Home
Loading
  Contact Us    
The Twins of Wasted Time

The perils of indulgence and martyrdom.


by James Leroy Wilson
February 27, 2002

Bookmark and Share


The Twins of Wasted Time_James Leroy Wilson-The perils of indulgence and martyrdom. The promotional poster discovered at the Christian bookstore was for a new book called "What Would Jesus Eat?" It's an extension of the "What Would Jesus Do" fad in evangelical Christianity.

Now Jesus, of whom Christianity claims is all-knowing, wouldn't chow down an entire package of Oreos in one sitting. Jesus would know that too much of a good thing makes a person sick. If you lack the intuition to stop yourself from eating it all, you will subsequently learn the lesson. Having learned the lesson after getting sick, you could then "repent" of your error and not do it again. It's called life experience and common sense. If you kept doing it, Jesus would probably consider it a "sin." Not because he would normally care one way or the other what people eat, but because you're being deliberately foolish and at war against your own body. Just stop eating bags of Oreos in one sitting, and things are right with Jesus. Don't deliberately hurt yourself. You'd think we wouldn't need Jesus to help us where our own sense of life and interest in survival would already send us the clear messages.

Food is more than sustenance, it's pleasure. Just as everything else should be in life. Too much of anything - doing it even when the pleasure ceases, and it's a problem. Work should not be dreary, and leisure should not be boring. Wasted time comes in two varieties. The first is doing damage to my own body compulsively, because I've let it become a habit, and habits are hard to break. The second is acting only out of a sense of obligation with no purpose or end, doing something because I think I have to do it, even though doing it advances my interests in no discernible way. Acting out of a sense of guilt. Wasted time is needless harm to oneself under the guise of pleasure, and needless sacrifice to others under the guise of "virtue." Grasping at comfortable habits which themselves keep one miserable, is wasted time. So is proving to yourself and others that you will make sacrifices in the name of "compassion."

By guilt, I don't mean the discipline of necessity, of quitting the comfortable habits that keep one in misery in order to obtain better habits and happier conditions. The road from one to the other can be difficult indeed. Tom Landry called coaching "getting a person to do what he doesn't want to do in order to achieve what he wants to achieve." Submitting to the demands of discipline is not wasted time, it is making one's life better. Better as in happier - more enjoyable. More genuinely pleasurable.

The twin complexes of wasted time, indulgence and martyrdom, are reactions in response to oppressive social institutions, whether they be government, the church, or the family. Indulgence is rebellion against the pious demands others make on the individual. Rebellion, but not revolution. The basic premise that the world works the way "society" says it must work is not seriously questioned by the self-indulgent person. Whereas martyrdom is going overboard in one's agreement with the social structures. They say I must be kind, and I am kind. They say I must give to those less fortunate, and I do. They say I must be humble, and I am; actually, the only ones who know how good I really am are God and me.

I think it is Jean-Paul Satre who wrote that "hell is other people." He might be on to something. Inheriting the prejudices, unquestioned assumptions, and jealousies of others, and incorporating their condemnation or approval into one's own moral compass, is missing the point. An individual is personally responsible for attaining happiness; circumstances determined by other people, and relationships determined by one's self, can influence the condition of an individual. But when one awakes in the morning, and sees the light from the sun and inhales the air of the earth, the only rational conclusion is that the world works for good and that one's own happiness lies chiefly in not screwing it up for ourselves or others. We help each other not because we have to, but because we love each other. And we have fun not out of rebellion, but because we love ourselves. The good life is not submitting to, or rebelling against, the demands of others, but choosing for ourselves. And the more that one chooses to love, the happier that individual will be. The best things in life are not done under compulsion.

(0 Comments)
Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*


Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Location:


Comments:*
Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.



Verification:
Please type the letters you see above.

  Printer-Friendly

Bookmark and Share


PO BOOKS BY JAMES LEROY WILSON
Ron Paul Is a Nut (and So Am I)
Published September 10, 2008

Forget about red states and blue states. Wilson's unique take on political topics is refreshingly not politics as usual.

» Buy Now
» More Information
RSS FEED
RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson: RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson
EMAIL ALERTS
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
The Twins of Wasted Time
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by James Leroy Wilson
47 for 46 for 45
My favorite movies since when I was born
by James Leroy Wilson, 3/15/16
Hired Gun Quarterbacks
They rarely win the Super Bowl.
by James Leroy Wilson, 2/9/16
Fixing Football's Overtime
Get rid of the coin toss!
by James Leroy Wilson, 1/19/16
Solving the NBA's Conference Imbalance
Get rid of them!
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/26/15
The Problem of School
We develop differently, but arbitrary age rules punish us.
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/19/15
Deflating and defaming Tom Brady
Punishing without evidence
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/12/15
Should Floyd Mayweather be allowed to fight?
The Nevada Athletic Commission is wrong, but not for the reason you think.
by James Leroy Wilson, 4/28/15
» Complete List (565)


RSS FEED
RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson: RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson

Recently Published
View Article May I Be Frank, Mr. President?
Challenging a double standard in the Oval Office
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/15/17
Salvator Mundi
Not the painting but the Person
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/7/17
When the Newsman Becomes News
Lamenting yet another fallen hero
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/1/17
Let's Hear It for Moms and Pops
Celebrating Small Business Saturday in a very personal way
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/17
An Earthquake in La La Land
Examining what's been exposed in the rubble
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/17/17
Where is God?
Reflecting on the tragedy in a little Texas town
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/10/17
An All Saints Day Tribute
Remembering those who left us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/3/17

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.


RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2017 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top