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The Rubinshteinic Philosophy On Killing Time

Updated: 5 days ago

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The Irrationality of Killing Time

It is ironic that even though our lives are limited in duration, it's common to find ourselves wasting them down even further. We might do this through life-shortening substances like smoking and fast food, or through seemingly harmless activities like watching endless television or playing video games (that excludes people who make a living as gamers).

Yet, regardless of how long we expect to live, we all experience stretches of boredom. In these moments, we feel confined by our free time, resorting to "killing" it to bring us – ironically – closer to that inevitable end. Of course, passively filling time doesn't compress our lifespan, but it can leave us with a nagging feeling that we aren't living the life we want to live.

Why We "Kill" Time in a Finite Life

The human mind is composed of a series of contradictions. Our lives are finite, yet we often find ourselves actively reducing them down further, instead of working towards acutalizing our ideal selves. And the irony is that our need to acutalize ourselves might be more basic than we would think.

But why do we do this, especially when opportunities are fleeting and productivity for a better life is an option? This isn't to judge leisure pursuits, but rather to explore the reasons behind them. Here are some possibilities:

The Art of Balance: Relaxation and Productivity

While idle time/downtime is crucial for relaxation and de-stressing, neglecting productive activities can leave us feeling unfulfilled. The key lies in finding a healthy balance.

I, too, enjoy the occasional rest from Philosocom. However, these indulgences come with a realization: The time spent could have been used differently, potentially bringing me more lasting satisfaction. Living to work instead of working to live, I acknowledge that there's more to be done.

And thus, every moment "killed" is a reminder that time doesn't come back. It is a limited, dwindling resource.

And I'm going to do what it takes to make the best use of it for my work.

Have you heard of speedruns in gaming? Players race to complete a game as quickly as possible, minimizing wasted time. While I don't advocate turning life into a "speedrun," watching such feats can be a powerful thought experiment to the vastness of the harnessed human potential.

Speedruns highlight how little time it takes to accomplish something productively. This indicate that our productivity can be far larger than we might think, for we underestimate the power of our minds.

Perhaps, after revisiting childhood games through speedruns, we recognize how much time we "wasted" when we could have completed them much faster. The same applies to our ambitions. Time is ticking, and its value lies in our ability to do as much as we can while wasting as little time.

In business, time is money for a reason. Laziness is costly by the fact that it prevents us opportunities to gain more revenue and come closer to our goals. The Universal Businessman is capable of seeing an opportunity in anything.

Despite the allure of a carefree, Diogenes-esque approach to life, most of us have ambitions we want to pursue. Unlike Homer, however, our finite time span means we can't delay indefinitely. That includes things we're obliged to do and things we wish to accomplish. Procrastination pushes our goals further into the future, with no guarantee of achievement. It makes a great devestation on their potential fruition.

A Journey to Purposeful Living

There was a time when I, like many others, let my days melt away in activities that offered fleeting pleasure but little lasting value. My childhood was filled with games that entertained, but ultimately contributed little to my personal growth. This realization, along with the grave emptiness that followed, sparked a shift in my perspective.

Hedonism, the philosophy of seeking pleasure above all else, began to feel hollow. I can't tell how killing time on the altar of fun can be done so regularly without a spark of guilt being followed.

While momentary enjoyment has its place, it shouldn't come at the expense of personal growth and achievement. For our personal growth can not only help others but also those who are dear to us. This led me to embrace a more mindful approach to living, one that valued substance and no fun. I choose to live a joyless life because it is almost always been accompanying me with a dreadful feeling of emptiness.

So, I prefer being a workaholic. By focusing on creating content, I essentially "speedran" from teenager to a productive adult writer with countless articles, and several apprentices. It this isn't a bragging statement, but rather demonstrating the power of focused effort being executed on the long term. Just like video game speedrunners minimize wasted time, I eliminated distractions like television, excessive socializing, and unhealthy habits. This allowed me to maximize my output and achieve more in a shorter period.

This is merely because not doing it makes me feel guilty for wasting my time. And If there's something I hate doing, is killing time aimlessly.

It requires strength to live a joyless life willingly, and to endure the adversity that follows. What adversity? The adversity of features such as depression. I do not expect you to follow my example if you care about your emotions. I don't really care about them.

This approach is open to everyone. Regardless of your beliefs about the number of lives we get, our time here is finite. We are given a unique set of skills, resources, and perhaps even a network of people to support us. These resources won't last forever, even if they are to remain for dozens of your years.

Think of it like a corporation, a domain, or accumulated wealth – all tools to fuel your endeavors. And you can't use any of them if you're dead. Use them instead while you're alive to live the life you want to live.


While some find contentment in a less-than-productive life, wouldn't it be better to face our later years with the satisfaction of knowing we pursued our goals? Imagine yourself on your deathbed, contemplating your choices. Did you chase your dreams? Did you use your time and resources wisely? This introspection can be a powerful motivator to live a more purposeful life now.

The choice is yours. But by prioritizing focused effort over time-wasting activities, you can unlock a life rich in accomplishment and fulfillment.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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