet, I had another sudden desire to just start pulling books off of my shelves and begin reading. This, however, occurred on one of the few days I actually need to wake up semi-early tomorrow. Again, the fact that I should not spend my time studying made me want to study much more.

So, I began thinking about what this meant. On the one hand, it's evidence of the fact that we (or at least some of us, apparently myself being one of them) always want what we don't have. When I had to do X I suddenly desired Y even though when I'm free to do Y I often do not have the passion for it that I have when I have to do X. The question, then, is what does this mean for us and our activities?

The conclusion I came to is that unlimited free time (a state I happen to live in for the time being) results in nothing seeming worth a great effort because there's always more time wherein to do it. Because we always have more time to do something, we often do not find this moment better than that moment to do it in. There's always more time, so we're more inclined to put things off and pursue easier pleasures.

This conclusion led me to realize the importance of variation. By variation I mean variety in the situations we find ourselves in at different times. Some situations are better suited for certain activities than others (i.e. it's better to read a book while working than it is while driving, but it's better still to read during your free time than while working), which means we are forced to make value judgments to decide what we're going to spend our time on.

Because we grasp the importance of Y best when you understand that you can only engage in Y for Z amount of time before you have to X. When you have infinite time to engage in Y, you'll have a difficult time grasping it's value in moments.

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