Wondermenting: wasting time in an unprofitable manner

Word of the Day: WONDERMENTING (archaic) – wasting time in an unprofitable manner.

— QI on Facebook

There is a lot to explore here.

The definition itself is slightly comical today, and may reflect a more puritan view on activity and productivity. It also ties into capitalism that tends to value economic productivity over much else.

What does it mean to waste time? Do we waste time any time we are not productive in the sense of making money or in some other tangible way? If we are not working and playing hard, as some from the US like to say?

Is it really a waste of time to relax? To enjoy a quiet afternoon? To lie in the grass, wathing the clouds pass by? To sit and watch people doing whatever they are doing? To wonder about life? To chat about nonsense? To watch a silly movie or TV series? To read a book that’s not considered deep? To feed the ducks? Play with a dog? I have found all of these things very rewarding and not a waste of time at all.

And what’s profitable? Is it only what makes money? Or can profit also be measured in other ways? Can’t it be profitable to relax? Do simple nourishing activities? Do something enjoyable? Wonder?

Another side to this is to bring this wondermenting into our activities. When we connect with some curiosity and something childlike in ourselves, we can be wondermenting even as we are doing something.

To me, finding myself as capacity for the world as it appears to me – this human self, the wider world, any activities – is a form of wondermenting. It’s a wonder. It helps bring up receptivity, curiosity, awe, and a childlike orientation to the world.

It’s perhaps not profitable in the way many see it. But to me, it’s the most profitable of all.

The verb wondermenting meant to wonder at anything; to waste time on unprofitable occupations; to be dreamy; to play the fool. From Wiltshire the EDD was sent, “Missus wur out, an’ the girls come out an’ begun a ‘oondermentin.”

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