Friday, April 2, 2010

Is Laziness a Virtue?

Hello all,

It's a question I occasionally think of, but haven't put much thought in, until now.  Have we as a society gotten too lazy for our own good.   We've become a society of having everything at our fingertips now, without actually having to lift a finger to get it.  Between remote controls and internet shopping, no one has to take any time to do anything anymore, and I think it has created a lot of problems with our society.

Let's start with the obvious, obesity.  I probably won't cover any new ground with my statements on this particular point, but I think these statements should probably be made again.  I'll start with the obvious, video games and remote controls.  Now, I'm well aware that I'm a big user of both, and am overweight.  Is there a correlation?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I'm overweight for 2 reasons.  The first, is I eat A LOT of stuff that isn't good for me.  The second, is that I don't get any exercise.  I don't get any exercise because I've always been an indoors kind of guy.  This means that I've succumbed to the temptations of video games and cable TV, which pretty much makes me a couch potato.  That pretty much SCREAMS laziness because I don't have to get up for anything.  Everything is run by remote control.  I don't have to go outside to play sports because I have some of them as video games.  Which has left me with a lack of physical ambition.  However, this is where I can comment in the hopes that others don't make the same mistakes that I do.  For example, One of my closest friends is providing a wonderful balance with his 4 year old son.  This is a boy that has beaten more video games in 4 years of life than I have in 15 years.  But, even though he plays a lot of video games, he is also encouraged to play outside.  His favorite outdoor activity is Freeze Tag.  My friend, also, plays football, baseball and golf with him too.  This boy had his own set of golf clubs, real clubs not toys, when he was 2 years old.  Due to this exposure, he's as comfortable being physically active outside as he his playing his games and watching his cartoons inside.  I think if more people took the time to take other people outside more, we would at least start to have a healthier society.

But, the problems go deeper than just video games and TV.  Let's move on to drive thru's.  This has taken all the effort for someone to actually stop their car, turn it off, get out, and go into a place of business and interact with others.  When did we decide we had to have something so bad, but didn't need to get out of the car for it.  And by extension, the same can be said for internet shopping.  This form of "laziness" has ended up secluding us from each other, and this seclusion has taken all the humanity out of a lot of things that we say and do.  It's almost like other REAL people don't exist because they're just a voice through a drive thru speaker, or a voice on a radio, or a face on the TV, or a face on the internet.  No real connection between people.  To me, that's sad.  It's almost like being a hermit without ever needing to leave the village.

With the advent of the internet, this problem has seemed to increase.  I have already mentioned online shopping.  But what about the other issues.  Let's start with texting.  Since people have started being able to text, they don't talk to the same people as much.  I wonder if they can even remember that person's voice, or face.  The opposite can, also, be true.  People that actually did just communicate in person, or over the phone, are texting each other a few minutes later.  I have an example of the second extreme.  A few years ago, I was visiting my father and his family.  As I was visiting, I noticed my teenage sister sitting with a friend next to the computer, chatting with a friend, that lived just down the road, and talking to another friend on her cell phone...ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  WTF.  What happened to a GROUP of friends just getting together to hang out.  This example leads to the next problem with texting...carelessness.  The biggest statistic for this is the fact that more auto crashes are caused by people texting than by drunk drivers.  Alcohol has become safer on the road than technology.  Again, WTF.  However, shopping and chatting aren't the only activities to be done electronically.  Dating and sex have been taken to this extreme as well.  It seems the days of going out and socializing with different people in order to meet that special someone are gone.  Now, you seem to be able, for a fee, to meet someone special (as long as they fit within pre-programmed parameters).  And cybersex is COMPLETELY impersonal.  You might as well be looking at a porno magazine.

Now I'm all for people who work hard during the week taking time out to be lazy and relax.  But to go to the previous extremes is ludicrous.  Since I've moved back to New England, I have found I take time to go outside and enjoy what it has to offer.  I don't use a drive thru all the time, so I can take the time to go inside the establishment and interact with different kinds of people (it, also, helps in my chosen career of customer service and sales).  In addition, I don't own a cell phone, so I don't have to be interrupted while I'm driving or interacting with others.  As I've stated previously, I'm a TV and video game junkie, so I'm not anti-tech.  However, technology shouldn't replace our humanity and connection to nature either.  So take a break from your text, or show, or email, or video game and go outside and explore.  Who knows, you might encounter something that fascinates you more.

To be clear, I'm not trying to guilt or force people to change how they live or do certain things.  I would just like you to take a little time and think about this.  Please let me know what you think.

Until next time...

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