Mood, the Moon and Money.

The Slacker King

The whole scene sux!

A popular, well known cry of many a scener. Just like a loud mouth guest on the Jerry Springer show the statement is designed to shock its audience into some kind of reaction. By voicing an opinion on national television the guest attempts to gain a false respectability, to validate their opinion (no matter how repulsive it may be to everyone else). The show is, let's face it, a soap opera, a low budget theatre in which the audience cheers or hisses depending on today's moral high ground and the skill of the guest actors.

A few sceners take great pleasure in performing to the masses and the easiest stance to gain a large audience is to provoke a war, flame an individual or group. Over time a person's perception of themselves, others and their once precious scene can suddenly reverse from positive into negative, and back again many times over. If things aren't going their way it is all too tempting to assume a negative, destructive mood. Bad day at the office? Some jerk at school/college gave you a really bad time? Then why not fire up your favourite email composer program and let out that stream of burning hate in your mind. Post that ASCII aggression into cyberspace, Now wait for the response. Congratulations, you have just started a flame war. Back stabbing, side-swipes and general bitching is the order of the day, the week and perhaps the month.

Once the virtual bullets have cease you will realise how pointless the whole thing was. All your energy has been spent and what is the result? Less friends and more foes. You have wasted time, that precious commodity of life. The irony is that you have used the phrase "I'm very busy and have no time to do X, or Y takes up all of my 'free' time".

If time = money then does money = time?

Nope. Even the richest person in the world can't pay off the reaper. Sure, they can prolong their life a little more with expensive treatment and quality care, but sooner or later that black scythe owning cultivator of souls will come knocking on their door.

High Productivity

Remember those promises from days gone by of increased productivity, a paper-less office and a guaranteed 150+ year life span? The computer was hyped as being the saviour of mankind, it would free us from laborious tasks. Word processors, spreadsheets and automated tools were the god-sent gifts to break the chains of repetitive jobs. The Internet has increased our ability to communicate with a vast audience and it has reduced the time of other tasks. Research and so development has increased rapidly due to the huge collective information available to everyone with the net connection.

So why are aren't we chilling out for 5 days a week while our robotic servants do the boring stuff?

Well, all those promises of yesterday were false. If anything the great pressure of time falls just as heavily on our shoulders as it did for our predecessors. The good news is that our life spans have increased. So what noble, worthwhile pursuit do we invest this extra precious commodity in? We spend hours chatting on-line using ICQ, IRC and posting e-mails, or we may spend weeks of late nights tapping strange things below a flickering square eye on our desktops. Some would consider all these pursuits as being a waste of time. Nothing has been created in reality.

Yet more time has been successfully wasted away, gone forever, never to return.

Knowledge is power

But we have gained something from our wasted time; knowledge. We have a deeper understanding of a certain topic, our horizons have broadened, our eyes have been opened to new possibilities. We may have even inspired others to build on our knowledge, invest their own creativity and hand it down to the newbies. In a way knowledge really benefits our future citizens far more than ourselves. Just like the famous Newton quote about "Standing on the shoulders of giants" the current scene (and the wider technological field) has been built on the great pioneering efforts of those who have gone before us, blazing an elegant trail through the abstract world of microchips and computers.

There are those (scumbag) companies and individuals who wish to stifle development by using patents, copyrights and vast armies of lawyers. To make a few more bucks at the expensive of knowledge. The result is that others are forced to either pay out large sums of money, or to develop their own methods from scratch, so by wasting more of that precious 'time stuff'.

The Human Gnome Project looked at one point to be heading towards the patent pandemonium with private companies 'creaming their jeans' at the thought of owning someone's genetic material. We might have got into the extreme situation where people would have to subscribe to certain tax, to effectively pay for the privilege of using their own genes. Would we see babies stamped with barcodes and a small (c) Copyright birthmark? Okay, so this will (hopefully) never happen, but the point is that the knowledge and future benefits for those inflicted by a mental and/or physical disorder would be determined by lawyers arguing over patents. In the meantime more precious time is being wasted.

Everything = a waste of time.

So if the scene is a waste of time, then what isn't? Well in fact everything and nothing is.

It's all down to an individual's own feelings towards the activity they are involved in. If a person is engrossed in a pastime then they will not consider it as being a waste of time. It's only after the event, reflecting on previous efforts, that the person might change their opinion and regret investing their time and energy.

There is also the fact that a waste of time now, may actually yield benefits in the future. A whole slew of at-the-time useless discoveries have now become vital components of our lives. At first there may seem to be very little practical application for X, but given time and a small dose of imagination something emerges from the junk pile. So was it a waste of time?

Many companies don't like to take chances with maverick style developments where many attempts crash and burn, never to see the light of day. They often overlook the value of failure, from learning from mistakes, from evolving our perceptions of the world, the universe and ourselves. The human mind needs challenges, the more diverse and complex, the better. It would be unwise to think we have a full understanding of anything. The more we discover, the more we find how little we really know. When an ape started to play around with bones was he wasting his time? Did the other monkeys called him a slacker? Well if they did, they didn't do it for very long. One day the primate took the bone and used it as a tool, most likely as a weapon.

And that Ladies and Gentlemen, is the end of another article. Yet another complete waste of time. We have come along way, from monkeys with bones to.... err... shaved apes with modems.