“Don’t just do something, stand there.” -Rumi
It recently occurred to me that forcing myself to sit in silence for 8 hours a day would probably cure most of my mental and emotional problems. I most likely will not do this anytime soon because I am a full time student; but I do believe that quiet sitting for long periods is important for living well.
For some reason, this got me wondering. What if there was a website that payed people to sit in front of a webcam for a predetermined amount of time and do nothing in particular?
Not only could this be entertaining, but it could catalyze personal growth for people who are stuck in life, have no job, suffer from mental illness, etc. It could also provide a basis for clinical research, see what makes people tick, see what helps people reach their full potential. This could also teach the subjects how to overcome fear and anxiety, since they will be forced to sit and accept that the world won’t explode if they put life on hold for a few hours. I don’t know about you, but much of my inner turmoil comes from my inability to accept the things I cannot change in the world and in myself.
Do we not already put life on hold for eight hours a day under the sole assumption that we will be okay if we get enough money? If yes, then what difference will it make if I am doing “nothing” or “something” for those eight hours? For most people, it is a coincidence that they build skills and relationships while making money; however, one can also improve themselves outside of work, provided they have the time and money to do so.
To shake things up a bit and provide ad revenue to pay the subjects for their time, the platform could also pay people to monitor a stream and give feedback to a program that manages the if/then payment contracts (i.e. if the subject uses drugs, they will not be paid for the time they are high). Of course this would have some limits. It would be in the administration’s best interest to outline acceptable activity under their terms of agreement (i.e. terms of payment).
For instance, the admin might set limits on sexual activity, eating, drinking, drug use, computer and smartphone use, music, others in the room, talking, dancing, walking etc. The rules would limit most activity to promote quiet stillness. If the subject breaches these terms, the monitors will be responsible for flagging time not spent in quiet stillness, and they will receive no money for that time. They are only paid for as long as they sit in silence.
Let me know what you think. Poke holes in it.