Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sacrifice of Time and the Importance of Variation Revisited

In July of 2009 I wrote two blogs entitled Sacrifice of Time and The Importance of Variation. Sacrifice of Time used sacrifices as a metaphor for the fact that every activity we want to do in life requires that we give up moments of our lives that can never be retrieved or respent. The Importance of Variation comments that excessive free time makes it impossible to spend our moments productively because we always feel as though there is always more moments we can spend and therefore there is no urgency that compels us to expend energy right now.

That was over three years ago. At that time I had almost unlimited free time. At this point I tend to feel as though I get only wisps of free time here and there (I feel that way, but of course a busier man would say that I have plenty of free time. To try to look at it objectively, I am probably not that occupied at all, compared to the rest of productive society), which caused me to think back to these blogs. They seem all the more true when seen from the other side.

Whereas boredom defined my existence back then, it has all but been erased from my existence now. There is always more to be done than time to do it in. It is always a scramble to cobble free minutes together to put toward some goal or project I have. For the first time I can experience the resentment that people tend to feel when someone has wasted or is wasting their time. For the first time the Sacrifice of Time carries urgency for me; when I have to choose what to spend my free time on, I am aware of the fact that I am spending moments that I will never get back and moments that can only be spent on one thing.

I find that the danger in such a situation is diversity in desire. Desire itself is not the problem, in fact, desire is very much the thing keeping you alive. Rather it is diversity in desire, wanting too many things that have to compete for the same moments to be a part of your life. Pursuing one goal allows you to chase with all your energy and focus; pursuing two allows you to chase your primary goal with most of your energy while refreshing yourself chasing after the other; any more than that and you begin spreading yourself so thin that all you are doing is being interested in various hobbies. You never reach any kind of height.

The other danger is the danger of obligation and responsibility. When one has the structure of obligation to dictate most of the time you spend in a given week, it becomes tempting to just give up doing anything difficult with one's free time. You drift and allow obligation to make its demands upon you, the rest of your time is spent escaping challenge. This is very tempting, but unsatisfying, at least initially; I imagine it does not take very long to quiet that impulse that compels you to try to accomplish something outside of your obligations.

In a way, though, I suppose this was just a long way of explaining why I only had two blogs posted in October.

No comments:

Post a Comment