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A year or so ago a friend questioned me really hard on my belief in God. Yes, the big G. My answer was, “I don’t have much need for gods.”
It’s the same answer for gay issues, spectator sports and gambling; I just don’t have much interest in them, which translates into little attention given to them. So those people who do have an interest at the moment and want to talk at length about these things, I just ignore for that moment and do something else which I find more useful to my personal goals.
I see all of those things as a guaranteed waste of time because at the end of the activity nothing has been gained for humanity. In the grander scheme of things those activities are worse than zero-sum games — they are guaranteed loss games. They use up natural resources as well as time and attention, so I just avoid giving them much of my time. You don’t have to be compulsive to avoid wasting time and money. Wasting time is not the opposite of working.
People start wasting time when they are bored and start searching around for something to occupy their attention. What they need is something to interest them and that means a goal-oriented activity. When the mind is focused on a goal everything falls into place and life becomes meaningful, at least for the moment. When there is no goal, life become meaningless and the mind wanders.
For people with little or no ability to form personal goals it is necessary to have goals imposed upon them from the outside or they go into a depression. Typically this type of people go buy something and get themselves into economic debt. Usually, it’s something they don’t need, like the fake status of a flashy car or some favorite drug or some such non-sense, and then they are compelled to have a job, which serves the function of making their life meaningful by paying for their excess consumption.
When goalless people are not at work where they are forced to pay attention to their task, they must find distractions outside of themselves, so they watch TV or spectator sports. That type of activity is an alternate form of short-term sybaritic bliss. It is sensual pleasure without personal input of thought or effort and like psychoactive drugs gives an unearned and therefore undeserved pleasure.
With that in mind I should stop playing Solitaire on my computer and instead use the time to walk around the block and give both my mind and body a break. I have noticed in the past, when still running almost daily, that the faster I went the less unhappy I felt. Aside from the pleasure of moving there was the additional feeling of moving toward a goal, and the more effort I was exerting to get to that goal the less I was distracted by other things. I have never heard of anyone getting bored running a marathon even though it is three hours of repetitive activity. At that time the inherent meaninglessness of life or the universe or anything else simply vanishes.
Gambling and other zero-sum games don’t add anything to humanity’s abundance and they waste human time and attention. They slowly degrade the world while filling their void. Of course the hope and thrill of winning overbalances the emptiness and fear of losing or no one would play. But, if the gamblers could focus their attention on doing something with a socially worthwhile product they and humanity would be improved.
You can get happier by doing something more productive.