Sunday, September 20, 2009

Csikszentmihaly, "Baboon Leisure"

"Baboons who live in the African plains spend about one-third of their life sleeping, and when awake they divide their time
between traveling, finding and eating food, and free leisure time - which basically consists in interacting, or grooming each other's fur to pick out lice. It is not a very exciting life, yet not much has changed in the million years since humans evolved out of common simian ancestors. The requirements of life still dictate that we spend our time in a way that is not that different from the African baboons. Give and take a few hours, most people sleep one-third of the day, and use the remainder to work, travel, and rest in more or less the same proportions as the baboons do. And as the historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie has shown, in thirteenth century French villages - which were among the most advanced in the world at the time - the most common leisure pursuit was still that of picking lice out of each other's hair. Now, of course, we have television."

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, "Finding Flow"