On Laziness — A confession

Someone very close to me recently called me, partly in jest but not without reason, lazy. I don’t have to get up and physically go to work much these days so I can see what this person (in this case, she, or, more specifically, my wife) means. I have all sorts of grandiose plans for the day but not much to show for them at sundown. (I like the word sundown). It helps me remember that tweeting and facebooking (notoriously terrible temptations if you (try to) work from home) are not actual activities at all, but mere simulations thereof. In the fullest of senses, what we are doing (what I am doing) when we (I) are/am staring at a smartphone or shouting at a computer screen is not changing the world but avoiding more meaningful and more truly engaging activities. This might explain the particular relation, which I always have difficulty articulating (or just can’t be bothered to think about properly) between the twin developments of the internet and our ‘knowledge’ of climate change. At the exact moment we need to engage with one another and our physical environment as never before, we hide behind a screen, in the vague lazy hope that the problem will sort itself out, even though nobody we know is even talking about it, let alone trying to prevent or prepare for it. It’s just too much hard work. There is also, I admit, the fact that most people spend far too many hours doing entirely bullshit things for money, looking after children, and being told by The Man that they’re still not doing enough…I should really think about this some more, but it’s the internet, so there’s not really all that much at stake. I readily apologise to anyone I have offended and/or disappointed in this paragraph.

Much-quoted in what I have bothered to read of philosophy over the last few years have been the lines from Nieteschzxe (I’m tragically too lazy to cut and paste the correct spelling) about the ‘last man’, who “is tired of life, takes no risks, and seeks only comfort and security”. Reading the comments from Europeans about the refugees escaping from, let’s face it, hell over the last few weeks has made this phrase resonate. The opposite of cultural decline into the world of the Last Man for Neechy is the Will to Power, and I don’t want to suggest here that the opposite to overusing twitter is to open the windows into the gathering storm, wack on some Wagner and read Ayn ‘Medicare’ Rand out loud to your cat, but I do want to pledge (is that the same as actually pledging?) to be less lazy in the future, whatever that means. At the risk of sounding a little like sub-Ted Talks ‘philosopher’ Alan de Button (anyone who’s actually reading this will be able to spot the names of my very least-favourite-people-whose-names-begin-with-A in these last two sentences), we should all try (actually this really only applies to me, which is why Alan de Bottom is such an unbearably patronizing wanker, a multibillion pound inheritee writes a book explaining what work means?!, no thanks Al) I should try hard to make much better use of my energies and time than I do at present. So if you see me on twitter, feel free to tell me to fuck off, even if you’re not in #Ukip. The End.

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