Let’s Waste Some Time

by Karthikeyan Ganapathy on October, 2010

in Lifestyle

The clock reads shows the time as being nine hours past noon. I receive a text message saying “sup?” I reply “cycling” If it is someone who does not know me, the invariable reply is “ you’re that jobless?” This reply is ludicrous considering the fact that the opposite party is watching TV which is considered by them not a waste of time.

Parents often yell at children for not studying. They ask them to not “waste time”playing. How is playing time a “waste” when it brings happiness when forced studying brings boredom with no significant addition to potentially usable future knowledge due to lack of interest? Is the latter not a greater waste of time?

John Lennon once said, “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted”

Let us analyse the literal and scientific elements of time-wasting separately before coming to the opinionated theory of the whole. Time is defined as “the continuum in which events occur in succession from the past to the present and on to the future”. In other words it is the flow in which we all live. It is a reference, a convenient frame for ordering the various events and stimuli that define thought and existence.  Waste is literally anything that is “unwanted, unusable and/or undesirable”It is something purely subjective since what is useful for one may be useless to another.

So time-wasting is in essence an undesirable usage of our existence.

Now obviously, playing is something which is “desirable” to the child. Yet it is called a waste OF THE CHILD’s TIME by the parent. This is a serious logical fallacy. Time closes its doors to empathy without exception and mercy. Time is experienced in a totally different way by each and every person. The parent can at most tell that playing would be a waste of THEIR time. By telling that it is a waste of the child’s time, the parent is assuming the mental sensation of time to be the same for both. This is clearly not true. Yet in every other aspect, parents take the utmost pains to point out the difference in age and reassure (mostly to themselves the superiority of their judgement)

Now cycling is clearly an activity that has foreseeable and tangible immediate, short-term and long-term benefits. The physical exercise gained from cycling is generally linked with increased health and well-being. This is easily verifiable from official sources: According to the World Health Organization,

“Physical inactivity is second only to tobacco smoking as a health. Increasing physical activity is a public health ‘best buy’, and cycling is a ‘highly suitable activity’ for this purpose”.

On the other hand, watching the TV has many obvious ill effects on the physical, mental and (dare I say) spiritual health of an individual. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics,

“Children under age eight cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy, making them more vulnerable to learning from and adopting as reality the violence they see on TV”

Obesity is a major problem caused by TV. According to AC Nielsen, a Marketing Intelligence Service,

“People spend an average of 4 hours and 34 minutes a day”

During this time, their mind is less tuned to the amount they eat. Couch potatoes eat snacks nonstop, not even realizing when they get stuffed, but what they don’t realize the most is that they are putting on a lot of weight.


YET I would not be presumptuous enough to say that watching TV is a waste of time.

Yes, it is harmful for the health. But it does bring enjoyment, which is an increasingly scarce commodity in the high pressure world of today which revolves schedules and deadlines.

So what constitutes time-wasting? Now, taking drugs is obviously a waste of time, both at the moment and even more so, in the future. Yet it is desirable to the taker. So at what point is something undesirable even when it is desirable? I do not ascribe to any particular point of view in this argument, simply because my activities span both sides of the debate under consideration.

What I have done, I hope, is given you food for thought.

Photo by Michel Filion

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Aishwarya Sharma October 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm

an article well put together systematically wid all facts n figures in place. kudos!!

Karthikeyan October 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Thanks! :)

Aishwarya Sharma October 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm

an article well put together systematically wid all facts n figures in place. kudos!!