It is dangerous to concede one’s subsistence to sloth because work is paramount to survival, a free mind has no navigation, and a multifaceted life has a risk of being reduced to one dimension. Let us first examine the necessity of work. Work plays an integral role in maintaining a desirable lifestyle; needless to say, lack of action retards global development making life less comfortable.
In many of his monologues, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle asserts that we work to have leisure, on which happiness depends. It interprets that our homes, automobiles, the internet, and general consumption are all products of work done, and one’s life would be less comfortable if these necessities did not exist. Imagine a world populated by nomadic, primitive sapiens whose only job is to survive.
Absurd, right? Neurologists and Psychologists also suggest that the brain requires work to function above the threshold of sanity; therefore, no work makes you insane. Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis, from the Department of Psychology at the Cambridge University, and Dr. Richard Weiler, an Honorary Consultant in sport and exercise medicine based at University College London NHS, explains that humans are designed to move, owing to millions of years of intense manual labour, and therefore should avoid being lethargic (Weiler & Stamatakis, 2010).
They urge that inactivity can lead to coronary heart disease, obesity, type II diabetes, mental illness and dementia (Weiler & Stamatakis, 2010). A picture-perfect life, right? Adding to this, lack of work undermines one’s quest to fulfill their self-actualization.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs depicts that the need to meet self-actualization is a trait intrinsic in all human beings. This requirement represents the highest pyramid level that one should fulfill to have a satisfying life. However, one would only actualize their full potential if work is done; in other words, a portion of one’s basic needs would be unfulfilled without work.
Let us now examine the ramifications of a free mind. Relying on the mind’s desires to navigate oneself through the labyrinth of life creates space for vulnerability. For example, an open mind desires to satisfy one’s wants, not needs. Being devoid of purpose causes one to seek rushes of nirvana to fill that void; online often becomes susceptible to a life of drugs, sex or other activities to fuel their desires. Hal Niedzviecki states in his article titled “Stupid Jobs are Easy to Relax With” that “there was a lot of pot-smoking” (Neidzviecki, n.d), which he and his co-workers often escape their jobs to engage in.
This exemplifies a situation where desire is prioritized over need, possibly hampering the fulfillment of the other requirements illustrated by Maslow’s hierarchy: physiological, safety, belonging and esteem. Also, a free mind facilitates radicalization – or wrong-doing of some sort. A well-known idiom says that the devil finds work for idle hands.
This reveals that one is vulnerable to the devil’s schemes without purpose. Sociologists reaffirm this notion that a free mind leads to internalizing, leading to possible extreme beliefs that cause irrational behaviour.
Well, at least Mr. Niedzviecki and his free-minded compatriots believe it’s rational. The last point to add, a free mind represents a ‘pseudo-solace’ used to escape reality and responsibilities of life. Every human is tasked with a liability of some kind, and therefore, no one, in theory, has a free mind. Often we desire to escape our responsibilities or the hardballs that life throws at us. Thus we resort to comforting activities.
These activities do not solve our problems or take care of our responsibilities but merely distract us from the guilt of not doing anything. For example, Hal Niedzviecki, in his article, states:
But this ushering Nirvana wouldn’t last long. Danger takes many forms for an usher, including patrons who use wheelchairs who need help going to the inaccessible bathroom, vomiting teens, and the usher’s worst nemesis, the disruptive patron.
And yes, to my semi-conscious horror, she was: well dressed, blonde, drunk and doped up, swaying in her seat and clapping. Clapping. She clapped in the middle of Springsteen’s solo dirge about Pancho or Pedro or Luisa. Sweat beaded on my forehead. The worst was happening. She was in my section. (Niedzviecki, n.d)
Let us finally zoom in on the effects of a one-dimensional life. A one-dimensional life inhibits one’s ability to cope with the complexity and diversity presented in it. To reassure one’s conscience, one would experience many emotions characterized by self-loathe, denial, jealousy, anger, schadenfreude, bias, and remorse.
Brian Little, an expert on personality psychology, is quoted by Christian Jarrett in her article titled “The secret to living a meaningful life” saying that one can break free from the constraints of their permanent personality traits by developing achievable, personal goals that would expand the depths of their life (Jarrett, 2017).
He proposes that whether the goal involves losing weight, writing a book or even being a better pet owner, expanding the dimensions of one’s life has positive implications on one’s emotional well-being. To put it another way, one would feel depressed about the state of their life provided they believe their lives are worse off than everyone else.
As well as being plagued by emotional distress, one’s common sense would be distorted through the lens of their emotions. That is, one’s reasoning is typically constructed on the premise of one’s own life experiences; therefore, having emotional scars can potentially warp the constructs of their reasoning capabilities, causing them to make emotional rather than rational life decisions.
Emotionally based decisions are dangerous because they aim to satisfy one’s short-term emotional well-being, disregarding the long-term effects of such decisions. Is it wise to listen to your heart? The last point to add, a one-dimensional life breeds stagnation or truncates growth which can prove detrimental to one’s social experiences. Hal Niedzviecki concedes that his life is just as stagnant as his father’s.
He admits that his assertions are unpopular by stating that he does not care what no one thinks of him (Niedzviecki, n.d). This illustrates his detachment from societal norms and perhaps highlights retardation of his social experiences – his viewpoints and social engagements may be met with many rebuttals. Rebuttals like this one.
Relieving oneself of sloth represents real emancipation, where one is freed from the concerns of not surviving, having no navigation and having a one-dimensional life. Hal Niedzviecki should take this advice. He should salvage a bit of happiness for his father, who failed with effort. His father may want to relive his professional life through him. But he does not care; he is a sinner after all.
Jarrett, C. (2017, February 1). The secret to living a meaningful life. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com
Niedzviecki, H. (n.d.). Stupid Jobs are Easy to Relax with. Preparing for the English Exit Exam, volume 1. Retrieved from https://www.ccdmd.qc.ca/media/ss_rel_texts_Booklet_StupidJobs.pdf
Stutzer, A., & Lalive, R. (2001). The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being. Zurich, Switzerland: Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich.
Weiler, R., Stamatakis, E. (2010, October 29). Laziness will send us to an early grave. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com