The Lie

Don’t give up your basic needs: ambiance and vanity -Collective Soul

I have less than 20 minutes.  We’ll see what happens.

The greatest lie of our generation is that the purpose of a person’s life is to be entertained.  That luxury is an inalienable right of the American.

I’m not philosophist nor sophist enough to argue the truth or inaccuracy of the idea that the purpose of life is happiness – there’s too much vagueness in the term ‘happiness.’

But I feel confident saying that life is not about entertainment.  I don’t think, if there is a grand purpose to existence, that any of us arrived on the globe to be entertained.  I think we came to work, grow, experience many facets of life, all in preparation for something else to come.  Watching 4 episodes of CSI per day isn’t going to make you a better person.

I get angry about it because I do it.  I watch those episodes of CSI and I enjoy it.  I avoid homework and other tasks that would require effort on my part.  I shy away from personal growth and the stretching of soul that comes along with really living a life.

Now, because I hate when people complain and then do nothing to fix it, I offer some suggestions to myself and others:

1.  Have goals.  I am convinced that unless a person learns to use goals, he will look back at his life with disappointment and some degree of self-loathing.   Goals should be set for years, months, weeks, days, and even hours.  I find I sleep best at night when I’ve had a full day of productivity and the day of productivity comes only when it has been planned for.

2.  Have some tasks for ‘down time.’  Have a list of projects you want to accomplish bit by bit over time.  You can turn to these instead of the television or the video game.  You will feel like you have accomplished much and you may even find some entertainment in it.  The caution:  Don’t overload with tasks to be done “Some Day.”  Even the “Some Day” tasks need a deadline.

3.  Exercise.  Exercise, especially to get you started in the morning, will help you make the most of your day.  It’s easy to live the productive life when you’ve begun every day with some productivity – such as exercise.

4.  Patterns.  Plan on doing certain things at certain times each day.  For me, a religious person, this is my religious study.  It may be classes, work, study, devotion, meditation, exercise, or any number of daily activities.  Making something a priority over everything else for that block of time will make you get things done.  Getting things done will make you feel good.  Way gooder than watching somebody on TV getting things done.

5.  Planned relaxation.  Seek entertainment on a planned way.  Don’t just wake up with no plan and go straight to the computer game.  Restrict your entertainment time to times when you have absolutely nothing else that needs to get done.


2 Responses to “The Lie”

  1. ornerycat Says:

    Entertainment alone never makes me happy. If I’m not doing something useful with a portion of my day, I quickly get depressed. On the other hand, watching 5 episodes a day of Deep Space Nine last fall kept me sane (but it wouldn’t have lasted).

  2. Cornelius Says:

    You speak true, wise one. I am reminded of the song “Dog Days” by Pink Floyd. However, I am dissapointed that you would rather watch 4 episodes of CSI than the Concrete Video.

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