Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pause To Think

My town librarian recommended I listen to Studs Terkel's "Voices of Our Times." It is interviews with famous Americans from the 50's to the almost present. I am only into the 1960's but am quite taken by the regional accents that people displayed- especially the "East Coast Patrician" which is so ubiquitous amongst the intellectuals that are his preferred subject in this collection.

I was stopped in my tracks, so to speak, listening to the interview with Dr. Mortimer Adler, a philosopher who taught at several of the most prestigious schools in the nation. The idea he was putting forth to Studs in this brief interview was that intellect is not important, using the brain is. Regardless of the IQ - 90-140 - it is the "duty and moral obligation" of a human being to use their intellect in an ennobling manner.

Since 1850 we have accrued leisure time at an unprecedented rate. We no longer fill every waking hour toiling to make the clothing we wear or growing the food that we eat. His premise is that we owe it (to God? our fore bearers?) to use this leisure time well.

I think of how much leisure time I have and how frequently I feel that goofing off is my prerogative because I have worked so hard. I would hate to see a tally of how much of my free time is spent wastefully. I am not talking about the leisurely rambles with my dog- that serves as both exercise & rejuvenation. I am talking about the time spent playing solitaire on my computer. It serves absolutely no purpose.

Does this mean I need to become a Calvinist and offer all my labors up to the Glory of God? I think I may need to find some middle road so I can screw off a little bit, but I also want to be aware of how much of my life I am wasting.


JAF said...

I'm not giving up Chuzzle.

fishnet said...

for those who would care to read some "profound" comments on this subject swim over to fishnet

Michael Hawes said...

Think of the solitaire as brain exercising. I just started doing Suduko puzzles and that is how I think of those. Enjoy relaxing while you are still looking at the right side of the grass.