“Modern man thinks he loses something –time –when he does not do things quickly; yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains except kill it.” (Fromm 1995 P.86)
In his book the Art of Loving Erich Fromm talks about the Practice of Love and that it needs discipline.
Mastering any Art needs discipline. ‘Being in the mood’ and deciding if you want to start something or not means it is a hobby. You will never become a master of an art this way. To make up for the rigidity of work modern man is undisciplined outside work. To counter the routine of the 9-5pm modern man wants to be lazy, slouch or relax – a reaction to the routinisation of life. Fromm goes on to say that man rebels against this restriction of being at work for another persons’ agenda in the form of infantile self-indulgence. In the battle against enforced authoritarianism he has become distrustful of all discipline. He cannot discriminate between irrational authority and the rational discipline he can exert on himself. Without discipline life lacks concentration. Killing Time.
Fromm argues that much of modern life is unconcentrated and diffuse. We are consumers with our mouths wide open to eat, drink, smoke & watch TV. This lack of concentration is shown in our inability to be alone with ourselves. To sit still is impossible. People become nervous and fidgety.
The third ingredient needed for the mastery of an art which is lost in our culture is patience. Everything is set up for quickness. Machines, transports, IT are all set up to do things quickly! Killing Time.
Does the tendency to relax against the rigidity of work, the inability to concentrate and have patience means we become unfocused and unhappy? Or is the world of work selling us our leisure time to prepare us to go back to work? Whatever our view it seems our leisure time is dominated by our work time, and shapes the way we use it. We do and expect things to happen quickly to create more time: yet squander it in unconcentrated & impatient periods of relaxation. Killing Time.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2014
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.