In this paper, I will talk about my philosophy on life first and then walk to my leisure philosophy and the theories. Then I will summarize how those leisure philosophies play a role in my choice of leisure service.
When it comes to philosophy on life, especially “my” philosophy on life, it sounds like an open question that individuals could have their own opinions. However, I want to first point out, this is just an illusion. Considering the “Brain in a Vat” argument, what’s the different between a brain in a vat and a real person? There may be no difference that can be detected by the brain, but the difference exists. What makes me different from a brain in a vat is that I could communicate with other people, and my life experiences are meaningful to other people. If I were a brain in a vat that had been on Mars, and I share this experience to other people, people may believe me because what I say is the same as what I really did. Nonetheless, if people wanted to duplicate my experience, they wanted to do what I did, they may fail. Therefore, the key point is that, whether my experience is meaningful does not depend on whether it’s real or fake but depends on whether other people could have similar experience with me or not. For instance, consider a guy that has never been to Himalayas, he is just infusing a memory of another person who has really been to Himalayas in his brain. And then he told others about his experience, others can come to Himalayas and verify what he experienced (though what he has is just memory). On the other hand, even when a person has really been on Mars, if others could not follow his path, the experience could not be achieve by others. As a result, this experience will be meaningless and be forgotten in history. To summarize, everyone could has his or her philosophy on life, but whether the philosophy is meaningful to other people depends on whether the philosophy’s experiential basis are conceivable to enough people. At this time I am writing my philosophy, I know it’s important to write something which could be understood by others, at least be understood by my friends in Taiwan.
While composing this paper, I also read some novels from the assignments of the English course. I think this is not a coincidence. Novels are good appetizers for our journey of exploring the philosophy on life. I believe that many people will think they are representing a role when they were reading novel, and some of them also wanted to live in the novel if they could. Regretfully, we are in the real world and reality bites. But, think about it, what is reality? As I mentioned before, reality is basically the majorities’ experiences. If you could think differently by following my thought, in some sense, we are in a novel! (Though, not only reality is cruel, novel is also.) If the writer is willing to, he or she can make Earth as a land of milk and honey and we can do leisure activities every day without any anxiety and we would not need to work. Maybe you would ask the question, “If we have a writer, then the writer must be evil. After all, how can a righteous writer endure such a miserable world?” However, have you ever read a novel that people lived happily from beginning to the end? Take “Hunger Game” (New York Times Bestseller) as an example, if the game was abolished because it’s brutal in the writer’s brain, not only the people in the Capitol will lose their entertainment, but also us. If you feel it’s a pity that Suzanne Collins to resign her idea, it would also be a pity if all the tragedies in our world were to be canceled. We like tragedy at least when we are audience, that’s why it happened.
To go deeper, why do we like tragedy? Tragedy, evil, catastrophe, pain……all of these motivate us to use our mind to avoid them. If the weather were not too cold or hot, how could engineers make air conditioning appliances to make money and win honors? Each negative thing in our life offers a prize for individual who removes it, that’s how the life game works. But since not every situation gives the same pain for each group, we should notice that the prize is community based. Therefore, we are back to the first point. Not only your philosophy and your experience are community based, your works and prizes are also. Mankind is set with several pains and desires on earth. Some may think the desire of survival and breeding are the most important. However, I will say the most important is to fight for honor. Take soccer as an example, it’s all about whether a ball has passed through an absolutely arbitrary surface defined as goals placed on a patch of lawn. However, soccer fans were extremely excited about this event as if it were the end of World War, the Moon landings, or the fall of Berlin Wall. (Richards, 2010, p. 10) This definitely shows that the things that benefit our survival do not determine the value, but the things that is identified and accepted by the community (all soccer fans and professionals) do. Survival and breeding is just one kind of prize. “You are in a game, go and win the prize your community or audiences want.” That’s my annotation of life.
As far as we go, the main problem of life is to select or find communities. Community defines what kinds of achievement worth the prizes and also gives you a belief system. What I mean by community is a virtual group that includes people who have the same belief and appreciate the same thing. For instance, all the people that liked van Gogh can be viewed as an impressionism community. Though they don’t know about each other, they have the same judgment of what beauty is. Online gaming community best explains this concept. Each online game has its specific worldview and gives prizes to people who accomplish specific tasks. Those tasks are useless in real life, but people in the online gaming community endow them value, and sometimes the value even worth more than food and necessities of life. Scientists can also be viewed as a community since that they think the experimental verifiable knowledge is the most valuable thing in life. (Though Richard Feynman once said physics is not the most important thing, love is. But this just shows his favorite virtual community is a community views love as the most important thing.) The value of things polarizes in different communities. For instance, scientists may think sport players are stupid because they just compete with each other and produce nothing. On the contrary, sport players may think scientists are boring because they seek to find some eternal law so their lives are lack of change. I don’t mean that each community thinks their interests are the only things valuable. I just want to point out what one community think as valuable could be viewed as valueless in another community.
Also, actual community is important. Though actual community is usually mixed with a lot of different values, the actual community determines what you can pursue in your life. You needed to live in Korea so that you can choose online game player as a profession. Lots of countries have their own sport leagues, but not each of them is well organized. In some place the education of science is very poor and the residents will have only a little chance to become scientists or engineers. Usually people are not born in a place that 100% fit them. Therefore the first half of life is to find an actual community suits your virtual community. If you can find an actual community that offers the job which gives you the chance of earning the prizes you like, you are lucky. I will say that your job is your leisure. However, if you fail in this stage and your job is routine but you need it for your survival. Then, leisure gives you the second chance to win prizes and seek the sense of achievement.
In those theories introduced by Pastimes, I identify with compensation theory most. Compensation explanation claims people participate in those activities that satisfy the needs that they couldn’t satisfy at work. (Russell, 2009, p. 67) This theory could be expanded to my definition of leisure’s function—for people to seek sense of achievement that they could not get from their jobs. For example, I wanted to be a professional soccer player but I missed my golden period when I was a teenager. I could still seek honor in soccer through participating intramural leagues. Though an intramural championship is not comparable with the European Championship, it’s still meaningful to me. I believe the joy I get from it is even more than getting tenure in a job because I view the soccer community as my favorite community and people in this community give honor to an intramural championship even more than the Nobel prizes. We don’t care about who gets the Nobel Prize and what the advanced science finding is. Neither do we spend our time to understand the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. However, a professional soccer player may do this if being a mathematician is his dream job. Due to the mistake in career, people find compensation in their leisure time and seek honor in it.
Still, don’t be depressive that leisure is just compensation. This is the time that Buddha’s theory about reincarnation comes into place. According to the reincarnation theory, people will be born again after they die. And their habit, all their experience and all of what they learn will accompany them life after life. Therefore, if you fail to get the dream job this life, make an effort on those skills required to the job, and you will have more opportunities next time.
This leisure philosophy built upon reincarnation is very important for the leisure service I want to choose. First, I think it’s important for adolescents to know about different values and communities in our world so that they will have more chance to find the community that fit their characteristics. VALS (Russell, 2009, p. 65) type is a good attempt to categorize people although I think it’s an immature theory. Besides, I think experience is the best teacher. Just like you can’t view one’s portfolio and decide to marry him or her, it also requires experience in choosing a belief system, a job or a leisure activity that you wanted to earn honor in. Therefore I want to hold some camps or even establish a one year program for young people to discover their desire of life and help them find suitable community. Second, I want to create some clubs for amateur to interact and keep learning thing that they are interested in. For sure, I will encourage them that their effort will not be in vain because they will bring those skills and knowledge to their next life.
At the end, I need to talk about a leisure philosophy I reject. I don’t agree with the statement “Watching TV is leisure because it’s non-work.”(Russell, 2009, p. 25) As I discuss above, leisure is a chance for people to get prizes and win the honor endowed by specific community. Therefore non-work is just rest. I don’t think it could be viewed as a kind of leisure.
REFERENCE (Philosophy on life in general)
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REFERENCE (Philosophy of Leisure)
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