Deviancy and the balance of immersion

Immersion occupies an interesting and multifaceted place in our societies and cultures. It is a quality of focus and attention. It’s what your boss wishes you had more of when it comes to your tasks and meetings. It’s what your teachers wish you had more of when it comes to lessons and homework. It’s what your spouse wishes you had more of when it comes to the dishes, cooking and the laundry. It’s what your kids wish you had more of when they’re telling you about their day.

And when we wind up immersed in anything else – particularly if it is something personally enjoyable or fulfilling – it is considered deeply suspect and somehow wrong.

Immersed in a game, such as a video-game, wargame, board games, role-playing games or MMOGs?

A hobby, like train-spotting or building models, HAM radio or collecting antiques?

Immersed in social interactions via a virtual environment, Twitter, Facebook or some other social media?

Immersed in your pets, and the happiness and calm that they bring you?

Congratulations, society considers you to be some sort of deviant. Possibly even … an addict.

You sicko.

You’re spending time on activities that you want to have and that contribute to your quality-of-life, rather than spending that time on activities that others want you to have and that improve theirs.

For shame! We’ll certainly not let you hear the end of it until you’re using every last bit of your time serving others!

That’s what it boils down to, really, isn’t it? Obviously there needs to be a balance between time you spend on yourself and your own pursuits, and time you spend contributing to the pursuits of others. If the rest of your life is going to hell because you’re self-serving, that’s no better than if you’re just completely miserable because you spend all of your time serving others than yourself.

Peer-pressure doesn’t really understand that balance. Quite the contrary, it works to encourage an extreme. Yet somehow with all that pressure to act for the interests of others few, if any, seem to be acting in your interests.

It’s funny how that seems to work out.

Whatever you choose to be immersed in from moment to moment, however, is something you should choose, keeping in mind both your own needs and the needs of others.

Maybe one day, you won’t be thought of as a deviant for it.

2 thoughts on “Deviancy and the balance of immersion”

  1. As Oscar Wilde once said, good old Oscar:

    Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

  2. Here is the definition of altruism (in the What It Really Means Dictionary): You are morally obligated to put the needs of others before your own and never commit the sin of selfishness. Not because we think altruism is a superior philosophy, but because when WE need help we EXPECT and DEMAND that YOU help us, regardless of your own needs and desires (even your own safety). It’s all about US, you see, never YOU. And there are a LOT of us and only one of you, so comply or be ostracized.

    Putting the needs of others above our own can be a good thing, a noble thing (like postponing your own desires for your children’s health and happiness, or giving the money you would have spent on a stereo system or a later model car to a good cause instead). However, is a CHOICE, not an obligation.

    Self-interest, on the other hand, is a moral obligation and a virtue. Your own needs come first by default, always. Once they are met then you can share, if it PLEASES YOU.

    If that makes you cringe, cluck your tongue, or start spouting platitudes (“Oh, if everyone thought that way we’d all be doomed” etc. etc.), read paragraph one, rinse and repeat.

    Oh, by the way, can anybody loan me fifty bucks? I’m a little short on the rent this month.

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