There is a place where leisure merges with work, but there is also a trend where leisure has been dissipated by communication technology. The differentiation between work and leisure is important. Work, when performed conscientiously and correctly, requires focused attention. This is the basis of mastery of any job, craft or art. Similarly, leisure should be a relaxation from the real stresses and vague anxieties of work.
The current manipulation of the economic system by corporations has devalued the work force in the U.S.. Work itself has been devalued as a result. Americans work more and actually achieve less personally in their work, which is more and more reliant on mechanization in favor of increasing profits for shareholders. Long commutes in automobiles have been mistaken by many as available leisure time. Driving a car on an overcrowded roadway at rush hour is not leisure. It is a chore.
The surrendering of labor rights and benefits by the American worker in exchange for false promises and a perverted concept of entrepreneurship has corroded the balance between leisure and work, which characterized the prosperous and more egalitarian era of the 1950s and 1960s. Lower population in that period, combined with smooth new federally provided roadways, enabled the humblest Americans to travel comfortably by car all across the nation on regular vacations. Camping was available everywhere in a landscape uncluttered by strip malls and over-development. Touching Nature was a regular option in affordable mountain cabins and seaside cottages.
As too many humans compete for too few resources on an environmentally degraded planet, life will increasingly become work without leisure. The illusion of leisure provided by visual technologies, such as TV and Web, is a poor substitute for regular vacations and affordable travel. Travel itself has become more like work than leisure. Learning to carve out time for leisure will become one of the challenges of personal practice. My daily walk, without cell phone or specific destination, is a form of restorative leisure I have developed in my own practice.
'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' This is an old saying from my youth. The increasing flattening of our culture reflects the corrosion of restorative leisure in favor of work which demands no mastery.