work and play
what do we mean by leisure, and why should we assume that it represents a problem to be solved by the arts? the great ages of art were not conspicuous for their leisure—at least, art was not an activity associated with leisure. it was a craft like any other, concerned with the making of necessary things. leisure, in the present meaning of the word, did not exist. leisure, before the industrial revolution, meant no more than "time" or "opportunity"; "if your leisure served, i would speak with you. " says one of shakespeare's characters. phrases which we still use, such as "at your leisure", preserve this original meaning.
but when we speak of leisure nowadays, we are not thinking of securing time or opportunity to do something; time is heavy on our hands, and the problem is how to fill it. leisure no longer signifies a space with some difficulty secured against the pressure of events: rather it is a pervasive emptiness for which we must invent occupations. leisure is a vacuum, a desperate state of vacancy—a vacancy of mind and body. it has been commandeered ( 强占) by the sociologists and the psychologists: it is a problem.
our diurnal existence is divided into two phases, as distinct as day and night. we call them work and play. we work so many hours a day, and, when we have allowed the necessary minimum for such activities as eating and shopping, the rest we spend in various activities which are known as recreations, an elegant word which disguises the fact that we usually do not even play in our hours of leisure, but spend them in various forms of passive enjoyment or entertainment—not football but watching football matches; not acting, but theatre-going; not walking, but riding in a motor coach.
we need to make, therefore, a hard-and-fast(不能变通的) distinction not only between work and play but, equally, between active play and passive entertainment. it is, i suppose, the decline of active play—of amateur sport— and the enormous growth of purely receptive entertainment which has given rise to a sociological interest in the problem. if the greater part of the population, instead of indulging in sport, spend their hours of leisure "viewing" television programmes, there will inevitably be a decline in health and physique. and, in addition, there will be a psychological problem, for we have yet to trace the mental and moral consequences of a prolonged diet of sentimental or sensational spectacles on the screen. there is, if we are optimistic, the possibility that the diet is too thin and unnourishing to have much permanent effect on anybody. nine films out of ten seem to leave absolutely no impression on the mind or imagination of those who see them: few people can give a coherent account of the film they saw the week before last, and at longer intervals they must rely on the management to see that they do not sit through the same film twice.
we have to live art if we would be affected by art. we have to paint rather than look at paintings, to play instruments rather than go to concerts, to dance and sing and act ourselves, engaging all our senses in the ritual and discipline of the arts. then something may begin to happen to us: to work upon our bodies and our souls.
it is only when entertainment is active, participated in, practiced, that it can properly be called play, and as such it is a natural use of leisure. in that sense play stands in contrast to work, and is usually regarded as an activity that alternates with work. it is there that the final and most fundamental error enters into our conception of daily life.
work itself is not a single concept. we say quite generally that we work in order to make a living: to earn, that is to say, sufficient tokens which we can exchange for food and shelter and all the other needs of our existence. but some of us work physically, cultivating the land, minding the machines, digging the coal; others work mentally, keeping accounts, inventing machines, teaching and preaching, managing and governing. there does not seem to be any factor common to all these diverse occupations, except that they consume our time, and leave us little leisure.
we may next observe that one man's profession or work is often another man's recreation or play. the merchant at the weekend becomes a hunter (he has not yet taken to mining); the clerk becomes a gardener; the machine-tender becomes a breeder of bull-terriers ( 叭喇狗）there is, of course ， a sound instinct behind such transformations. the body and mind are unconsciously seeking compensation—muscular coordination, mental integration. but in many cases a dissociation is set up and the individual leads a double life—one half jekyll, the other half hyde(有善恶双重性格的人)- there is a profound moral behind that story of stevenson's, for the compensation which a disintegrated personality may seek will often be of an anti-social nature. the nazi party, for example, in its early days was largely recruited from the bored—not so much from the unemployed as from the street-corner society of listless hooligans.
scientific studies have been made of street-corner society, out of which crime, gangsterdom, and fascism inevitably develop. it is a society with leisure—that is to say, spare time—and without compensatory occupation. it does not need a satan to find mischief for such idle hands. they will spontaneously itch to do something: muscles have a life of their own unless they are trained to purposeful actions. actions, or rather activities, are the obvious reflex to leisure; they consume it, and leave the problem solved.
but work is also activity, and if we reach the conclusion that all our time must be filled with one activity or another, the distinction between work and play becomes rather meaningless, and what we mean by play is merely a change of occupation. we pass from one form of activity to another; one we call work, and for that we receive pay; the other we call play, and for that we receive no pay—on the contrary, we probably pay a subscription.
1. the industrial revolution brought about a change in the nature of people's work as well as in the amount of time it took.
2. passive entertainment, which has increased in our age, leads to a decline in health and may also create psychological problems.
3. the division of activities into work and play is unsatisfactory because it conceals the important distinction between active entertainment and passive entertainment.
4. mental work is more beneficial to one's psychology than physical work.
5. the nazi party was mostly enrolled from the jobless.
6. tv programs should be abandoned because they entertain viewers passively.
7. the word "leisure" has completely changed its original meanings.
8. danger may arise if work and play are not______coordinated.
9. when entertainment is active, play can serve as an activity that______work.
10. one man may perceive another man's recreation as______.