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Leisure and Boredom


  1.Leisure and Boredom

  2.Technology and the division of labour have done two things:

  3.by eliminating in many fields the need for special strength or skill,

  4.they have made a very large number of paid occupations

  5.which formerly were enjoyable work into boring labour,

  6.and by increasing productivity

  7.they have reduced the number of necessary labouring of the population,

  8.that is to say, its labourers,

  9.will have almost as much leisure as in earlier times was enjoyed by the aristocracy.

  10.It seems interesting and relaxing good news at the first sight,

  11.but when one recalls how aristocracies in the past actually behaved,

  12.the prospect is not cheerful.

  13.The past aristocracies invented a lot of activities to make fun out of boredom,

  14.however, the problem of dealing with boredom may be even more difficult

  15.for such a future mass society than it was for aristocracies.

  16.The latter, for example, ritualized their time;

  17.there was a season to shoot grouse,

  18.a season to spend in town, a season to hold a lot of parties, etc.

  19.The masses are more likely to replace an unchanging ritual by fashion

  20.which it will be in the economic interest of certain people to change as often as possible.

  21.Again, the masses cannot go in for hunting,

  22.for very soon there would be no animals left to hunt.

  23.For other aristocratic amusements like gambling, dueling, and warfare,

  24.it may be only too easy to find equivalents in dangerous driving,

  25.drug-taking, and senseless acts of violence.

  26.Workers seldom commit acts of violence,

  27.because they can put their aggression into their work,

  28.be it physical like the work of a smith,

  29.or mental like the work of a scientist or an artist.

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