Posted on August 20, 2015 @ 03:08:00 AM by Paul Meagher
In this blog, I want to continue exploring the concept of leisure. In my last blog, Leisure Studies, I introduced the domain a bit and posed a bunch of questions. In this blog, I want to explore what a definition of Leisure might look like. There are no answers here, just an exploration of the language games that take place around the concept of leisure and whether they add up to anything coherent.
Here are a few ideas, observations and opinions on the topic of leisure:
Leisure time is when we have the most freedom to fullfull our wants and desires and to develop our potentials.
Leisure in this version is related to the concept of freedom and, for some, may be the purest expression of it. We can use the freedom associated with leisure to fulfill our wants and desires and/or develop our potentials.
We can use our leisure time to watch tv or we might use it to take an online course. We can travel or we can work out (developing our physical potentials).
Many use their freedom to watch tv or surf social media rather than develop their potentials. Others use their leisure time and explore and further their potentials.
Leisure time is used to "recover" from work.
Leisure and work are often considered opposites or antonyms of each other but is appears there can be considerable overlap at times.
Futurists from 30 years ago predicted we would have alot of leisure time on our hands now. Many argue that we do not have more leisure time today than we did 30 years ago. This is very difficult to measure because we appear to have incorporated leisure into the way we work so the distinction between work and leisure is difficult to discriminate. For example, if I am mowing a field of hay in an $80k tractor with air conditioning, stereo, and tinted windows, that is not a bad way to occupy my time on a nice sunny day (just so you know I drive a $4k tractor without the luxuries). In most jobs there is the opportunity to use the internet to do our jobs in a way that improves the feeling of leisure at work.
30 years ago we were a more physical lot of people than we are today. We were less obese. Is leisure all good? Leisure can have a dark side and many critical theorists would argue that leasure is defined in the interests of the ruling class, we have no real freedom to chose only mimic images of leisure that benefit or perpetuate the ruling class. I don't think leisure is that bad, but I agree that our freedom to choose our leisure is influenced by media and advertising. If you are sweating out in a field putting in hay (as we did yesterday) that does not correspond to the approved iconography of leisure. The heat sucked, is feels like work, but in retrospect it appears to have had elements of leisure (physical workout, comaraderie, outdoors activity). It is what I call leisure work. I add work because it was for economic gain that I was engaged in the activity.
I'll end this blog with a link to an interesting article called Why leisure farms in Taiwan are now the hot destinations. These appear to be some weird mashup between farming and leisure that I haven't fully figured out yet.