How We Define Free Time: Differentiating Leisure from Recreation

Sponsored by Georgetown University Press

Recorded on 10/12/2020
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 159

Basketball players talk about “being in the zone” or “on fire.” Musicians describe losing themselves in the score. Characters “lead” their writers through a story. Gamers can lose hours in their digital worlds. What do all of these disparate practices and descriptions have in common? Well, for someone playing at or near their potential, each of these activities allows their practitioners to achieve what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls the “flow” state: a sort of transcendence or a complete mental and physical absorption in a task.

Conor Kelly, assistant professor at Marquette University, begins to unpack the relationship between flow state and leisure in this episode. Kelly argues that leisure can have intrinsic value, as opposed to purely instrumental value because, through leisure activities, we can achieve flow state, which he likens to the Catholic idea of “resting in God.” Join us for a look at free time and a thoughtful discussion on making it as productive as possible, and whether that should even be the goal.


About the guest:

Conor Kelly
Assistant professor of theology
Marquette University

Conor Kelly is an assistant professor of theology at Marquette University. He is a Catholic theological ethicist who works at the intersection of fundamental moral theology and applied ethics. He is the coeditor of Poverty: Responding Like Jesus with Kenneth R. Himes and has published articles in a number of journals, including Theological Studies, the Journal of Moral TheologyHorizons, and the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics.


Listen to the rest of the series: