Tim Wu, author of The Attention Merchants, writes about the slow disappearance of hobbies and amateur pursuits, and finds, in their absence, a void of freedom:
The promise of our civilization, the point of all our labor and technological progress, is to free us from the struggle for survival and to make room for higher pursuits. But demanding excellence in all that we do can undermine that; it can threaten and even destroy freedom. It steals from us one of life’s greatest rewards — the simple pleasure of doing something you merely, but truly, enjoy.
See also: “Knitting at the end of the world” and “In praise of the good old-fashioned hobby.”