This is an old saying.
Like, pre-electricity old.
So, some cobbled together linguistic history.
(DISCLAIMER: I am not a credentialed historian, of, well anything really. I’m a hobbyist with access to the internet and very interesting friends.)
So, before the days of electric lighting, (in the US it was about 1925 before roughly half of all American households had electricity, thereby the ability to be electrically lit. Yes, ability, is doing a lot of work in that sentence. There might be a more accurate date for the widespread use of electric lighting in the US, but I’m waaaay too lazy to go looking for it just now. Have fun with your Google if that’s your brand of rabbit hole,) homes were lit by lamps and candles. Both were expensive.
Because candles were expensive anything one did after dark, that required that degree of illumination, had to be judged against whether or not it was worth the price of the candle that would be used up to illuminate it.
Hence the phrase – as I first heard it anyways – “a game worth the candle.”
Nowadays it has a somewhat different meaning – even if you aren’t likely to hear it said too often.
Something being “worth the candle” today, means something worthy of one’s attention or effort.
(I’ll point out that the current “labor shortage” due to Capitalist #greedy-fuck-weasels being unwilling to pay people enough to risk the possibility of death or disability to come to a job flipping burgers or whatever, should be proof enough that your effort is certainly worth something. And usually, worth more than any greedy-capitalist-fuck-weasel is willing to pay you for it. But I digress.)
Allow me to point out that your attention is also worth something.
Just look at the money spent and the lengths businesses are willing to go to in order to capture and retain it.
Hell, your attention isn’t just worth something, that shit is valuable, precious even.
In the current “information economy” age, your data is the fossil fuels that make the machinery run. Bought and sold, keeping the belts turning and the gears spinning.
And the only way companies can get that delicious capitalist crack cocaine is by attracting and retaining your attention. Pretty much all of our culture and media, (in the US at least,) is geared towards grabbing you by your primate attention span and trying to dazzle you with sparkly shit long enough to get the fix every capitalist so desperately needs.
So, your attention is a commodity – perhaps the most prized on the current market.
I’m going to suggest that you take that fact to heart, and begin to see the power your attention gives you.
It is well past time we all took a moment to consider how dear a resource our attention is, and whether or not any given thing is worth so precious a resource.
We are bombarded, day and night, with demands for our attention…
Maybe it’s time we started thinking about whether or not the too bright, too loud thing being shoved under our noses is actually worth the candle?
Thanks for spending some of your valuable resource here.
Until next time…