In Praise Of Laziness

Let's Be Lazy!

I expect the bones of an individual to be stronger and in better condition than the rest of the body constituents. How less effort is involved in vitamin D intake! Just lie down in the sun. You do not have to work out, sweat out, not even make the little effort of eating. Just keep lying there. If anyone tries to agitate you, rebuke you, and interrupt you in your occupation and urges you to do something else that is considered to be more important, you may simply protest — ‘Can’t you see? I am making my bones stronger!’

There is a short story by Saki where the protagonist yearns for a life like that of a flower, which ‘keeps sitting at one place for the whole day doing nothing except just looking beautiful’.

Lethargy has its importance, which is not generally recognised. It is a sort of social service — our little contribution towards bringing peace and order to society. Elsewhere I have observed that the empty minds with no occupations could indulge in any type of destructive activity. Hence, by not doing anything, by not moving at all, we are keeping ourselves from contributing in any way to the prevailing social disorder. It is not a small achievement, my friend, people should understand and appreciate us. Further, given that our bones are now stronger by such a modest intake of vitamin D, our impact would have been highly disastrous. It has never been easy for the human beings to lead a disciplined and constrained life. Martial arts and Yoga try to help people in controlling themselves, and bringing their bodies under their own control. But with how much trouble and effort! And look at our efficiency —  with so less effort we have achieved the same goal of utter tranquility and cessation of thought!

Once I read in a book on computer programming that in order to become a good programmer, a person needs to be lazy, very very lazy. The teacher argued that only in that case the programmer would find ways to reduce the task involved and to get rid of the work as soon as possible. That involves writing good scripts for routine, intensive, and boring tasks. After reading the arguments presented, I started wondering whether it applies to other fields also other than computer programming, and whether laziness in fact increases or reduces efficiency and work output.

I asked a student what does he do when he does not feel like studying or working. His answer was simple — ‘YouTube’. And he explained how intense an activity it was — ‘…to search for videos, to sit or lie at one place hour after hour, doing nothing except breathing, and having nothing to eat except chips and biscuits. You can call it a spiritual exercise of a different kind. But then videos started coming in several parts, and the viewer was required to search and open the next part after every 15 minutes. Also, for full length videos, one had to get up and skip the ad. Of course, I could have allowed it to play if it was interesting. But during election time, it gets annoying. And there is no variety. Now I should search for other avenues. Don’t smile Sir! It is a very demanding exercise, not all people are able to do it. In my opinion, there can be no better exercise for the eyes and the fingers’.

His friend added — ‘For me it is not so intensive. I mean, I do not make so much effort for searching content. In this way, one step — the most elaborate one — is removed. I just open YouTube and click on whatever comes up. And I let it play — whatever and however it be. Nothing else matters, as long as something is moving on the screen’.

One of my acquaintances returned from a conference. I asked him for his experiences and the sort of time he had there. ‘Very nice. Did nothing, nothing at all. Kept leaning on a sofa at the foyer, and watched the delegates. Did just that for 4 days. I was not doing anything. Not even thinking anything’. Now, my friend, that is called infinite bliss. That is the epitome of all happiness that the whole humanity is chasing.

When the weather is sultry, have you observed the stillness of trees, their leaves? In what a perfect state of tranquility and order they are! Only a mild perturbation of a light breeze would move them, otherwise ages would pass and they won’t even make the slightest movement. And what supreme beauty they possess — artists from all countries and cultures, since time immemorial, have been trying hard to replicate that perfect state of serenity and immobility.

Newton told us — ‘I won’t move unless you push me’. This is inertia, the first and the most fundamental law of mechanics. Inertia is thus inherent in human nature and personality. That is the only real philosophy. When someone asks you to know your real self, and realise your true nature, they are in fact asking you to be lethargic, totally and completely lazy. And if anyone asks you to shed away that momentary pleasure and take up some assignment that would definitely make you perspire and smell, then understand well that you are being asked to work against your real nature. It is for you to decide which way do you choose to go.

Disclaimer: Practise lethargy at your own risk. While you cherish the pleasure of the moment, and look forward to that blissful state, be well-informed of its effect on your physical, mental, and spiritual degradation.

photo credit: lazy sunday via photopin (license)

4 thoughts on “In Praise Of Laziness

  1. Amit Misra

    A very popular reply to counter anyone who insists that you should work is:-

    अजगर करे न चाकरी, पंछी करे न काम।
    दास मलूका कह गए, सबके दाता राम।।

  2. Amit Misra

    I read some article about devices controlled by thoughts. I have been sitting since yesterday before my laptop, staring at the screen, and trying to figure out if I could reply to your comment just by thinking…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s