Volume 94, Issue 81
Thursday, February 15, 2001
Slack Week: A lesson in free time
I love slack week. Since my personal economy revolves around my two jobs and school, which are all situated here on campus, I'll have nothing to do for an entire week. Slack week is for me, 168 hours of undiscovered, uncorrupted and absolutely unspoiled free time. I will be unrestrained for an entire week. I will not be accompanied by the chain gang that is my regimented host of commitments.
I will be at complete liberty.
The possibilities that could be shaped by that amount of time are limitless. I could write the proverbial great Canadian novel, catch up on school or discover a cure for lawyers. Yet, I probably won't get anything done. I'll waste my time doing stupid and stereotypical university guy-with-nothing-to-do things.
Mind you, I won't wrap myself in the school's flag while taking bong hits all week, nor will I drink until my brain and liver transform into a state of matter previously undiscovered by science. That's not my style. But I probably won't accomplish much, no matter how strong my resolve.
What is it about liberty, which captivates the human imagination and ignites our most heated passions; what is it that makes us fight and die for it? And, why in particular, do we tend to waste total freedom once we have it?
It seems the only time we appreciate freedom is when we either don't have it, have very little, or have had it taken away.
At its core, freedom means nothing when we dwell only in the momen,t and coessentially, freedom is everything when we are looking ahead. Freedom is the ability to have the future we desire and to fulfill our dreams. This is a very powerful concept for a human being, since it's the stuff that gives life meaning.
Which explains why people die for the cause of liberation and they die for the mere possibility of a utopian future becoming reality. But still, it explains very little as to why perfectly intelligent people who live in a country like Canada waste that privilege.
Does wasted freedom all come down to laziness? I don't like to think the reason people squander the very thing that gives human existence meaning is laziness. It seems so futile and petty. So small and yet, so probable. The concept is remarkably similar to living with a natural gas leak. The entire situation stinks and what's more, there is always the risk it could blow up in your face.
Maybe it's part of the human identity. Perhaps the ability to waste freedom is part of the Epicurean aspect of liberty itself, the potential ability to have it all.
Whatever it is, it's complicated.
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