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The Guy/Zip Line Model of Leisure


Xiaodan Dong and Ray Woodcock

University of Missouri Columbia

in partial fulfillment of the requirements of

PRT 8400, Constructs of Leisure
Dr. Jaclyn A. Card
November 29, 2004


In this paper, we present a model of leisure experience. The primary function of this
model is to provide an easy and flexible way to visualize the relationships that exist among
(a) leisure experience, (b) the constituent elements of leisure experience, and (c) the constraints
upon those elements.

The picture we use to depict the complete model is simple:

it is like a

maypole, or the skeleton of an umbrella.

Our model resembles a theory, in a sense proposed by Henderson, Presley, and Bialeschki

Theory is an explanation of the relationship between variables that leads to the right

kind of questions to ask about facts and phenomena (p. 412).

Ours is in the nature of deductive

theory, arising from a general vision that we seek to impose upon discrete facts.

If the distinction

seems important, we consider this a model rather than a theory, as it uses symbols to postulate
relationships among elements of leisure experience; and despite its deductive nature, we suspect
the model may have fair compatibility with the postmodernist critique, insofar as its structure is
minimal and highly adaptable (see Henderson, Presley, & Bialeschki, 2004, pp. 413, 416).

A Brief Discussion of Terms

We begin by declining to define leisure.

Students of leisure have defined the term in

numerous ways (Mannell and Kleiber, 1997, pp. 53-54; Russell, 2002, pp. 31-34). Rather than
legislate yet another definition that some readers might find unhelpful, we have opted to devise a
model that can work with a variety of definitions.

This model addresses leisure experience, as distinct from leisure behavior. That is, the
focus here is upon subjective, internal phenomena rather than purportedly objective, external
phenomena (Mannell and Kleiber, 1997, p. 54).

Or, in terms congenial to Russell (2002, pp.

32-34), this paper addresses the leisure participants state of mind, as distinct from his/her forms of
activity or ways of using time.

We adopt this orientation because of a philosophical

predisposition to explore the requirements of individual happiness, rather than seeking out the
factors that might motivate a person to engage in a form of leisure behavior that, say, a theme park
operator or tourism agency might desire.

Of course, a researcher may draw inferences about the

subjects inner experience by observing his/her behavior (Mannell and Kleiber, 1997, p. 26).
We assume leisure experience has constituent elements or characteristics, or includes
various aspects, or in some other way is susceptible of being broken down or subdivided into
smaller units referred to, here, as components or determinants of leisure.

That is, we assume

that the reader might be interested in learning more about how assorted factors combine to create
an experience of leisure.
The discussion here assumes that, in a given leisure experience, the subject may experience
incompleteness or imperfection with respect to a given component of leisure.

That is, this model

attempts to help the student of leisure visualize a relationship between a shortage of a given
component and the nature of the leisure experience.
In speaking of leisure experience, we are speaking of the subjects experience of leisure as
of a given instant.

The model is dynamic; it is capable of mapping and tracking changes in the

subjects experience from moment to moment.

experience of a single subject.

And, as may be clear, the model focuses upon the

For that reason, we need not decide whether the world contains, in

some objective or platonic form, an ideal Leisure Experience to which all humans may aspire.


the contrary, we are supplying a tool with which to map the nature of leisure experience L,
experienced by person P, at time T.
Finally, as a related point, the subject might be having more than one leisure experience at
a given instant.

In a complex situation, for example, s/he might be experiencing leisure as joy,

leisure as satisfaction, and leisure as insight.

The question of whether those experiences are truly

leisure or are, instead, joy, satisfaction, and insight, is an essentially definitional question.

It does

not matter if we call the experience joy, leisure, leisure-as-joy, joy-as-leisure, or something else

The main thing is that we should at least have a way to visualize its workings.

This is

the need to which the model responds.

Summary of the Guy/Zip Line (GZL) Model

The Appendix to this paper presents a detailed explanation of the GZL Model. Here, we
summarize key points from the model, without attempting to reproduce the Appendixs careful and
hopefully easy-to-understand explanation.
Briefly, one observes that a very common form of graph shows a horizontal line or X axis,
analogous to the ground, or Earth; a vertical line or Y axis, analogous to a pole sticking out of the
ground; and an angling line connecting the X and Y axes, forming the hypotenuse of a right
triangle, analogous to a line or cable that extends from the ground to a point on the pole.

As a

guy wire, the cable arguably leads toward the top of the pole; as a zip line, the cable leads in the
opposite direction, from the pole down to the ground. These guy and zip characterizations
capture the possibility of movement upwards or downwards along this cable.

In principle, one can graph the relationship between a component of leisure (such as,
perhaps, available funds) and the resulting experience of leisure by using just this form of XY
graph, with leisure on the Y axis and money on the X axis.

The situation of a person lacking the

full amount of money needed for the maximum leisure experience (however characterized) might
be represented as a point on the hypotenuse, somewhere short of the pole or Y axis.
Because leisure experience is commonly thought to arise from the interplay of multiple
factors, it is helpful or necessary to use multiple XY graphs, of the form just described, with each
graph depicting the state of affairs with respect to one of the components of leisure experience.
Moreover, since those factors are mentioned precisely because of their relationship to the vertical
pole that represents leisure experience, it is convenient to visualize the guy/zip lines from those
multiple XY graphs in a three-dimensional image, as lines leading to the top of a single pole,
somewhat like a maypole.

We call this assembly of pole and cables a guy/zip line array, or GZL

Array for short.

In the interests of precision, we specify that the GZL Array represents the smallest unit of
leisure experience.

That is, temporally, it represents the leisure experience of a single person at a

single instant; and definitionally, it represents a single kind of leisure, however defined.

The pole

does not purport to capture multiple, potentially inconsistent visions of leisure experience.


atomic focus on one persons instant of leisure represents an attempt to avoid or, more accurately,
to keep pace with the facts that socialization into leisure is a lifelong process (Cordes & Ibrahim,
2003) and that leisure styles and contexts change as the personal and social identities of the social
self change throughout the life course (Kelly, 1982).

It might be possible, in theory, to collapse the three-dimensional model into a

two-dimensional graph, using the X axis to summarize the aggregate influence of all factors
thought to be relevant to the creation of a leisure experience.

For our purposes, however, this

would be progress in the wrong direction, because it develops that, in fact, even the three
dimensions of the GZL Model do not suffice to capture the full picture.
For example, it may sometimes be necessary to install a second leisure pole, so as to
illustrate that a given discussion features two dramatically different visions of leisure experience
(i.e., sharing few or no common determinants, or guy/zip lines).
difference may be semantic:

(In such a situation, the

one or both of the proposed leisure constructs actually represent

something other than leisure per se, or may illustrate that leisure is reducible into constituent terms
best represented by separate arrays.)

Also, the GZL model works just as well on topics other than

For example, one might erect a second pole, near the leisure pole; might label it

material wealth; might set up an array of lines around that second pole, to indicate the factors
that go into material wealth; and might set up lines between the two poles to illustrate how wealth
may be a determinant of leisure and vice versa.

The three-dimensional GZL model also

facilitates certain depictions of subjectivity and consciousness that some may find helpful, as
detailed in the Appendix.

The Guy/Zip Line Model Illustrated via Application to Theories of Leisure

Thus far, we have merely suggested an image or mechanism that may capture the
moment-by-moment dynamic interaction between a persons experience of leisure, the components
that comprise that experience, and the constraints that prevent the person from having a richer

leisure experience.

To demonstrate what difference the model makes, it may be helpful to apply

it to several theorists views of leisure.

Neulinger (1974) believed, Leisure is a state of mind; it is a way of being, of being at
peace with oneself and what one is doing.
to do (p. xv).

It is doing what one wants to do and what one chooses

We would suggest that Neulinger has portrayed leisure as an agglomeration of

multiple concepts.

For literary purposes indeed, for purposes of general human communication

his words make sense.

We know what he means.

But for purposes of treating leisure as an

object of scientific study and precise measurement, we would propose to convert his statement into
several distinct propositions.

We might restate the foregoing quotation, consistent with the

language and images presented in this paper, along these lines:

The subjective experience of

leisure is, tautologically, a matter of the subjects state of mind. In one form of ideal leisure
experience, the subject feels at peace with him/herself.

In another form of ideal leisure

experience, the subject feels at peace with what s/he is doing. Those two forms of ideal leisure
experience are related, in that the subject who experiences one is likely to experience the other

In a third form of ideal leisure experience, the subject finds him/herself free to

do something that s/he wants or chooses to do.

We have thus interpreted Neulinger as intending to describe one or more apparently linked
forms of ideal leisure experience. But some readers may share our sense that the more useful
reading of his words would cast the foregoing statements as expressions of constraint.

That is, in

the language of this model, Neulinger may be saying that the subjects experience of leisure, at the
moment in question, is a function of the extent to which s/he feels at peace with him/herself, feels
at peace with what s/he is doing, and is free to do what s/he wants or chooses to do. An

advantage of this interpretation is that, instead of posing those last several phrases as end-objects,
we pose each of them as guy/zip lines, about which we can ask, How can the subject reduce this
constraint on his/her experience of leisure?
Iso-Ahola (1980) says,

While we acknowledge Neulingers distinction, we disagree with his contention that

leisure is only a subjective state of mind. ... Leisure and work cannot be substituted
for each other.

Thus, both objectivity and subjectivity have to be taken into

account in any definition of leisure.


Without free-time a person cannot have

While it is a necessary condition for leisure, free-time is seldom equated

with leisure.

These considerations lead to the suggestion that the simplest

difference between the two concepts is one in which free-time is employed to

refer to the quantitative aspects of time left over after work and leisure to the
qualitative aspects of free-time and activities performed during it

(p. 8;

emphasis in original)

Relevant portions of this quotation, like Neulingers, can be usefully restated in terms more
compatible with the model presented in this paper. Doing so clarifies that the viewpoints of both
Neulinger and Iso-Ahola can fit within a single paradigm that they are essentially differing views
about the labels to be affixed to the parts of the array being studied and/or about the precise
moment that the researcher should study in order to isolate the components of leisure.


restatement is as follows: The subject can have a leisure experience during his/her free time.


subject cannot have a leisure experience during his/her hours of employment.

In studying a given

moment of leisure experience, we pay particular attention to the attributes or components of that
Csikszentmihalyi (1975) proposed the concept of flow.
analysis of that concept.

Space does not permit a full

Fortunately, the relationship between this concept and leisure has

received direct attention from Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991). In order to illustrate the
usefulness of the GZL model for purposes of analyzing the flow concept, it may be helpful to
explore the language that Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber use to describe flow.

It will require

several paragraphs, unfortunately, to untangle the threads.

First, Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991) say that leisure as self-actualization originated
in an ancient Greek concept in which individuals used their freedom to explore and expand their
potential (p. 91).

Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991) urge that the search for self-actualization

has been held in high account over the better part of 25 centuries; then again, they say, the
activities in which people choose to invest their free time usually do little ... to cultivate a sense of
self in the ways that Plato and Aristotle deemed appropriate for a free person (p. 94).


wonders whether people would usually choose not to invest their free time in something that
they have long held in high account.

Rather than accept that seeming contradiction, even a

non-Marxist might think that it is easy to see this idealization of leisure as a way for the social
elite ... to buttress its power .... Those who can afford [leisure as self-actualization] will sing its
praise in order to impress those who cannot (p. 94).
Although Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991) initially seem to be offering a definition of
leisure as self-actualization (p. 93), it develops that, instead, they are talking about both work

and leisure as forms of experience that would promote self-actualization or that leads to
self-actualization (p. 94).

Leisure in this sense (i.e., self-actualizing leisure) is, then, merely

a favorable condition that offers unique conditions for self-actualization (p. 94). To achieve
self-actualization, it appears, one must first attain leisure as a context of expressive freedom that
is experienced as such (p. 94).

But more is required to achieve self-actualization:


emphasizes that self-actualization cannot be achieved through some smorgasbord of experiences

and sensations.

Involvement in an activity must be deep, sustained, and disciplined to contribute

to an emerging sense of self (p. 94).

That reference to discipline, and the objective of contributing to an emerging sense of self,
may help to explain why Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991) say that both work and leisure can
promote self-actualization.

Those two authors are looking for forms of enjoyment and

expressive behavior [that are not] incompatible with serious, focused, disciplined involvement (p.

Thus, self-actualizing leisure and self-actualizing work may be functionally indis-


while an observer might be inclined to call the one leisure and the other work,

the apparently overriding commonality would be that both would be enjoyable yet serious, and
would promote self-actualization.
To the extent that self-actualization is the priority, this viewpoint would seem to suggest
that it is not particularly important to study or define leisure very carefully.

Indeed, the proffered

definition of self-actualizing leisure turns upon the availability of freedom, which may not be a
primary component in typical concepts of work raising the question of whether (a) freedom is
not particularly important to the achievement of self-actualization, and therefore the proffered
definition of leisure is somewhat gratuitious, or (b) the only form of work in which one could

achieve self-actualization would be one in which, like leisure, the person finds him/herself in a
context of expressive freedom that is experienced as such (p. 94), in which case one wonders how
work and leisure differ.

Either way, the preoccupation with self-actualization seems to obscure

the meaning of leisure.

One might conclude given Csikszentmihalis own findings (with

LeFevre, 1989) that Csikszentmihalis ideal flow experiences occur three times more often
during work (51%) than during leisure (17%) that flow is not a significant leisure-related topic.
Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991) cite interviews with hundreds of people for the
proposition that whenever people enjoy what they are doing, they report very similar experiential
states (p. 95).

At first blush, the proposition appears to be that, while people have been

experiencing highly distinct pleasures of food, sex, campfire storytelling, indulgence in

psychactive substances, and athletic activity for eons, they have somehow failed to realize that all
of these enjoyable experiences result in similar experiential states.
That assertion being unlikely, except perhaps at some very high level of abstraction,
Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991) attempt to rescue it by distinguishing enjoyment from
pleasure. Enjoyment, they say, requires activity and ability, and drifts into boredom unless a
person keeps taking on new challenges, unlike pleasure, which is often passive and rarely leads
to self-actualization (p. 96).

To clarify this distinction, the authors say that having sex is like

drinking when thirsty, in that it does not require complex skills and can be repeated over and over
and still be pleasurable [without risk of boredom] (p. 96).

One wonders whether the authors

may have revealed a matter of very private viewpoint with which many persons having some other
experience level, sexual orientation, or gender would disagree.


Unlike the supposedly passive activity of sex, Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991) offer
the active enterprise of reading a novel, in which they detect an inner experience much like that
experienced when one climbs a mountain.

Yet if the comparison were apt, one would wonder

why literate people would bother with mountain-climbing.

Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991)

caution that the similarity occurs only when the participant reaches the point of feeling like s/he is
being carried away by a current, like being in a flow (p. 95).

With tongue in cheek, one

observes that, if the novel-reader fails to achieve that state, s/he must have failed to read the novel
for the purpose of engaging in serious, focused, disciplined involvement (p. 94) in order to
achieve mastery of manipulating symbols (p. 95).
In the experience of flow, according to Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber (1991), the
participant experiences a balance between skill and challenge.

Too much skill, and s/he will

become bored (in which case one wonders whether the distinction between enjoyment and pleasure,
above, was necessary). Too much challenge, and the participant will become frustrated.

Also, a

goal is thought to be essential in the usual case (p. 95) again, perhaps, displaying a
stereotypically male way of thinking, and also seeming to deny the possibility of peak experience
to those who seek to renounce striving or who attempt to live in the present moment, or who
simply want a romantic gaze or other pleasant experience to go on forever.

Persons who have

enjoyed any of those latter examples may suspect that, when compared to the flow experience of
challenge and skill enjoyed by a drunken pool player in a rare moment of balance, theirs has not
necessarily been the lesser experience, not even for purposes of self-actualization.
information on additional serious weaknesses in the "flow" theory, see Vitters (2000), p. 123.)



As with the other theoretical views discussed above, the GZL model facilitates
comprehension and analysis of the useful, leisure-related concepts in the flow model, as follows:
One can label the vertical pole (i.e., the Y axis) in a GZL array as leisure, as self-actualized
leisure, as flow experience, or in other ways.

If one labels the pole as self-actualized

leisure, Csikszentmihalyi and Kleiber would apparently wish to include, as a determinant, the
degree of expressive freedom; they might also include measurements (i.e., guy/zip lines) for
seriousness, discipline, and focus.

If one labels the pole as flow experience, those two scholars

would apparently study, as determinants, the existence and degree of skill and challenge, with
particular focus upon the mathematical or geometric solution point on the Y axis that indicates
whether skill and challenge are contributing equally to the degree of flow experienced.
In brief, the GZL model might be construed as taking a definitional approach to the study
of leisure experience, to the extent that it is oriented toward efforts to identify the relevant
attributes of that experience, along the lines suggested by Mannell and Kleiber (1997, p. 107).
The difference between this model and the Mannell-Kleiber definitional approach is that we do not
add a new definition to the mountain of definitional approaches that people have already
undertaken; instead, we simply offer a tool and a vocabulary with which to boil down and present
the essentials of any definition of leisure experience.

Relationships between the GZL Model and Other Models

Crawford, Jackson, and Godbey (1991, p. 313) focus on leisure behavior particularly

Participation, they say, is a function of three categories of constraints:

personal, interpersonal, and structural.


To understand the differences among these categories, one


might distinguish leisure preferences and leisure participation. If people fail to participate in an
activity in which they would prefer to participate, the Crawford-Jackson-Godbey model says that
the disconnect is due to structural constraints, which are constraints as they are commonly
conceptualized (e.g., season, finances) (p. 311).

Intrapersonal constraints are inner, psycho-

logical constraints that operate solely upon preferences. Interpersonal constraints derive from
interpersonal interaction or the relationships among individuals characteristics (e.g., finding
someone who would be interested in joining in the chosen activity) (p. 312). In this model,
constraints arise in a rigidly linear, hierarchical fashion:

until one forms the intrapersonal desire

to participate in an activity, the question of finding a partner does not arise; and only when one
forms the desire and finds the partner does it become relevant that there is not enough of some
resource (e.g., time, money) with which to engage in the activity.
This model might become more powerful if it accommodated shades of gray such as the
possibility that an intrapersonal constraint might be weak, thereby affecting, say, the quality or
helpfulness of the partner with whom one proposes to undertake the activity. It would also
benefit from greater flexibility, so as to accommodate the case in which one had not thought of
participating in an activity until a would-be partner suggests it.

Moreover, its interpersonal

category does not clearly add anything to the structural category, which seems capable of
accommodating the classic problem that there is no one to play with.
The GZL models focus upon leisure experience allows any constraint to be considered or
ignored, according to whether it is relevant to that experience. Thus, while Crawford et al. would
treat the intrapersonal situation as mere prologue, the GZL model says that the persons experience
of leisure is the whole point, and that constraints of any form structural, psychological, or what


have you are not constraints unless they have something to do with the persons experience of
leisure at a specific moment.

The model also has the advantage of being based upon the intuitive

impression that most things are composed of other things.

That is, instead of the closed-end

outcome that Crawford et al. reach, the GZL model is capable of perpetually linking the experience
of leisure in a moment to any number of prior causes (i.e., leisure constraints) and any number of
ensuing effects (e.g., the experience of excitement in the moment; the experience of contemplative
mood in the moment), many of which may be cyclically linked back to the experience of leisure in
the moment.

The GZL model is also able to avoid being forced to the self-congratulatory

conclusion that better educated and higher income individuals are subject to fewer or weaker
intrapersonal and interpersonal constraints on participation than are their less privileged
counterparts (p. 315) a conclusion that seems highly unlikely, given e.g., Ellis, Trunnell, and
Elliss (2002, pp. 1-2) observation of social sterility in a relatively cushy neighborhood.
Ellis, Trunnell, and Ellis (2002) propose that, on both intracommunity and intercommunity
levels, constraints and affordances (which are social and environmental conditions conducive to
leisure behavior (p. 7)) lie at opposing ends of individual continua (p. 10), in the sense that, say,
one can express a belief about oneself in either negative (e.g., I cannot) or positive (e.g., I can)
terms. Since a given community-related continuum may amount to a highly personal viewpoint
(e.g., Im sure that I can make friends with my neighbors (p. 11)), the point made by Ellis,
Trunnell, and Ellis seems to apply equally well to the determinants of leisure experience:


too, may consist of various continua on which the cable-array climber may find him/herself
situated at the moment in question.


Finally, Pestle, Arrington, and Card (1989) provide a simple but illuminative model with
which we may usefully compare the GZL model. The spinning base of the carousel is said to
represent the evolving family, a preeminent influence in determining leisure behavior, within a
changing society; the ponies, moving up and down, represent dynamic figures that are connected
both down to the family (to which they pass information from the persons changing situation) and
up to the canopy overhead, which symbolizes leisure behavior.

While the model has other

elements, these in particular bear a graphic similarity to the parts of the GZL model.

The base,

like the ground to which a guy/zip line is anchored, represents an origin from which the
determinants of leisure experience begin to produce an outcome that is different from the inputs.
The subjects position on a guy/zip line, like his/her position on a pony on the carousel, is in flux;
changes in that position reflect changes in realities relevant to that persons leisure experience.
The canopy, like the pole in the GZL model, represents a terminus or outcome a significant
difference being that the GZL model allows that terminus to be a mere starting point for some
unknown number of other GZL arrays for which that terminus is a determinant.


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Description of the Guy/Zip Line Model of Leisure Experience
Leisure, whatever it is, may be presumed to have constituent elements. Suppose, for
example, that money is a factor that influences the amount of leisure a person experiences at a
certain moment. (In this discussion, we will not attempt to explore the measurement of leisure as
experienced by multiple persons collectively or by a single person cumulatively.) For simplicity,
let us assume a linear relationship: the more money, the greater the leisure experience. In this
case, we can depict the persons leisure experience with a graph like the one shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Graph showing hypothetical relationship between money and leisure experience

The shape of this graph calls to mind the picture of a pole, standing outdoors somewhere,
and a guy wire, holding it in place, as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. Pole with guy wire

The graphs shape is also like that of a zip line. A zip line is an element that appears in
some ropes courses. The participant starts from the top, and holds onto a cable that slopes
downward, toward the ground. The participant slides down the cable, toward the ground, as
shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3.

Ropes course participants using a kind of zip line

The reader will note that the combination of pole and guy wire in Figure 2 forms a right
triangle, and so does the pole and zip line in Figure 3. With some adjustments, it would be
possible to design a single cable to serve as both a guy wire and a zip line. A person might climb
up it, or might zip (or slide) down it. Of course, the climbing could be difficult, and the zipping
might be deadly; but the device itself would function adequately for the purposes stated.
As with Figures 2 and 3, Figure 1 also happens to suggest a right triangle. Thus, we
observe that the graph in Figure 1 could represent a combined guy/zip line, with someone climbing
up the hypotenuse, in an attempt to reach the top of the leisure pole. If the climber loses his/her
grip, of course, s/he will no longer be closing on the pinnacle, but will instead be plummeting
toward the cellar.

Figure 1 shows a simplified hypothetical relationship between money and leisure

experience. As we move rightwards along the X axis, we move higher along the money line,
toward the pinnacle of leisure experience. In this depiction, we do not mean to suggest that the
subject must have all the money in the world in order to achieve a peak leisure experience at the
moment in question. That (or something like it) may be the case for some subjects at some
moments, but is presumably not the case for most subjects at most moments. The peak point on
the money line, in Figure 1, represents merely the amount of money (whatever that amount may be)
that would be required to provide an ideal leisure experience, for the particular person being
studied, at the precise moment under observation.
Likewise, as we turn to the Y axis of Figure 1, we do not purport to specify the unit of
vertical measurement. The vertical pole that one could draw into Figure 1 may represent the
quality of leisure experience, or it may represent the significance of leisure experience, or perhaps
the intensity or some other form of measurement or commentary upon the nature of leisure
experience for that subject at that moment. In short, the pole can represent whatever it is that we
consider fundamental about leisure experience. For now, without attempting to take a position on
what we should measure in the context of leisure, we will say simply that vertical distance on the
pole represents the degree of leisure experienced.
Figure 1 presents a simplified, hypothetical relationship between money and leisure
experience. The student of leisure may wish to postulate that a second factor, in addition to
money, could help to explain the degree of leisure experienced. For purposes of illustration, let
us suppose that the second postulated factor is age. We now have three dimensions to measure
leisure, money, and age. To depict the ways in which these factors may influence one another, we
need a three-dimensional graph, like the one shown in Figure 4, with X, Y, and Z axes.

Figure 4. Example a of 3-D graph

Sadly, this is as far as we can go. If the student of leisure wishes to speculate that yet
another factor say, strength influences the degree of leisure experienced, we will need a
four-dimensional graph, which we cannot presently display or imagine.


If we are willing to forego the opportunity to study interactions among such multiple
factors, however, and focus instead solely upon the various relationships between each individual
factor and the core topic of leisure, two-dimensional graphs will suffice. For example, Figure 5
shows a series of XY graphs, each of which depicts, independently, the relationship between a
single factor and the possible leisure experiences of the subject.

Figure 5. Graphs showing hypothetical relationships between various factors and leisure experience

A real-life construction of the graphs shown in Figure 5 would require us to erect three
separate leisure poles and run one cable from each. Instead, however, we could use one pole and
run three separate lines from it. Nor need three be our limit. We can run as many lines as we
wish, and each can represent a separate two-dimensional graph of the relationship between leisure
and one of its hypothetical constituents.
We can represent two factors with a pair of back-to-back right triangles, as in Figure 6.
(Each factor would ordinarily have its own scale on the X axis, presumably decreasing as one
moves either left or right, away from the XY intersection at the base of the leisure pole.)

Figure 6.

Two-dimensional graph showing two factors rather than just one


But to represent three or more lines on a single pole, we need a three-dimensional depiction,
reminiscent of a maypole (or, perhaps, of the skeleton of an umbrella), with lines going down on
all sides, as in Figure 7. We refer to this complete array of lines around a single pole as a
Guy/Zip Line Array, or a GZL Array for short.

Figure 7.

Multiple two-dimensional graphs combined into a three-dimensional array of guy/zip lines

Of course, a hypothetical climber cannot be located on multiple guy/zip lines at once.

Rather than imagine a person with many hands, placed on multiple cables at potentially
considerable distances from one another, it may be more convenient to think of a given spot on a
guy/zip line as the place where the subject would be located if s/he were climbing up (or sliding
down) that particular cable at that particular instant. Thus, we can characterize the subjects
progress toward a leisure ideal in terms of his/her current position on various cables, like the dots
shown on various lines in Figure 7.
For each postulated determinant of the degree of leisure experience (e.g., money), then, at
the moment in question, the subject is experiencing a certain quantity, quality, capacity, or
whatever the student of leisure might wish to call it. If, for example, the observer speculates that
the possession of $100 would completely satisfy the monetary requirements for a peak leisure
experience in the designated moment of the subjects existence, and if the subject actually
possesses $50, we might put a dot halfway up the money line on the GZL Array; and we might say
that, at that moment, the subject hypothetically enjoys 50% of the specified leisure determinant.
For instance, the subject may have lots of intelligence, money, and experience, but not
much strength, popularity, or integrity; and if the student of leisure postulates that those six factors
are important in determining the degree of leisure experienced, the guy/zip line model can depict
that scenario. The dots on various cables one dot per cable, showing the progress that the
person has made against the relevant constraint(s) combine to provide a map of the persons

If the student of leisure suggests that only two factors are required to determine the degree
of leisure experienced, we could theoretically reach a geometric solution, simply by drawing a line
that would connect the points of determinant capacity on two opposed guy/zip lines, as shown in
Figure 8. Needless to say, before attempting any such geometric solution (or the mathematical
solution it implies), one would want to calibrate the measurements on the pole, and on the
opposing lines, so as to insure that the point of intersection on the pole (point B, in Figure 8) does
meaningfully represent the actual degree of leisure experienced.

Figure 8.

Two-dimensional graph with hypothetical geometric solution at point B on Y axis

Of course, if the student of leisure instead suggests that multiple factors are required to
determine the degree of leisure experienced, the geometric and mathematical solutions could be
more complex. One imagines a three-dimensional polygon, probably not lying on a single plane,
that could connect all the dots and intersect the leisure pole at some calculated point.
The GZL array captures the possibility that the subject may be able to use different
combinations of factors to achieve a given degree of leisure experience (i.e., to reach a given
altitude on the pole). At one instant, for example, s/he may have more money and less time, and
may achieve a point that is 45% of the way up the pole; at another instant in life, s/he may have
more time and less money, and yet may still achieve that same 45% vertical point. Of course, if it
should develop that the resulting leisure experience is, itself, no longer the same as before, we
would need to clarify that the name of the pole has changed, or that cables have been shortened
and have pulled the pole to lean at a different angle, or perhaps that the cables have been moved
over to a new pole, and that the old one has fallen into desuetude.
The accommodation of multiple factors in principle does not prevent the subject from
being preoccupied, at the given moment, with a single determinant. It is as if the subjects hands
left marks on each cable s/he climbs, so that an imaginary investigator could see how far the
subject climbed before some shift in his/her attention caused him/her to be suddenly flung to some
other point in the GZL array.
Although we speak of the subjects actual experience of a given level of capacity with
respect to a given leisure determinant, the model would also be able to depict the situation if,
instead, the student of leisure wished to map the subjects perceived level of capacity with respect

to that determinant. We could also map the inherent subjectivity of the researchers intrusion into
the subjects array by depicting the researcher, not as a godlike figure surveying the entire picture,
but rather as an explorer, wandering around the array, trying to figure out how far the subject had
managed to climb up a particular cable, before s/he slipped down or fell or was tossed off by some
abrupt transition into an ensuing moment of life, and what the subject would have needed in order
to climb further.
The subjects last point of contact with a cable can change in an instant, as s/he finds that
s/he has gained or lost some quantity of a particular factor required for leisure. The subject can
also experience a pleasant or unsettling ride, as the cable gets suddenly shortened or lengthened,
putting him/her closer to, or perhaps further away from, the leisure pole. If, for example, it
develops that the subject suddenly requires less money in order to achieve a peak leisure
experience, the calibration on the X axis would suddenly change, and the amount of cash in the
subjects pocket might suddenly vault him/her much closer to the leisure pole, in terms of that
particular determinant of the ideal leisure experience.
The subjects points of contact with various cables are not the only things that might be
fluctuating. It may develop, for example, that while money was previously believed to be a
determinant of the specified leisure experience, suddenly it turns out that money is of lesser
significance in the grand leisure equation. In this case, instead of being connected to the top of
the pole, the highest anchoring point of the money guy/zip line may suddenly slip down to an spot
that is a mere fraction of the way up the pole, as shown in Figure 9.
For these reasons, we visualize a dynamic, constantly changing GZL Array that features
many lines (with a dot on each), each of which may be growing short or longer, rising or falling on
the leisure pole, whipping across to some other pole, with some new lines materializing while
others vanish into thin air, as the moments tick by and the conception of the determinants of leisure
fluctuates and meanwhile the geometric solution slides up and down the pole and the subject,
like a spider, bounces around from one line to another on every random thought and changing
circumstance of existence.

Figure 9. Depiction of the case in which even an ideal quantity of money

would not suffice to yield a peak leisure experience

In this model, we measure the actual or perceived degree of leisure experience along the
pole or Y axis. But we could use a similar Y axis, on another graph, to measure the actual or

perceived degree of some other characteristic of existence. For example, if one wished to
construct a guy/zip line array for the actual or perceived experience of material wealth, one could
set up a similar diagram, with lines for such factors as effort, education, inheritance, and whatever
else may be thought to go into the degree of wealth experienced. In fact, one could construct
similar guy/zip diagrams for myriad characteristics of human existence.
Also, as noted above, the model need not be limited to one conception of leisure. That is,
there might be more than one pole that a casual observer might call a leisure pole. One such
pole might depict the relationship between various components and that form of leisure experience
known as flow experience. Another pole might depict the relationship between various
components and an entirely different kind of leisure experience.
Nor need the model be limited to leisure. One could use it to express the relationship
between any experience and its components. The landscape could be covered with endless
numbers of GZL arrays, each comprised of angular lines representing determinants of the
experience in question, each dotted with contact points signifying the subjects current actual or
perceived state of capacity with respect to those various determinants.

Figure 10. GZL Arrays depicting five different mental states

If there is a GZL Array for wealth, and another GZL Array for leisure, and if wealth is
thought to be a component of leisure, then one could draw lines indicating the relationship between
the two poles. For example, the wealth line on the leisure pole might originate at a place on the
wealth pole that represents the current geometric solution of the subjects condition of wealth; the
line might then angle over to an appropriate point on the leisure pole, perhaps having a relatively
flat slope, and thereby contributing impressively to the geometric solution on the leisure pole.
Likewise for other hypothesized leisure determinants that may, in turn, have their own
If wealth and leisure are thought to have a mutual relationship (that is, if leisure is not
merely influenced by wealth, but also influences the experience of wealth), the same might occur
in reverse: the current geometric solution on the leisure pole might anchor the wealth-pole line
that represents the contribution of leisure to the experience of wealth. More generally, it would

be hypothetically possible to link all mental states, whether examined as subjective or objective
phenomena, to one another by means of lateral guy/zip lines. Awareness of this possibility may
open additional ways of visualizing the relationships among various determinants of leisure and
various mental states relevant to leisure. The network that might result from a complete mapping
of all such contacts might represent a subjects aggregate experience, if it attempts to depict the
subjects actual level of capacity with respect to each determinant; or it might represent
consciousness, if it instead attempts to depict the subjects perceived level of capacity.