Those who ski or snowboard have probably sat next to older men discussing their stock portfolios, and, while I haven’t ever, I’m sure golfing is the same. They all include implicit periods of downtime– which are all but symbolic of your status in a stratum high enough in society that permits you, in discrete chunks of time, to do nothing at all.
During the industrial boom there were great outcries about workers’ conditions– it may have been the day’s juggernaut of political issues. Through the deliberations, a slogan appeared championing a new right of man. In addition to the right to freedom, happiness, etc, there was now a right to work (and it reached its pinnacle in granddaddy Roosevelt). Which, when you think about it, is monumental. Of course, once employment infiltrated the life of the middle class, the very opposite became important: a right to leisure. In the 60s, the Situationists postulated the new economic model wherein the life of the proletariat and the health of the economy is wholly dependent on that of leisure time, not around the time one spends working. It begs the nod to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
Culture is born out of leisure, and leisure is born out of the upper half of this pyramid (aside: it is noteworthy that Abraham Maslow intentionally studied society’s 1%, our dog-owners and skiing enthusiasts).
We can see one of the most naked displays of the power and luxury of leisure– and be reminded of how culture spawns– in our neighborhood dog runs.