Just recently I have subjected my past-time activities to the scrutiny that a reasonable man might impose on them. When thinking of the things I enjoy in my spare time I decided to categorized them into 2 main factions: Productive–as they promote either intellectual, physical, or spiritual improvement–or counter productive, which denotes the contrary. My hobbies included but are not completely limited to: fitness, academia, reading, surfing social media, watching movies or TV, and lest I forget… napping. 

Surfacing from the depths of this analyzation began to grow an interesting concept which helped me determine whether a particular activity was beneficial or not. The idea first came to me when I placed movie-watching under my timeful-mindful microscope. After critically reviewing all possible justifications for allowing myself to watch whatever I wanted, this is what I determined: Movie watching could fall into either category depending on the content of the movie. What I mean by this is that if the movie is thought provoking, enriching the knowledge of my culture, or encouraging me to think creatively, then it is productive. If the movie was out weighed by its counterpart (pure entertainment) then it is counter productive. 

This simple realization gave way to yet another interesting idea.

Though art and entertainment are usually held in the same regard, I find them to be of the same nature but entirely different in their causalities. Think of it like this: Cheetos are a type of food, and so is broccoli. Cheetos may taste delicious but are not good for me, and Broccoli is good for me regardless of its taste. In this example Art is my broccoli and entertainment the Cheetos. 

Art is the subtextual narrative that our culture portrays to its future generations. True art is always thought provoking, enriching, and inspires creativity. On the opposing side, submersing one’s self into entertainment that fails to meet these criteria is an act to escape reality, thus doing nothing positive for ones self. Arguing the contrary would be to say: eating junk food makes me feel better, so I can focus on being healthier….

There is nothing wrong with being thoroughly entertained– assuming its appropriation and content is valuable to its constituent, of which, that value is reasonably defined by one’s purpose. Here you find an argument to entertain even the most stoic of its consumers. 

So when it comes to choosing how I shall fill my spare time, the answer is easy… 
I choose broccoli. 

Andrew T. Ramirez