On the drive in this morning, I was listening to an interview with Crosby, Stills, and Nash. The interviewer, Bob Edwards, asked them "what would you do different?" The unanimous response was "not take drugs, that wasted a lot of time". This statement got me thinking, "what would I do different?"
I've been reading a biography about Werner Heisenberg, the guy who developed the aptly named "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle". This principle states (my interpretation) that you cannot know both the position and velocity of a particle (such as an electron) with any degree of certainty. The reason for this that the mere act of measuring either the position or velocity will change the other value. I know, its deep and hard to grasp (for me at least). Anyway, I have been reading, in depth, about his family and his early years (I'm still at the beginning of the book) and it goes into detail about how young Werner spent his idle time. It seems that he didn't have much idle time, actually. He spent a good deal of time doing schoolwork. This raises a question for me: "what would I do differently if I didn't have the internet or television or other "Time Wasters".
Where would we be as a society if we didn't have as much free time? Does our dependence on technology make us more lazy since it gives us so much more free time? One of the goals of technology is to make life "easier" and I think in many ways it has done that; but has it also made us a group of people without the same work ethic our parents or grandparents had, simply because technology encourages a lifestyle of ease?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying technology is bad. I'm really asking myself these questions while my kids are still at home and I have some time to make a difference in their lives. Should I be working harder? Should I be studying and working to gain knowledge? Should I be just "doing" whatever I can to spend time with my kids? Should I try to set an example to them to spend their time wisely? Or should I enjoy life and reduce the amount of stress in my life by letting technology "do its job" instead of placing a huge guilt trip on myself?
Of course I ask these questions after telling you I have been reading a book about a physicist. I write this as I am preparing for my day while working on a physics research project. But, I did watch a couple of hours of TV last night when I could have gone for a bike ride with one of the most amazing teenagers you will ever want to meet. On the one hand, I did do some house cleaning, but on the other hand there is still more to do. Of course I realize the house will always be there to clean.
So, how do you spend your time? Looking back, how would you spend your time differently? Should you make some changes to what you do? Should you make some changes to how your kids spend their time? Would we, as a society, be in a different place if our kids had less free time?
thanks for reading,