Wasting time is strictly defined as sub optimal pursuits of some quantifiable goal. But also, it is the standards of my social reality bearing judgement upon others and vice-versa.
The concept of wasting time is one linked to quantitative outcomes of the subjective agglomeration of desires – the so-called market. From the vantage of the market, subjectivities are
- fluid, e.g. the faddish desire for quinoa shapes Bolivian agriculture until quinoa loses its prestige,
- ungrounded, e.g. the desire of a new thing could be as much a pet rock as cutting edge communications device, and
- infinite, that is, desire has no end and it is as ‘limitless’ as our imagination.
Then to waste time is to perform activities that are sub optimal to market outcomes. In another sense, however, to waste time is to perform those activities relating to the ecology of self, which I will attempt to construct below.
The ecology of self is a manner of knowing oneself. It is partially hidden from the market and is immensely private. For myself, I love to run. I will run everyday of the week if I could have replaceable limbs (you hear me, market?). However, recently, I put off running for the benefit of my school work. I did achieve my goals at university, but I put off running. So now there is a deep part of me that I had to tuck away, though my schooling will add market value some time in the future. This tucking away of a piece of myself is clearly distressing – so perhaps there is a health penalty for doing so; but none that the market immediately sees and rewards me for. So running is a part of my ecology of self.
I’m sure you have a part of you that is more valuable to yourself than the market. It could be writing, or meditating, or even watching television. As long as it is part of a process both 1) more valuable to the self than to the market and 2) private. To use a classic example, Martha Stewart may actually do less cleaning not because she loses money whenever she does her own cleaning but also because she has lost a bit of herself in her transition to a public figure.
I end with a project to pursue, but who knows if I’ll have the time for it. Sub-optimal market decisions should interest us because of their relationality – their ecology. Should we trust others to betray their private lives for a greater chance to connect with our ecologies of self? What rules exist for our ecologies of self when our capitalist self is unbounded from relational subjectivities?