Despite the enjoyment experienced, I sometimes feel that certain pursuits I undertake are a waste of time. Video games in particular are quite hard to justify, there’s a (gradually diminishing) reputation that this form of entertainment is pointless and just for boys (and while walk-behind-an-old-British-soldier-staring-at-his-bum-and-then-shoot-the-bad-man games certainly do appeal to a certain demographic, it’s far from the only game genre available for easy consumption). For me though it often comes back to the somewhat existentialist thought of, well if nothing matters then why not enjoy life in the manner in which I see fit?
Now, I think there’s a lot to this claim – I truly think that each person should be able to seek pleasure in their own manner, undisturbed from others. I think it’s truly a shame when someone tries to diminish someone else’s interests, and it is patently hard to combat this – do you play the (publicly conceived) arsehole and tell them to f*** off? or do you meekly allow societal pressure to sway your personal enjoyment?
But at the same time should we not thrust forward seeking to educate ourselves? We live in probably the greatest time period thus far, I mean how often do we (in the New Zealand) have to worry about widespread famine, roaming marauders, and access to healthcare? (I know this does affect a lot of people, but this sits outside the scope of this post). I know it sounds ridiculous, but last year I was reading a book on philosophy (it was basically philosophy for kids) and there was one quote I came across from Socrates:
No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.
Now while Socrates here appears to be talking literally about physicality and fitness, I think this has strong applicability to the vitality of the mind. How is a life lived, if not in the pursuit of knowledge? Seriously, why exist to merely participate in the passing of time, and drawing of breath? I don’t think you have to be a scholar in life, but I think one should attempt ceaselessly to learn, it doesn’t have to be literary, it doesn’t have to have “real life applicability” but why not read the plaque on that bench you sit on, why not look above shoulder height when you walk down Queen street, why not question the things you see?”
Learning is definitely hard, I don’t consider myself to be particularly creative, and my concentration levels in areas of self-improvement leave a lot to be desired, but I’m going to keep trying.
I’ll take pleasure from the strategy I implement in a fantasy world created by 10 nerds in a basement, I’ll smile at the wanky art I fail to interpret in the Art Museum, and most importantly I’ll always try share any information as passionately to listeners, as when I received it from some generous soul.
Knowledge Of Self is like life after death
With that you never worry about your last breath