Leisure-Its Uses and Abuses
Our forefathers lived in villages. They had only a few wants which could be met from the produce of the fields. There was no need to work hard throughout the year as in the present age. They had ample leisure to spend in games, gossip or meditation. They led simple and contented lives.
With the development of modern civilization, the wants of men have multiplied. There is an abnormal hurry in the pursuit of wealth. As a result man has become too busy. Whenever he is not working, he is busy in thinking and planning. So his body and mind gets very little rest. This has produced a great amount of stress and tension in the mod-ern man.
Naturally we welcome our leisure time, as this has be-come rather scarce. Leisure provides relaxation and this lengthens one’s life. In fact the more leisure a man enjoys, the longer is the life that he will have. If leisure is cut short, life will also become short. A man is really fortunate who is master of his own time and manages to get some leisure everyday to relax and dream his dreams for a short while. How unlucky and pitiable is a man who has to keep himself busy throughout the day and the best part of the night With-out any period of leisure. Thus leisure plays an important role in human life. As a poet has truly said.
‘What is this life, if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare’
But care should be observed how we use our leisure. Our character can be formed by the way we use our leisure. Many people become great only by devoting their leisure to selfless social work. That man alone can be said to be truly living who is something besides being what his daily work makes him. No one is great by his profession but he can become great by giving his leisure time to the service of society. This use of leisure can give us mental relief and satisfaction; can also bring public respect to us.
The second use of leisure should be to spend it in merry-making and enjoyment, best of all in the company of one’s friends. We would be making our lives short if we work even in the little amount of leisure we can snatch from our daily routine of life or do not enjoy the same to the fullest extent. It is right to do what we like in our leisure time, if we want to prepare ourselves for the next day’s battle of life.
Enjoyment should never be condemned. No argument can be advanced against rest and relaxation. Rest is a sponge to rub fatigue out. But care should be taken against misuse of the means of enjoyment. Suppose one enjoys taking drinks occasionally. So far so good. But one day this may become a part of the daily routine of his life and then it will become a vice which will be disliked by society and also bring ruin to himself and his family. Again, reading of books is a very good means of relaxation and mental enjoyment. But if one reads only low literature find light fiction he would only invite physical and mental degradation. In sorting out correct hobby and enjoyment lies the essence of the proper use of our leisure.
A person in a village used to teach little boys and girls in his spare time. Within a short period all the children of the village and the surrounding areas became proficient in the three R’s—reading, writing and arithmetic. The person did this good without even being aware of it. A good action is its reward. Thus there are so many modes of enjoyment which provide rest and relaxation and also does immense good to oneself and to the society at the same time.
The use of leisure always depends upon the amount of spare time one has at one’s disposal. Take the case of the poorer classes. They work hard throughout the day with very little wages and have very little leisure. So they want to enjoy and rest their body as much as they can during their periods of Leisure. And due to their lack of education and proper understanding they take to drinking cheap liquors which they think is the medicine to bring relief to their troubled minds and bodies.
There are, however, many cases, where people do not use their leisure properly, even if they have plenty of it. So we find bored young men from the richer classes indulging themselves in all sorts of vices in our country as well as in the countries of the West. The ‘hippie’ cult is the result of this boredom of life and misuse of one’s leisure.
The leisured classes, people who have very little to do to earn their livelihood, have heavy responsibility to the nation. They should not waste their spare time in mere sleeping and chatting and going to clubs. It will be a great national loss if one loses his leisure time in such petty trifles. We should know how to put our leisure to proper use.