“Lazy”

No-one is lazy, nothing is lazy. It’s always slander, and almost always baseless.

“Lazy” is what a writer or a thinker says when his argument has run out of steam, and it’s always some sort of bigoted “reason” applied to some group of people that we will allow it for. Voters are too “lazy” to research the issues and the candidates, most people are “lazy” and don’t plan for the future – it’s not that other people are slaving away upwards from forty hours a week to muddy the issues and manage what we get to know about candidates, it’s not that “less lazy” people take every penny poor people have before they can even afford to go to the doctor, again, as their paid job, all day long.

I’ve been learning philosophy in a podcast, and that’s every damn philosopher’s answer about regular people too, why we don’t think more. They’re living lives of contemplation, but regular folks are – OK, intellectually – “lazy.”

Of course, it’s understood, at least since the industrial revolution, right? “Lazy” is bad, sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. This when all these lazy plebes’ constant labour before and after that amplification of it has all but destroyed the world. It’s amazing that it could need to be said, but it wasn’t those lazy gorillas did all that. “Work” isn’t all good, not by a long shot. We didn’t wipe this environment out on our vacations. We do that at work.

That podcast, Philosophize This, by one Stephen West, is a good overview/history of philosophy, but I swear, if we run all things philosophical and/or psychological through a filter of biology and evolutionary thinking, then we can really start to learn something. Case in point, Stephen describes a version of human nature, a story to explain human laziness, that if we live beside a stream, we tend not to use a distant stream for our water, that of course, we go to the handy one. In this blank slate, philosophical conversation, this shows laziness to be our default condition – but biology has a different take.

That is not laziness, that is evolution, survival. We need water, but to walk for miles spending calories for calorie free water makes no sense. This sort of “laziness” is demonstrably selected for and survival critical. Clearly, the person whose take on human nature is alluded to above, has a stake in someone else’s output. Perhaps he has a food stand between the streams.

Beware of the “lazy” label, it’s always a dodge, a slander thrown out in lieu of an actual argument. Lazy is good, the world needs more lazy. It’s the Hippocratic oath, a huge part of first doing no harm.

 

Jeff,

Jan. 23rd., 2018

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One thought on ““Lazy”

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