Fatalism and leisure

Simple faith – as in popular religion – and fatalism relieve the stress of uncertainty. Many communities where high-risk occupations are the norm, and death is always present, have a strong (and strict) faith element.

Where the likeliness of imminent death is smaller, a more secular approach to life follows. But even in such communities there is risk and uncertainty, albeit of different kinds. There is the risk of losing one’s status or esteem, for example.

A non-fatalistic understanding of the consequences of one’s actions and choices takes mental energy to maintain Conventions offer some relief – shortcuts to help you make choices without spending too much energy.

Making informed choices and bearing in mind the responsibility for those choices and the ensuing actions is tiring business. Is this why we have a leisure industry of gigantic proportions?

“Not having to think” is sometimes mentioned, or implicit, in the marketing of leisure services. Putting yourself entirely in someone else’s hands is the ultimate leisure. Spa breaks, package holidays, even adventure holidays share this feature.

Is this the secular version of giving yourself up to the divine? The surrender, yielding totally to an external will or force (under controlled circumstances), feeling safe in fatalism. Only you don’t pray to earn the ‘right’ to feel secure, you just pay.


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