Like most people, I am afraid to ‘waste’ time. Time, to me, is what must elapse between the end of what I’m doing now and the beginning of what I want to do next. I will occasionally catch myself having devoted a considerable amount of time to a pursuit that doesn’t further my chances of accomplishing what I want or need to accomplish. For example, I’ll be playing a video game or watching television, and suddenly I’ll realize that hours have gone by and I have done nothing ‘productive’ with the time. Naturally, I will feel like that time has been ‘wasted’.

One way ‘productive’ can be defined is ‘having created something’. In that sense, I almost never produce anything, even when I’m not ‘wasting time’. During my free time, I am primarily a consumer, and my work consists of a lot of thinking, planning, and problem solving. In other words, it’s not very productive.

The closest I’ve come to producing something in the last several years is a small pile of written materials, most of which outline one or another procedure in computer networking. Given the fact that I didn’t invent these processes, I have to say that even those writings are just a rehashing of already well-known topics, not the creation of anything new. I haven’t built anything, and I haven’t grown anything.

So, if we define ‘productive’ as ‘having created something’, you could say I haven’t been very productive. Of course there’s another definition of ‘productive’ that’s commonly used. This definition is: ‘Yielding favorable or useful results; constructive’. I think this is what most people, myself included, mean when we say that we haven’t been ‘productive’. We haven’t done anything that yields useful results.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this definition solves any problems for me. It seems probable to me that Human Beings will one day become extinct. That is, unless we can colonize another habitable planet or create conditions on Earth that will allow us to live through the inevitable burning out of the sun. Sadly, when I look at our history, it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll accomplish this prior to killing each other off.

Call me cynical, but I have very little faith in Humans cooperating on a global scale, in spite of the fact that such cooperation will probably be necessary to accomplish whatever else is needed to perpetuate the existence of the Human Race. With this in mind, it seems likely that the only way I might accomplish something ‘useful’, is if I can contribute somehow to a change in the nature of Human Beings. And, since it is unlikely that I’d be able to accomplish such a feat, I have to conclude that there is nothing truly useful for me to do. Which brings me to the conclusion that as long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing at the moment, it is impossible for me to ‘waste time’.

I think you're being awfully negative about this.
While I can see your point that you're not likely to ever influence the nature of human beings in any really remarkable way, this does not mean that you have nothing to contribute at all which might help 'perpetuate the existence of the human race'.

These computermanuals(?) that you write, could very well help people to master "computer networking" faster and better than they otherwise would have. That's something. It's really the way society works, everybody throwing in their two cents for the greater good.

As for the future of mankind, I remain cautiously hopeful. Really, I think we'll be alright. We have already come a long way, in a miniscule amount of time, technologically speaking. I do, however, agree that our obsession with killing each other might eventually get in the way of some accomplishments. Whether we'll outlive the sun... Well, that's anybody's guess isn't it? I mean... That big 'ol thing is going to be sticking around for a long (loooooong) time.

If you really want to get into it, you could discuss whether any action can really be called useful, on a long enough timescale? The invention of the steam engine is commonly regarded as one of the great scientific leaps in the history of mankind, but lately engines seem to be causing all the problems.(Global warming 'n such)
Computers are great, but if Science Fiction is right, they'll be ruling us before too long. One could probably find better examples than these, but you get my drift.(well, I hope you do)

And if you had saved Hitler from drowning, while he was still a child, would that have been an act of evil?

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