“The world has wasted a total of 200,000 years playing the Angry Birds game - much of that in the last 12 months alone. Just imagine what we could have accomplished if that time was spent productively.”
Fareed Zakaria’s facebook status (via almaswithinalmas)
You’ve seen me use the word puritanicalism before, and this is a perfect example of America’s relationships with work and with leisure. American puritanicalism tells us that all of our time must be productive. Productive time does stuff: it cooks or cleans, it balances checkbooks or makes slide presentations, it engineers bridges or fixes potholes. We come to believe that play is wrong, that we aren’t allowed to have fun. So we Americans take vacations, and we bring our Blackberry and laptop with us. We answer work-related calls instead of being in the moment with those we love. And we never, ever, ever play.
The truth of the matter is that play is tremendously important, for children and for adults. When we insist that all of our time must be productive — defined in such limiting ways — then we exclude intuition and creativity, which are such amazing gifts. When we never let ourselves play, our brains never get to take a break, and we get sick. Play is important. True leisure is absolutely critical. It is in these times of rest or relaxation when our minds come up with truly amazing answers.
Puritanicalism poisons our roots. It kills the very things we need to grow and thrive, like relaxation and play. It also tells us that nudity always equals sexuality, that drinking alcohol is always wrong, and that we must always be wary or even fearful that not only are our actions good and right but our thoughts be also.
Yeah, it’s possible to indulge too much in play, to be truly lazy or slothful. But it’s really hard to find Americans who do this. We’re all too afraid that God will hurl down lightning bolts upon us for not keeping all our time productive.
Ignore Mr. Zakaria. Go play some more Angry Birds or World of Warcraft or, my favorite game lately, Glitch. Give your mind and body a rest. You’ll be amazed how much it does for you.
Well done Wooliebear. Well done. My only addition would be to also consider playing without a screen in front of you. Get the blankets out, it’s fort time. Tape up some cardboard boxes, because you need a rocket ship. Get a red rubber ball, because, well, you can do lots of things with a red rubber ball.