Active Thinking Topic 29 -  Lazy People Are Essential

Tuesday 12 April 2022, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Any replies to the organizer -

Venue: ZOOM online

Focus Questions


1. Laziness is the foundation of economic survival Y/N

2. Australia is the lucky country because Australians are so lazy. Y/N

3. Physical laziness correlates with mental laziness. (Evidence?). Y/N

4. Laziness is inborn, not created by upbringing. Y/N

5. "The Person Who is Clever and Lazy Qualifies for the Highest Leadership Posts". Y/N [see full quotation in the readings below]

6. "Whoever is stupid and industrious must be got rid of, for he is too dangerous.” [see full quotation in the readings below]

7. A major experience, like marriage or surviving a war or doing a certain kind of job can reform a lazy person to become energetic. Y/N

8. The Christian Bible lists sloth (laziness) as one of the seven deadly sins. Is the Bible right about laziness being an evil thing? Y/N

9. The rich are mostly rich because of hard work, and the poor are mostly poor because of laziness. Y/N

10. When facing life choices, the most personally successful choice is usually the one needing least effort. (Examples?) Y/N

Extra Reading

Wikipedia (2022) "Laziness" @
[Quote: "Hal Cranmer writes, "For all these arguments against laziness, it is amazing we work so hard to achieve it. Even those hard-working Puritans were willing to break their backs every day in exchange for an eternity of lying around on a cloud and playing the harp. Every industry is trying to do its part to give its customers more leisure time."]

General Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord (chief of the German army, 1933) "The Person Who is Clever and Lazy Qualifies for the Highest Leadership Posts".  [Quote: “I divide my officers into four classes as follows: The clever, the industrious, the lazy, and the stupid. Each officer always possesses two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff. Use can under certain circumstances be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest leadership posts. He has the requisite nerves and the mental clarity for difficult decisions. But whoever is stupid and industrious must be got rid of, for he is too dangerous.” ]

Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Julia Mio Inuma (March 20, 2022) "This Japanese man shows up and ‘does nothing’. He’s made a living out of it". The Age @ 

Adam Mann (n.d.) "7 Reasons Why Lazy People Are More Likely To Be Successful". @ [Thor, comment: I'm not to sure of this guy's reasoning - he's a lazy thinker - but his list of famously lazy people in interesting]

Fleur 07 April 2021 "Laziness Is Not a Trait". Symptoms of Living blog @  [Thor, comment: I think that Fleur needs to think about this a little more ...]

Nadia Elysse (12 December 2017) "The World's 'Laziest' Country Will Probably Surprise You". TheCultureTrip blog @  [Quote: A study of over 700,000 people in 111 countries revealed the average daily steps people take, leading researchers to declare Indonesia laziest of them all. ... China was declared most active, with participants in that country (predominantly in Hong Kong) averaging 6,880 steps a day. The least active country, and thus the laziest, was Indonesia, averaging 3,513 steps a day. The global average steps per day was 4,961, with America falling just below average at 4,774 steps per day. ...It’s hard to say why Indonesia, along with Saudi Arabia and Malaysia in the second and thirds spots, rank so poorly on the activity scale."]

Claudia Hammond (4th June 2020) "Are human beings naturally lazy?" BBC @  [Quote: " In a famous study conducted a few years ago at the University of Virginia, participants were led one at a time into a completely bare room with all distractions removed. They had no phone, no books, no screens – and they weren’t allowed to take a nap. Electrodes were fitted to their ankles and they were left alone for 15 minutes. It was an opportunity to kick back and relax for a short while.
So, how did it go? Well, before being left alone, participants were shown how to press a computer key which was wired up to a machine that delivered an electric shock. You might suppose that having tried it once no one would want to do it again. Wrong. In fact, 71% of the men and 25% of the women gave themselves at least one electric shock during their time in solitary – and one man shocked himself a shocking 190 times. It turns out that having nothing to do was so excruciating, that many of the participants preferred to, in effect, torture themselves rather than put up with no distractions whatsoever."]

Wikipedia (2022) "The Ant and The Grasshopper" @ 

Aesop "The Ant and the Grasshopper" Library of Congress @ 

Daniel Defoe "Robinson Crusoe" Gothenberg press @ [Thor, comment - Robinson Crusoe is the archytype of a very long literary tradition, starting with the Christian Bible, which extolls the virtue of labour over sloth (laziness). See a discussion of this at  . In the Bible, sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. In parallel, there is a literary tradition which mocks the sloth=sin narrative. One of the best known of these counter-fables is Somerset Maugham's version of 'The Ant and The Grasshopper']

Mandarin Corner (2022) "Why Are Chinese Lying Flat? - Tang Ping 躺平 Phenomenon". Mandarin Corner @  [Quote: "For years, Chinese have been known for being industrious and hardworking. But recently, an increasing number of young Chinese have changed their views on these virtues - why? Eileen and Sharon discuss the reasons for this shift in attitude among many Chinese workers."] [Thor, comment: This video interveiw is in Chinese with English subtitles. Mandarin Corner is a site for learning Mandarin. Skip the first minute or so of the video to avoid the promo'. These MC videos are quite insightful].

Paul Lafargue (1880) "The Right To Be Lazy". The Anarchist Library @ 

Michael Greaney. "Laziness: A Literary-Historical Perspective". extract from chapter 22 of "The Restless Compendium: Interdisciplinary Investigations of Rest and Its Opposites". by Callard F, Staines K, Wilkes J, editors. Published by Basingstoke (UK): Palgrave Macmillan; 2016. The extract is online @  [Thor, comment: this is interesting and well written]

Rebecca Burn-Callander (1 August 2018) "Why being lazy and procrastinating could make you wildly successful". The Telegraph (UK) @ 

Rym Ghazal (n.d.) "Are we losing the ability to remember, or are we lazy? - We should try to remember some things, if only for the sake of having fitter brains". The National News @  [Quote: "Albert Einstein: “Never memorise something that you can look up.” It is said to be related to a time when a colleague asked him for his phone number, and he reached for his telephone directory to look it up".]

Neel Burton (October 25, 2014) "The Psychology of Laziness". Psychology Today @ 

Amelia Lester (April 8, 2022) "WeWon’t: Why Gen Z is shunning a cult-like allegiance to work". The Age @  [Quote: "As his office co-working company crests the heights of a multibillion-dollar valuation in 2018, Adam Neumann, played by Jared Leto, takes centre stage at a “summer camp” for employees, rousing the crowd with a mantra that also happens to be the name of his business. “When I say ‘we’, you say ‘WORK!’,” he shouts, as hundreds of adoring fans, who also happen to be on his payroll, comply: “We! Work! We! Work! We …”] [Thor, comment: began fairly idealistically in New York after the 9/11 catastrophe. Then it was swallowed by the unicorn, WeWork. Most of the original staff left. Nowadays the company's culture is bleakly corporate, with all finances based in Ireland for low taxation]

Anat Shenker-Osorio (April 4, 2011) "Do you think the poor are lazy? - Even if you said 'No,' the way we talk about wealth assigns moral superiority to the rich. Terms like 'the wealth gap' obscure basic truths about inequality, casting it as a natural economic function. Inequality is really a barrier made to keep others out. We can dismantle it, starting with our words". Christian Science Monitor @ 

EagleEdge (n.d.) "Laziness is a Nemesis of Good Risk Management". Eagle Edge company website @  [Quote: "A little effort is all it takes to cure ourselves of laziness and complacency which does nothing but put us on a path towards future destruction. In a world of randomness there is no place for laziness, shortcuts, or complacency. Complacency in itself is the nemesis of effort and the poster-child for a mediocre existence."]

GreatManagers (n.d.) "Workplace Culture in Australia – 15 Things That Will Surprise You". Great Managers company website @ 

Tom Davies (September 7, 2020) "Get up and get out! Why Australians are getting fat and lazy". University of Melbourne @  [Quote: "More than half of Australia’s adults aren’t moving enough. In fact, the older you are, the more likely that is. Want to hear another absurd fact? 67% of Australian’s are overweight or obese and that number is only rising.
Is there a correlation? Almost certainly!!"]

Wikipedia (2022) "Principle of least effort" @

Nicolette Goff (Aug 4, 2018) "Living the Law of Least Effort". @ [Quote: "We often spend our energy in seeking things like power over others, money or the toys money can buy. What we’re doing is chasing illusions — illusions of happiness, of power. These are the desires of the ego, not of the spirit. ... If we observe nature at work, we see that the least effort is expended. Grass doesn’t try to grow; it just grows. Fish don’t try to swim; they just swim. This is their intrinsic nature. It is the nature of the sun to shine. And it is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form — easily and effortlessly.” ...]

Wikipedia (2022) "Occam's Razor" @
[Quote: "Occam's razor, Ockham's razor, Ocham's razor (Latin: novacula Occami), also known as the principle of parsimony or the law of parsimony (Latin: lex parsimoniae), is the problem-solving principle that "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity".[1][2] It is generally understood in the sense that with competing theories or explanations, the simpler one, for example a model with fewer parameters, is to be preferred."

Lazy People Are Essential  (c) Thor May 2022

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