Even beyond our immediate goals, the pursuit of “splendid uselessness” can improve our inner selves and the environment.
The pursuit of activities solely for their own sake, without regard for their practical usefulness or profitability, is becoming increasingly undervalued in our modern culture. However, the pursuit of such “splendid uselessness” can lead to unexpected rewards and enrich both our internal lives and the world around us. Examples of such pursuits include birdwatching, music-making, and studying mathematics, all of which can elevate us spiritually and reward our intellects and souls. Pursuing these activities also tends to overflow and bring more goodness and beauty into the world, even beyond our immediate aims. While practicality and goal-oriented activity are important, a good human life also requires an adequate measure of uselessness for true flourishing.