In this book, my hope is that you will find your personal answer to the question that the title asks: "Whatever happened to 'the good life?'" Along the way you will also find an opportunity to determine your own "RQ" or "recreational quotient" based on involvement (or lack of same) in a broad spectrum of recreational pursuits. After doing this and seeing where you score personally, you can then take the necessary steps -- if you wish -- to raise your Recreation Quotient ("RQ"). Further, this discussion of your leisure-time involvement will be related to society's development.
The "test" or "assessment" of your recreational quotient ("RQ") is based on a scale moving from passive, to vicarious, to active, to creative involvement in life's many educational and recreational activities. It gives you more credit if you are a most interested onlooker or listener rather than a passive one. Additionally, you will score even higher if you actively take part in a particular recreational activity. The highest rating goes to the person who participates in a superior and/or creative fashion.
Why should this subject concern you? It should because one development of modern society has been that people are increasingly crowded together in heavily populated urban and suburban communities. This has created a serious problem. We now need to know how people can find happiness, satisfaction, and a high quality of life despite the increased tempo of living often amidst such badly crowded conditions?
With advancing civilization North Americans have been accused of being afflicted with spectatoritis (i.e. spending too much of their free time watching others taking part in some form of activity, recreational or otherwise). Obviously, this practice is not something that should be encouraged too extensively. It is the unfortunate truth that throughout history people in many societies have misused leisure after they have earned it. In certain instances this misuse of free time has actually had much to do with the downfall of that society.
Studies have shown that people are concerned about whether they are getting sufficient pleasure out of life. We know, also, that sound recreational pursuits can add zest and vigor to our lives. The resulting question revolves about whether we will be able to encourage people of all ages to get involved in a variety of recreational pursuits actively and creatively.
We can all appreciate further that there are many ways of looking at the subject of recreation. However, although we could determine averages (or norms) for a given population in regard to types of recreational pursuits followed, it just doesn't seem advisable in a free society to set standards that people should follow.
I firmly believe that a person's value system will -- and should -- undergird basically any choices that he or she may make about which types of recreational pursuit to follow. Accordingly in the Appendix, you will have an opportunity to assess yourself "socio-culturally" and "philosophically" in this respect.
So there you have it. I hope this book will help to broaden your perspective on the whole question of lesire. I hope, also, that you will consider, and then perhaps even reconsider, this important matter of putting quality recreational time in your life to just the right amount. It's a challenge, of course, but it should be great fun to work it out personally. The "good life" is still out there, but you will have to plan -- oh so carefully!--to achieve it. Good luck -- and "good planning!"