We sometimes get allured by the promise of free entertainment on the Internet. Because it seems free, we may spend far more time than what we might have otherwise spend on it. For example, we may watch mediocre movies that we would never spend money to watch. Though such movies may be free in terms of money, they aren’t free in terms of time. And time is money; in fact, it is more precious than money. Lost money can be recovered; lost time can’t be.
By bingeing on free entertainment, we may get caught in watching entertainment that is not even entertaining. We might just click on and on, driven initially by boredom. Eventually, clicking and watching becomes a habit, then a default habit. As soon as we have any spare time, our fingers start clicking to take us toward our habitual entertainment. Then it becomes a compulsion, wherein we spend time we don’t have; that is, it encroaches on the time we need to invest on our work, our family, our health, our spiritual growth —-all things that are much more valuable. And the worst part of such entanglement is that we don’t even realize we are getting entangled. The illusion is all the more captivating because we are allured by endless varieties of pleasure on the Net, even if they aren’t free. Thus, these indulgences cost us immensely, not just in terms of intangible valuables but also in terms of tangible valuables
The Bhagavad-gita (16.12) cautions that desires can become shackles. That’s how people end up addicted. And the free entertainment on the Internet has spawned many addictions such as gaming addiction, movie addiction, porn addiction.
To protect ourselves from such entanglement, we need to unsentimentally remind ourselves that free enjoyment is rarely free. Then, we can find something meaningful that is valuable for us and focus on doing those things.
Free entertainment frequently leads us into expensive entanglement; beware.
May 15, 2022
Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium