Quality of Life Poll

Today, Dave Pollard of How to Save the World Blog wrote an interesting formula for how each day should be spent, which I copy here:

  • 9 hours a day for sleeping and personal hygiene
  • 2 hours a day for physical exercise — running, meditation, working out, yoga, hiking etc.
  • 3 hours a day for play — learning things you love, having non-competitive fun, just paying attention and being in the moment, and expressing love and joy in different ways
  • 3 hours a day for meaningful conversation — not small-talk, conversations with intention (this time could include meal-times)
  • 2 hours a day for reflection — thinking, reading/watching/listening to actionable information and stimulating entertainment content, and deciding, thinking ahead, considering what it all means and what needs to be done as a result
  • 2 hours a day for creation — writing, model-building, sketching, composing
  • 3 hours a day for action — first/next steps towards doing important things, productive actions that make the world a better place
  • 0 hours a day doing work that isn’t one of the above types of activities
  • 0 hours a day for administration, paperwork, ‘non-value-added’ work
  • 0 hours a day driving to and from places
  • 0 hours a day shopping
  • 0 hours a day waiting
  • 0 hours a day for chores
  • 0 hours a day for small talk
  • 0 hours a day for reading/watching/listening to mindless, unactionable stuff

I like the general idea. I don’t agree with 0 hours a day for chores, as that implies you are hiring a slave to do various maintenance work for you – unless, of course, you’re ethereal, and don’t have any connection to the physical world.

The general idea is that life should be filled with things that you want to do. Let’s assume that the promise of technology has been delivered – people are liberated from mindless, laborious tasks – and unprecedented opportunities for freedom, self-expression, creativity, meaningful work, and leisure have arrived.

So I decided to take a poll from you who read this:

Today, are you doing primarily what you want want to do (voluntary action), or are you primarily doing something that you have to do (coercion)?

Without mincing words: are you free, or are you a slave? Please tell us the truth, and we’ll tally up the results and report on this later. We would really like to know how many of you are satisfied with what you are doing with your life, whether you are addressing your true needs, or whether you wish you could be doing something better. This is part of our market research on Gross National Happiness.


  1. Marcin

    I was radicalized at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Now I live in a mud hut in rural Missouri. Powered by wireless internet and a Ph.D. in plasma physics, I love every second of the work that I do. I defend this path, ferociously. There are some things that have to be done, and I am working on them.

  2. […] the blog of Marcin, I ran across this post by Dave Pollard. (Marcin focuses on an entirely different segment of the […]

  3. TXTStorm

    Neither. The question is fundamentally flawed in many ways, not the least of which is a mistaken notion of coercion. By this “definition” of ceorcion, eating is coercion, as is breathing. Clearly these are not coercive nor coerced behaviors, thus the definition must be in error. Furthermore this assumes that one will always and only love every aspect of the path to freedom. This too is clearly a false assumption. For instnace, I am currently on a part of my own path that is not entirely pleasurable, but it leads to the life I want to lead, therefore I continue on this difficult part. So while I wish I could be doing something else, at the exact same time I understand that this is part of the process to actually be doing that something else. I am happy to be on the path I am on, even though this part is particularly difficult. So you see, there is no single answer to the question, which ought to make clear that along with the other problems of the question, it is also a false dichotomy.

  4. Mel

    “Free” and “slave” are pretty charged words, Marcin. How would responses change if you said “self-serving” and “responsible” instead? (Or some better rough-synonym pair-set, in any case.)

    I hold with Victor Frankl when he says that man always has the power to choose – and indeed, freely chooses every reaction he has to his environment. You don’t “have to” go to school. You choose to do it because you fear punishment, or want the lifestyle the salary you can get with a diploma can afford you, or because you don’t want to disappoint your parents. If someone puts a gun to your head and says “file this paperwork,” you can always choose not to. Obviously, there may be consequences. But it’s still a choice on your part.

    Also consider Buddhist monks, and many other religious orders. They clean toilets, take orders… I’m sure at some point some of them have done rote form-filling-out for tax purposes or otherwise. They’re trying to live in the moment, though, and achieve enlightenment in their minds no matter what their bodies “have” to do.

    As for me, I’d say that I’m my own master, and I’m my own slave, to use one of your terms.

  5. Sasha

    So I think that I am not entirely free but far away from a wage slave position. But the problem is that I am paying a high price for my different thinking. Basically I lack the infrastructure for independent living. Housing, land , opportunity for small business etc.
    I have goodwill energy and willingness to learn. Well see where this path will take me. From my experience until now I didn’t make a mistake, I see people around me far better in material terms but evidently unhappy with their life.

  6. Sepp

    While not free and certainly not following the ideal day Dave Pollard describes, I am largely free of the more nasty coercive demands of life, having worked and continuing to work (in a ‘light’ kind of way) in a commercial undertaking of my own, but dedicating much of my day to activism that I enjoy immensely.

    In sum, I think I am balanced and in a way ready to transform with society into a more sensate way of life, where things don’t cost, where we’re all free to work on what we like, where basics are taken care of, and where p2p brings us world wide connectivity, possibilities of exchange with others, knowledge about what’s happening elsewhere and a possibility to contribute to the motion, everyone in their own way.

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