In the context of this essay I am encompassing all activity that is not work related, study related, taking exercise, caring for family and cooking as a matter of need, and is instead when one voluntarily spends time to relax and unwind, except sleep.
There are the more obvious ones like going to the cinema, watching TV, reading, socializing, carrying out activities for fun, like hobbies. Less obvious would be smoking and getting drunk or engaged in illegal activities not directly related to acquitting wealth. So entertainment does not have tobe legal either.
Controversially though I will include gathering news and surfing the Internet also into this category. Being retired is a luxury most people look forward to, and for them the Internet is a great and increasing source of relaxation, when the inevitable boredom of watching too much TV sets in. Increasing one’s knowledge even in retirement stimulates the brain and is also a form of entertainment of one does not have to do it.
Therefore I put the media firmly in the box of entertainment and would go so far as to say it is more entertainment than factual. There is more news that we don’t see or hear about than what we are shown, so in that context we are only partially informed, not completely, however much a news hound we may consider ourselves to be. If we take news in that context we would then be more selective in what we believe and look on it more like another canned episode of a soap opera like reality TV.
Many of our social ills arise from the lack of time to think. Take parents due to the pressures on earning to keep the family fed and clothed ignore parenting, and result in latch key kids all over the world. They, often have no idea what their kids get up to and the influences they are exposed to. This is turn creates social problem that arise from a young age, and schools and teachers are blamed instead.
Every family or household that defines their role and plans their time and entertainment is bound to be more fulfilled and fraught with less pressures. Needless to say for those where work and entertainment are one, then a balance of life to ensure the family is not neglected is also essential.
Where does religion or adherence to a faith come into this mix? It should really fall into the entertainment section, as otherwise religion becomes a chore. It should be something voluntary and one which we enjoy doing and not done out of charity, fear and compulsion. Helping those less fortunate or in need, (a.ka. charity) will also be encompassed in this aspect of living a life worthy of one’s beliefs.
Then there are social obligations that have to be fulfilled to be part of a religion, a family or a village, so that the normal duties to ensure the proper functioning of society are carried out. This aspect will likely if not voluntary go into the must do box as a chore much in the way of cooking for the family, and not be classed as entertainment.
If we each always think of what we are doing and classify our activity primarily into the two categories, then we can really determine if the activity we are engaged in defined as entertainment is really necessary or if that is also a chore which we can drop. When a activity that should be entertainment becomes a voluntary chore and we don’t like it unless it falls into the must do box, we should drop it if we are to improve our lives and not let it become just a robotic existence.
That’s to repeat the word again and again. We must think clearly and if we are doing something we don’t have to and which does not give us any satisfaction, and has no perceived objective, we should drop it. That is the most difficult part of decision making in life. When we get used to doing something for a long time without thinking, we become enslaved to that and an unnecessary activity seems to be necessary.
By thinking things through and honestly evaluating it, we can rationalize it and see if we are performing it to kill time, to benefit someone, for our enjoyment or because we have to for job, family, society or duty. Given this process we will then find purpose in our lives and find fulfillment in what we do and if we don’t we will know it is done for a purpose. Waste is then eliminated.
Mindless activity is the root cause of societal ills, when people become directionless. In young people this is a major reason for crime and therefore incarceration. We must teach these skills, with school, temple and parents taking a role in this. Those who manage time well undoubtedly stand out as success stories in society and such behavior should be encouraged.