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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


August 1st, 2018

There are endless ways to waste time. Indeed, the only real question in life is how shall we spend our time?  Much of the economy is based on pleasure or entertainment to fill up this time and most of it consists of cheap thrills.


There it is: Time.  The most valuable resource that we know of.  A resource that only runs down and one that we can’t quantify, because we never know how much time we have left.  And yet we squander this divine resource all the time with cheap thrills.  What exactly does that mean?


A cheap thrill is a value indication not only of the person who creates the cheap thrill but it’s also a value indication of the person who buys the cheap thrill. 

And a ‘value indication’ in this case is how much each person thinks or feels their time is worth.  Or perhaps more accurately, it’s part of a mental habit about how valuable such person thinks their time and their effort is worth. 






It might be useful to ask:  Do I have a habit of acting in a way that does not make my time very valuable?


We might think our time is valuable.  We might know our time is valuable.  But do we act in ways that demonstrate just how valuable time is?



For the person who creates a cheap thrill and the person who seeks such a thrill, there exists a subtle prison of feedback here.  The person who can only afford a cheap thrill might rationalize that such an activity is justified because nothing better can be purchased.  This is a case of playing the victim.  If such a person isn’t willing to admit that their time is only worth as much as the cheap thrill they actually pay for, what’s really happening is that they are denying the fact that if they skipped the cheap thrill and thoughtfully paused to consider how such time could be better spent, then it would make their time more valuable than it was when it was spent with the cheap thrill.


Such a denial is what keeps this loop spinning.






Likewise, the person who creates a cheap thrill is doing something very similar.  They might be wealthier, perhaps much wealthier than the person who can only afford a cheap thrill, but there is not an exact correlation between money and time.  This isn’t indicated just by the fact that some people can procure lots more money in less time, but also by the fact that most people facing death would pay any amount of money just to get more time.


The creator of cheap thrills may create wealth, but such a person devalues their own time.


Again, when it comes to time, we would be best served not ask  “how can time best be converted into money?”, but simply, how best can we use our time?


If we find ourselves habitually spending time in ways that seem to devalue that precious resource, then the first good use of time would be to thoughtfully pause, potentially for much longer than is comfortable, and confront the difficult question:  How can I use my time more wisely?


Shall I seek out a cheap thrill?


Or shall I test myself, and push myself.


for that, we need to create an occasion for a distracting test



This episode references Episode 105: Occasion, Episode 107: The Distracting Test, and Episode 23: Pause.  If you’d like to fully explore those references, please check out those episodes next.


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Podcast Ep. 108: Cheap Thrills

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