Tag Archives: Leisure

Is this true?

14 Dec

“Virtue is the happy medium between two extremes.” La vertu est le juste milieu entre deux vices.

I read Aristotle’s advice in a post by an American woman living in France.  And it caught my attention.  At first blush, it seems ‘reasonable’.  Who wants to argue with avoiding extremes?

But then I thought, what if both the extremes are irrational?  Wouldn’t that indicate that all the points in between were as well? Would it follow that virtue be found half way between the two extremes?

For example:

Either you can spend all your time playing video games or you can spend all your time pursuing extreme sports.

Would Aristotle really advocate spending HALF one’s time amusing oneself with virtual reality and the other half with high-adventure?

Just a few moments of reflection provide evidence that life is BEST lived in reflecting deeply.  Unfortunately we are a rushing culture, one apparently content with oft-meaningless sound bytes.  A good number of people don’t take time to think and reason. Pondering takes leisure, curiosity and time.  Recall that the classical definition of leisure has little to do with ‘free time filled by activity’.  Instead it’s a “spiritual and mental attitude, a state of inward calm, contemplation, serenity and openness”

A new year is coming and if you are the resolution-making kind of logical Joe or Jane, how about challenging yourself to eliminate one extra-curricular activity in your week to make room for some guilt-free sitting and thinking. Your body and soul would certainly benefit and maybe your neighbor as well!

Logical Gal advises – ‘Say what you mean and mean what you say!’

30 Jul

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.

-Henry Brooks Adams, historian (1838-1918)

Clear thinking

In our warped-speed culture, do you find that ANYONE takes the time to develop a thought or inquire into someone else’s ideas?  We ping off of sound bytes before we know what WE think or THEY think!

Over at my other blog – Posts about God’s Word, I mused on 27 July 2014 about how we rush around and drive ourselves nuts.   Technology was supposed to FREE us to pursue leisure, to be less crazy!

And what exactly is leisure?  Classically it has little to do with ‘fun activities’ filling our time off from work.  Instead it referred to the time set aside for contemplation of all that is TRUE, GOOD and BEAUTIFUL. Consider Josef Pieper’s observation about how we spend time and what it does to our soul!

“… the greatest menace to our capacity for contemplation is the incessant fabrication of tawdry empty stimuli which kill the receptivity of the soul.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation


Recently, one of our sons who has a baby and a small child forwarded on an essay based on a study about harm to the brain as an effect of spanking.  He asked for our thoughts.  You can access the report of the findings here:  Spanking Article

Because I was ‘rushed’, I just glanced at the on-line article in typical 21st century SCAN mode.  It ‘appeared’ to be condemning all forms of physical discipline.  When one is checking Facebook or Twitter or other social media sites that share essays, reports and articles, little attention is given to careful reading.  True to my experience, the article APPEARED to be anti-spanking.  I can see the harm I could have done by communicating verbally with another mom or grandmother what I had skimmed.

Read carefully

To my relief, when I took the time to read slowly and with consideration I found the author DID make a distinction between spanking that would be more like battery (think – striking a child with a belt) and the kind that is just a swift swat with a hand, making a clear point.

But the initial paragraph was crafted the way journalists are taught to write – stay broad and general at first, then go into more depth and details in subsequent paragraphs BECAUSE most people don’t read beyond the initial paragraph.

Here’s the rub – do any of us have time enough to read deeply and slowly, giving thought to what we are ingesting and connecting it to previously held and categorized knowledge ?

I, for one, don’t have that kind of time.  So just MAYBE the solution is to read less, but read well.  To speak less, but speak more thoughtfully.  To allocate my ‘free’ time to worthwhile learning.

Then just MAYBE my communications with others might grow more true, more sticky and less ‘thick’ or viscous as historian Henry Adams lamented (quote at beginning of blog post).  Then just MAYBE someone will say:  “That Maria – she often says what she means and means what she says!” 

Question: what about you?  What could you eliminate from your daily ‘intake’? (think: You Tube videos, newspapers, TV, blog posts, Instagram, Pinterest…..)

And as a gift to you, my way-too-busy reader, I have decided for the time-being to upload a post to this site just once a week. In the meantime, I intend to ask God how HE wants me to use the time He has allotted me.