Leisure is a serious business.
The failure to educate for leisure is not just a lost opportunity; it also poses dangers, especially if large-scale job losses really are in the offing. The suggestion that “idle hands are the devil’s playthings” is a moralism long uttered by the idle wealthy to impose work requirements on the poor. Still, it is not always false. As the sociologist Norbert Elias once noted, soccer hooliganism and similar forms of mob violence may stem from a “deprivation of meaning” in the lives of the under- or unemployed. The same could be said for those now succumbing to “deaths of despair” from alcoholism, drug overdoses, or suicide.
One thought on “The Future of Leisure”
Very interesting article, and I am sure the topic of ‘leisure’ will continue to become more and more pressing as automation and artificial intelligence continue to advance. It is certainly true, I think, that a lot of people – myself included – don’t really know how to keep themselves occupied meaningfully for long periods of leisure time. However, as the article suggests, the idea that a life of leisure cannot meaningful, or is inherently unnatural, is simply not true. Throughout history there have been small leisure classes in various societies (usually aristocrats or gentry) who do not need to work day-to-day and somehow managed to live relatively amicably – the novels of Jane Austen provide a good example.