Monday, June 8, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins Remix: Sloth Edition

So I'm sometime pretty fucking lazy.

Part of it is just that, I'm just really fucking lazy. Part of it is I have trouble disciplining myself. Another part of it is occasionally I get a shot of depression and holy crap does it make shit hard to do.

But I grew up in Malaysia, where even if the grocery store is just like, a fifteen minute walk, we need to take the car to make it a five minute drive. *raises eyebrow* Where the work days are... pretty much twelve-hour days (my brother, now in the rat race, leave the house at 7am and is rarely home before 9pm). Where if you're enjoying yourself, you become the target of envy and ribbing, as opposed to someone taking a good deserved break. Where if you're not an old person, or a young person, your ass better be working or you'll run the risk of being called a shiftless lazy bum.

I grew up with this shit. I grew up expecting life to be a flurry of activity day-in-day-out and people are supposed to fall in love with someone we meet at work or through friends because we won't have time to go dating, and people are supposed to have families and work towards supporting those families, kids' educations, parents' retirements, our own retirements.

That is exhausting to think of, yo. And I mean, productivity is good and all, but still.

Like with other Deadly Sins, this one's a sin because it's a form of social control: keep people busy enough and they won't have time to think about themselves. They won't have time for thoughtfulness which may lead to critical thinking which may lead to questioning "hey! what the fuck is wrong with this world and why are they instituting all these damned rules which limit who and what I can be?"

Just look at Brooke Farm: the participants meant to get away in order to be self-sustaining, so they could have all the time in life to think. Instead, they found that the toil meant they were too exhausted for thinking at the end of the day.

The vita contemplativa is not for everyone, true. But neither is the vita activa. Some people are better suited for constant, tireless productivity through labour, and some others are better suited for a slower pace in life.

So I came to Nova Scotia. Where a forty-minute bus drive can be a pretty normal thing, walking everywhere is generally acceptable. And people go home at 5pm and don't work weekends unless it's retail.

And you know what, I fucking love it. I love taking the long moseying walks around the Public Gardens and I love hiking Crystal Crescent and I love going downtown to listen to bands play and I love seeing people out in Victoria Park during summer doing nothing but lay on the grass in the sun.

I loved university because in between classes I could take naps, in the afternoon. I don't understand the 9-5 workday because it seems to me more people are most productive in the mornings and evenings, not the afternoons. We need that break. I took a lot of breaks. I napped a lot in Residence. I napped in the school's "meditation and prayer room" (there was a couch there, and it was primarily for Muslim students to pray at, although there were also texts of other religions there). I napped in the drama society office (we had a couch).

I sometimes also napped in class.

I usually woke up from these naps energized. In my Honours seminar, I napped for the first half (4.30 to 5) and was wide awake and contributing and occasionally commandeering the conversation for the second half (5 to 6.30).

Naps are important. Taking breaks from everyday life is important. Some people blaze through life tirelessly and are role models for that. But most of us aren't really like that.

In a world where we're told to work hard without stopping for a good three decades, sloth is what we need to remind us to slow down, smell the flowers, and just enjoy the good green earth we live on. Otherwise we forget, lose touch, let go of our sense of ourselves and each other.

We in developed countries live in places where cube farms are common, rushing from place to place is the norm, catching that next commuter bus/train is vital or else, and if we're a wee bit late we get yelled at.

At some point, it's gotta stop. Because that shit is brutal on the psyche.

So stop.

Have a nap.

1 comment:

  1. It's not sloth if you've completed what you're supposed to do at the office and want to spend time with family instead of work.

    It's not sloth to walk instead of drive.

    And it's definitely not sloth to stop and smell the roses once in a while.

    Life isn't all about work, work, money, money and more money - like what most people seem to think back at home.

    I had a friend who quit her new job just less than 2 months after starting because she couldn't stand the pressure from her colleagues to work OT even though there was no need for her to. She comes in at 8am, takes a one-hour lunch and goes back at 530pm as stated in her contract, finishes her work and such yet her so-called hardworking colleagues who work OT come in at 10am, take two hours lunch, nap in the office sometimes and go back at 11pm. Some come in on the weekends on the pretext of working but are actually surfing the Net and such.

    For a good number of people out there, family, friends and life is more important than your monthly salary.

    Sloth, for me, is when you just refuse to do absolutely nothing in your life, eg can't be bothered to cook (so you order takeaway) because you're too lazy to even walk to the fridge!

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