Laziness is one of the seven deadly sins. At one time or another, we have all felt lazy. But what, exactly, does laziness even mean?
The classic conception of a lazy person is someone who sits around all day, doing nothing. But even a “lazy” person is doing something, right? They are not in a vegetative state.
For as example, let’s pretend that the lazy person in question sits around all day playing video games. They contribute nothing, just hours and hours of Xbox.
But isn’t that video game play, in itself, something they are working quite hard at? They are advancing in the game, learning playing techniques, maybe even reading about cheat codes or Easter eggs. A decent amount of time and effort might go in to learning how to play. Can that really be considered lazy?
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How can we encourage debate?’
Admittedly, playing video games doesn’t really improve life in any way. Or does it? There are people who upload videos of themselves playing video games to YouTube, and make hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in doing so. Are they lazy?
The difference there may be one person is earning a paycheck, and the other is not. Is laziness tied to money? One person doing something is lazy, someone else doing the exact same thing for pay is not lazy? Does that make any sense?
It may be that our classical definition of “lazy” merely means “disinterested”. Perhaps someone who is late for work, doesn’t try very hard, makes a lot of easily-fixed mistakes, is simply not interested in doing that job. That same person might be totally invested in playing video games, or managing their fantasy football team, or even working at a more engaging job.
In that case, a different definition of “laziness” may be in order. Can you think of one?
Related questions: Pride or humility? When do you need inspiration? What gives you purpose? What is the worst job you’ve ever had?