Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Are Real Men Even Capable of Leisure?

The "leisure labor paradox" is a simple one.

Do you work or do you goof off?

Obviously you'd prefer to good off, but the real world requires you at least labor a little bit to sustain yourself.

The problem though with such a simple statement is that it ignores the biological and darwinistic conditioning of men for eons.  Until recently (meaning, the past 300 years) men have been genetically programmed to keep working, not just to survive, but to secure a stable future.

Don't work?

Fine, hope next winter is particularly harsh and you didn't squirrel enough nuts away.

Oops?  You died?

Too bad, the men who did work harder than necessary will continue to breed their "pro-work" genes into future society, reinforcing that work ethic.

The reason I bring it up is to ask the question can men even turn off their work ethic?

Oh, I know, I know, generations of inferior men who've lived off of welfare, government subsidy, OWS-hipster-paretnal-subsidy, and parasitism can easily socially engineer themselves out of any biological hard-wiring, but for those of us who actually give a care about the future, can you turn it off?  Much as I want to enjoy the decline, and much as I am successful at it, what precisely does a REAL man do with 5 hours per day in leisure?  Video games are fun and all, but inevitably I cannot refute my biological imperative to produce something of value.

Mayhaps, some liberal men can help me?  Mayhaps some OWS "professional activist" types can guide me?  Mayhaps some fratboydaddywarbucks can guide me as to what I do with free time and leisure?

Oh, wait, that's right. You're not real men. You require other people to support you.

Never mind.  I guess I'll just teach myself auto-mechanics.


Anonymous said...

You want to enter the OWS world of leisure? The way is simple: take up smoking weed. You'll be an indolent slacker in no time.

Anonymous said...

I spent nearly two years trying to enjoy the decline, and it was tough. I spent a lot of time on Khan Academy, and took other online courses. I cleaned the house. a lot. I wrote a bunch. Watched a lot of TV. It's hard not producing. Gotta tough manual labor job now, and it's a nice change of pace.

El Borak said...

...teach myself auto mechanics. LOL, I'm teaching myself handloading of ammunition presently. The foresighted will find ways around the future's onerous ammunition taxes.

Real men have to turn it off on occasion ("six days shalt thou work" and all that). Men are built to work as cars are built to drive. But each demands a tune up, an oil change, and a cooldown on occasion. Make a conscious effort to turn it off on occasion or you'll burn out or burn up.

Anonymous said...

Yet one man's toil is another man's leisure.
I have basic automotive knowledge, for example. But I derive no more pleasure in changing my alternator or brake calipers than I do from cleaning my bathroom. I feel great satisfaction from the job being finished, but I don't enjoy the process.
I have friends on the other hand, who light up like a video game junkie in from of a big screen HD when they have a toolbox in their hand and a car to tinker with.

Don't ignore the most important category of them all, Cap: PRODUCTIVE LEISURE. It's the wave of the future.

patrick kelly said...

"Video games are fun and all, but inevitably I cannot refute my biological imperative to produce something of value."

This is the mechanism of video game addiction. They provide a convincing illusion of producing or achieving something of value. I'm kicking nazi zombie ass, I'm running a civilization, I'm throwing the winning Super Bowl pass, when all you're really doing is pressing buttons and staring at blinking pixels.

August said...

Goofing off is how stuff gets invented. I think it was Celia Green who first clued me into the fact that the old aristocracy and family fortunes were actually the funding sources for innovation. Unfortunately, now the government takes all that money and gives it to companies like Solyndra.
Anyway, you might not have the money, but you have the time. Enjoy your pseudo-aristocracy.

Humungus said...

Hmm, I've found it to be the exact opposite; that real men are the ONLY ones who are actually capable of true leisure. Only people who lack purpose or self identity are antsy without having 'work' to do.

I think the difference is that men do the productive work when it needs to be done, but I wouldn't say they need to do it like you are implying. At least I sure don't.

I guess it depends on on what exactly you mean by 'leisure'*, but if you seriously can't fill 5 hours a day with leisure I would say you're a little uptight.

* I would personally include things like working out, martial arts training, gardening, hiking, camping, hunting, shooting, building things, art, playing an instrument, or pretty much any other hobby. as well as things like watching movies, reading, internet surfing, etc.

Anonymous said...

learn a musical instrument...

I recommend guitar...

heck, maybe you can even join a band or sit in at a blues jam after a few years of study...

Greg said...

I think you can turn it off. I have a friend who became a millionaire on Wall Street in his 20s and then retired around age 30.

Of course, he still has a lot of hobbies. For instance, he is a top chess player and spends a lot of time with that.

Something like chess allows him to still express a competitive drive.

M. Steve said...

@ Anon 6:11

The reason that stereotype exists is because all of the doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., who smoke cannibis keep it secret, whereas slackers embrace "weed culture" to fill the emptiness in their souls.

Anonymous said...

I gather and chop wood, I garden, hunt(both large and small game), do alota fish'n, I then spend a lot of time canning, drying, and preserving my own bounties.

I own my little urban working class home/homestead free and clear. Property taxes and hose insurance are my biggest expenses. I own and drive a mid sized SUV that is paid for. I do all this on less than $3,000.00 a year.

I do work my ass off, but no one else but me enjoys the fruit of my labors. There are plenty to do if you are willing and able, and when I gave up the consumeristic lifestyle awhile back, I find that I am a more free man than I have ever been since I myself will no longer work for "The Man" as a wage slave.

By The Sword said...

El Borak,

You could always trade the re-loaded ammo for food and goods... there's no tax on the barter system.

Anonymous said...

When I "retired" early a few years ago, people asked me what I would do with my time. I can count the days I have been idle since on one hand!

Anonymous said...

"Fastest way to kill a man, prevent him from working"

Translation from the trad. French idiom.

Lib Arts Major Making $31k/yr said...

Learn and practice science, music, fitness, martial arts (includes weapons and guns), language, etc...

Most useful of these two would probably be science (Inorganic Chemistry), Weapons, or Fitness.

You could always do them all.

William Hughes said...

Improve yourself.

Unknown said...


Always try to outdo yourself when practicing a specific skill or hobby that you happen to be talented at. A couple of years of self studying can really go a long way to getting some extremely important, life changing advice. Get your work out there.

That ought to take your mind off the decline.

Anonymous said...

I've signed up for a blacksmithing course and also found a hackerspace group who are into robotics, 3D printing etc. Golf is fun too. If i lived in the US I'd be going hunting all the time, become a weaponsmith or something.

Anonymous said...

I really dont want to enjoy the decline. I'd rather turn the tide. The real question is whether to try to fight back directly, or let it burn (with all the risk that comes with it) and rebuild.

Anonymous said...

Blacksmithing, robotics, 3D printing. If I lived in the US, I'd be going hunting all the time.

Anonymous said...

Robotics, blacksmithing, 3D printing. I find getting out of the house is essential otherwise I just slouch around doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

A guy called Alvin Toeffler wrote a book called "Future Shock" about 40 years ago. It was about what the future was going to look like when robots took over all the heavy lifting and we all had lots of leisure time. Its been a long time since I read it but as I recall he talks about the "prosumptive economy". He surmised that we would all have less money, but more time, so we would start doing for ourselves what we currently pay other people to do. I don't do as much of these things as I would like because I still work six days a week.

I make my own wine and beer, pickles, jams, bread - I have even scavenged wind blown wheat out of ditches and processed and ground my own grain to make bread. I hunt, I fish, I make my own furniture. You can eat really well for really cheap if you have the time and skill to cook all your own food from scratch. Although my kids go to a public school, I spend a lot of time teaching my children their math and reading and they help with all of the above. - minuteman

If I was in difference circumstances I would buy a small acreage in a remote area and live off the land to the greatest extent possible. I do what I can while living in a small city, and working 60 hours a week. - minuteman

Paul, Dammit! said...

It's worth considering that creative hobbies take patience, skill, drive, initiative and effort. Fits nicely with the definition of 'work' in every sense of the word. I'd suggest that it's correct to lump hobbies into both work and leisure categories, since the ability to carry them out requires input intrinsic to both categories, and an output that closely mirrors the goals of both, too. Leisure activities that involve working with your mind or hand (with the exclusion of Pavlovian behavioral trials like video gaming) are, like sports, surrogates to satisfy an instinctual need that is otherwise costly in terms of time or commitment.
Also, diversion is synonymous with fun, from the latin. It's more telling with you think that it's so culturally ingrained that our behaviors benefit from doing two forms of work that our language evolved to make the second job (hobby) synonymous with having a good time.

Bill said...

Write! You're good at it.

That or commit to learning the applications and inner workings of a Ma Deuce.

Karl said...

Light-up a cigar and read Soviet history.

You'll stay busy, and you'll know what Obama is going to do before he knows!


Anonymous said...

There's also playing poker professionally. You provide a valuable good in a fair market exchange (the chance for someone else to make money from you, and the entertainment they derive from that effort) and can be handsomely rewarded financially for your efforts if you are smart and disciplined. Many find the activity itself to be quite pleasurable.

Best pursued as a leisure activity. Due to normal statistical fluctuations it is unreliable as a steady income stream. You must be disciplined about keeping track of your efforts as well, and avoid self-delusion about your ability to consistently be profitable over time. If you find that you are not profitable, then you are not a professional poker player, you are a Mark, and need to find another hobby immediately.

Poker, like retail, is all about location and timing. To play profitably, focus on the time that there is the most "Stupid Money" on the table, i.e., Friday evenings, Saturday from about 2:00 pm, some Sunday games. The rest of the time I recommend small game hunting and fishing.


Anonymous said...

I'm the opposite Cap. I have an arts degree and I've been a slacker since I was a teenager. Slacker men are unnatural; they are the successful products of the education system. I want to work now, but its hard to get start because I pissed away my youth.
When you look at the founding fathers you find men who started their apprenticeships at 13, educated themselves on the side, and for leisure pursued what we today define as work.
So what is work?
Work is something you don't want to do. Its what you learn from school and you spend the rest of your life trying to avoid it.
However, for kids who don't have their natural curiosity and drive beaten out of them by the ed system its not work...

Dave said...

The French do not share your love of work. They call it "travail", from the Latin verb "tripaliare", meaning "to hang someone from a large tripod and slow-cook him alive over an open fire".

Anonymous said...

Unfortuately, I do work my ass off in a high stress job and my health has taken a toll from it. But it is so unnatural to not push to be your best and be the best.

Have always been a do it yourself person, so I'm always doing something and when I'm not, I'm thinking about the next big thing in the queue

When I retire I plan to start a fun leisure business making and selling trebuchets, cross-bow cannons and other such ancient/medieval weaponry.

Not really, maybe take piano, voice and dance lessons. Always wanted to be a entertainer. Maybe learn to do standup.

Always wanted to build a hot rod too. Probably not gonna happen.

Men tend to be what they do, not what they are.

Anonymous said...

The historical norm in hunter gatherer times was two or three hours of work a day.

Even in medieval agriculture work days were pretty short, and you spent a good four months of the year doing practically nothing, just sleeping a lot. Harvest season was brutal long days, but only for a short stretch.

Anonymous said...

Ehh, I read books an sleep in. Then I party.

Probable should be more productive.