Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Right to Rest... Laziness vs. Idleness

Laziness or idleness?

When in moderation,
rest is beneficial idleness.
It may allow for moments of contemplation or relaxation,
a positive state of non-action.
 The Zen Buddhist Yoshida Kenko wrote Essays in Idleness (1330-1332).
In Essay 75, he wrote of his love for idleness:
"I wonder what feelings inspire a man to complain of "having nothing to do." 
I am happiest when I have nothing to distract me and I am completely alone."

But when rest is taken to an extreme,
it becomes laziness,
a sluggish form of non-production,
a procrastination of doing,
a negative state of non-action.
And Kenko also wrote against foolish laziness in Essay 108:
"A man who fails even for a short time
to keep in mind the preciousness of time
is no different from a corpse."

Thus, there are two sides to the state of rest.

Yoshida Kenkō, Japanese author and  Buddhist monk,
picture drawn by Kikuchi Yosai.

53 comments:

Dan said...

Laziness is, more often than not, viewed in a negative light. In addition to idleness, it implies an air of apathy. Christianity has gone as far as to include laziness as one of its eight deadly sins, namely sloth. Personally, I believe that in small amounts, laziness can be fairly harmless, but it can be hugely detrimental if it becomes a routine habit.

Dan M.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dan. We all have moments when we choose to be lazy and there is nothing wrong with that unless it becomes a habit. Once it becomes a habit it can be extremely damaging. We can potentially miss out on many opportunities if we allow laziness to take over. Remember, the early bird gets the worm.

N.Av

Anonymous said...

I think that if you work hard enough to get stuff done then you can allow yourself to a small amount of laziness and by that I mean like a day of doing absolutely nothing which with age it becomes more and more impossible. But if you don't do nothing because of laziness and you dont get anything done then that's taking the act of laziness to a negative extent.

Carlos G.

Arturo A. said...

Laziness is a clear state of mind, which we tend to fall into due to lack of respectability or duty. The average American tends to have a lazy day a week ( Sundays) which often works as the day to rest and recuperate to start of the week.

Anonymous said...

I think that laziness can also be mistaken for extreme tiredness. As a night shift worker, I get home and chose to be what some may call lazy. I think that in those cases it’s not necessarily being lazy but merely resting. Also I think that in a time of "laziness" a person can take advantage and meditate.
-Ma Mo

LML said...

Laziness is harmless as long as the person finishes whatever they needed to do. Taking small breaks is necessary to keep recharge some energy and keep going with the every day stress.

Anonymous said...

Everything in life should be in moderation. I don't find anything wrong with laziness as long as it doesn't become a routine, and everything that needs to be done is finished. Everyone needs to take a rest from hard work, otherwise you'd become extremely stressed out.

-Alli Brecht

Anonymous said...

When leading such busy lives it's good to sit back and reflect on our days. Therefore, I agree with the right to laziness.

Stefan Heria

Anonymous said...

Laziness I don't support because if everybody was lazy who will we count on to bring food to the grocery stores and just take care of the everyday life necessities. I agree with the philosophy, “a body in motion stays in motion.” The opposite can be said that lack of exercise lead to hardening of the muscles because non-movement and poor circulation in the arteries of the legs. LBJR

Anonymous said...

I think the laziness with moderation is relaxing. But of course we have just pure laziness that can be harmful. A lazy person with moderation can be a normal college student who finishes her research paper the day before it is due. A pure lazy person won’t even attempt to right the paper. The big difference here is the word finish. Everyone wants to be laziness because the human body needs to relax or it will burn out. To control laziness is very difficult because no one know where to draw the line the moderate laziness and pure laziness.

Angel M.

Anonymous said...

I am for the right to laziness. Some are not being lazy but just simply resting after a work day. If you do not abuse laziness then all should go well. Procrastination is a big part of being lazy. G.A.

Anonymous said...

I really dont agree with Laziness. Yes I spelled Laziness with a capital "L." It almost feels as if it were a weight, or a bourdon that were to come over you, and nothing gets accomplished. I hate it and shun it to the pits; It took too much time from me.
F.H

Anonymous said...

I have experienced both ends of the spectrum when it comes to laziness. I have complained of nothing to do and settled for watching television or playing video games. I have procrastinated with assignments and found foolish ways to occupy my time. That was some time ago. Now, laziness is no longer my distraction. It is something I welcome and embrace when I get the chance. It is the time for mind to slow down and relax. It is the time I take to simply observe what is around me. I don't feel awkward or bad about being 'lazy' anymore. I enjoy it. I enjoy my retreat from the hustle and bustle of today.

Sheeda M.

Anonymous said...

The right to laziness, how I love this right. You know some people work so hard that they have the right to be lazy sometimes. I don't agree with people being lazy all the time, especially the ones that don't do anything such as work or school.
A. Lazo

Anonymous said...

I don’t agree with everyone being lazy all the time and just sitting and doing nothing all day. But, i do strongly agree that everyone is entitled to a lazy day every once in awhile and have the right to relax.
-Krystal Garcia

COL said...

Laziness is simple a state of mind. Everyone is lazy at some point even if it is purely innocent. We choose convenience over healthier modes of life such as driving as opposed to walking. Could this honestly not be considered lazy? We choose to choose to download movies instead of going to the theatre. The American society has capitalized on the "right" to laziness.
~COL

Anonymous said...

Laziness is inevitable. There will be at least one time where you may feel lazy to get things done. It's not bad unless you make a habit out of it, which could actually hurt you from achieving goals.

-M.Quintanilla

Anonymous said...

Laziness is a part of life. I am laid back person myself, and being lazy in moderation is not a bad thing. When life hands you lemons, sit back and make some lemonade! We need to have mental ease from life's daily chaos. Be lazy once in a while, once you've taken care of your responsibilities.

Alexis Herrero

Anonymous said...

“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” John Lennon

Javier H.

Anonymous said...

We are becoming increasingly hectic in life, therefore sometimes we just need a break from it all. Being lazy may help us relax and not stress about unnecessary things.

LC

Anonymous said...

I agree with the right to laziness. There are two forms of laziness. Laziness is a form of rest in which you have absolutely nothing to do. A period in which you can enjoy your right to solitude, right to the magical, etc. Foolish laziness is when you choose not to perform your obligations and is influenced by your right to procrastinate.
-D.E.C.

Anonymous said...

I do not agree to the right to laziness. I do not believe this is healthy in anyway. For example, workplace, home or school. Laziness is like a drug when you become lazy one tends to get comfortable. I like what this bible verse says about lazy people: “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper” Proverbs 13:4 (LCL)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the right to laziness. Everyone likes to be lazy whether you are sitting on your bed doing nothing or listening to music or watching TV and just eating chips, it is actually fun to be lazy as long as you don’t do it every day then you would become a bum and that’s not right.
Chelsea M.

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with the right to laziness. I do, however, agree with the right to relax. To me, laziness means to rest when there is work that needs to be done and relaxation means to take it easy when one is done with all necessary work.
-A.B.

Anonymous said...

The right to laziness is not necessarily a negative action. Laziness is something we all want when we are overwhelmed or have worked to the point of exhaustion. Laziness is parallel to rest or relaxation. However, if we are lazy with no balance in our daily regime then it does not become a deserved right. Then again, who has the right to not be lazy? In the U.S we live to work. In other countries, they live to live.

-G.R.

Anonymous said...

I believe we all have a right to laziness. Laziness isn't just "doing nothing", it's our bodies recharging and our minds' and souls' cleansing. We all need our time to be lazy. Etel

Anonymous said...

I think a word that would fit better for this right would have been relaxation. Relaxation seems to be accepted in society rather than laziness because when someone is described as "lazy" it is usually used as a long term and negative trait. However when something or someone is described as "relaxed" it is usually used in a positive way and it is not always a long term thing. Productive and hard working people go to a spa to relax and have nothing on their mind at that moment. As opposed to when someone is lazy they are not productive at any point and are usually a burden on the community.

Anonymous said...

the above post was from SJB

Anonymous said...

The right to Laziness cannot be taken too far, but I think that everyone is entitled to rest after a hard day of work. It is also important to remember that exceptional results in our everyday responsibilities could not be possible if our minds would be deprived of sleep and rest. Therefore, the right to laziness or rest is something that we all need. D.C.R

Anonymous said...

Many of the comments posted here are comparing laziness to rest. They are totally different. Everyone deserves rest from work, exercise, worry, etc. Laziness is a choice one has in doing nothing, in putting your responsibilities aside, your goals go unreached, exudes procrastination, and deprives you of self-satisfaction. I simply disagree with this right.
-Ana DM

Anonymous said...

Like most people have said, laziness is good once in a while but too much of it can become a habit. Laziness as a habit leads no where and it is not productive. However, Laziness is not resting. I believe that it is a choice, for example procrastinating for work. Robert S.

D.Zabala said...

Everyone should have the right to have a lazy day. A day to disconnect from the worries and responsibilities of our lives. I don't take my lazy days for physical reasons but more for mental relaxation.

Anonymous said...

laziness in other words procrastination I strongly believe that laziness is why we contain so many problems in the world nowadays. The human society as a whole has become more and more lazy throughout the years. This should not be a right because for a couple days of laziness we endure years and years of horrible torture laziness is an affiliation of procrastination. I demand the laziness to stop! - J.J.V.

Anonymous said...

The Right to Laziness seems as it could be connected to the Right to Procrastination. When one is feeling lazy the effect sometimes may be procrastination. Perfect example, one is feeling lazy and doesn’t want to complete their homework due at the end of the day. Day turns to night and they realize their laziness has caused them to procrastinate. Being lazy doesn’t always bring great things. C.M.A.

Anonymous said...

The Right to Laziness or Idleness is a right that not too many people can enjoy. We live in a time consuming society where having time for laziness is a privilege. A.L.

N.Cruz said...

Being lazy is not being energetic or vigorous. Laziness is the act of being sluggish or idle. It is only obvious that being lazy means being unproductive and in order to be successful in life you must be productive. This doesn’t mean that you can’t rest or take some time off, which in this case you would be idle, as you would be doing nothing. I am a strong believer that every once in a while you do need to get away and just relax, but that shouldn’t be done constantly.

Anonymous said...

I do not think that laziness is every good. We are here to be productive, and when a person is lazy their laziness will normally directly or inadvertently affects other people as well.
S. Jones

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with the right to laziness. To be lazy is to be doing nothing when there are in fact things to be done. Idleness and laziness have two completely different meanings. If anything we should have the right to relax, or the right to do nothing.
L.A.R.

Anonymous said...

Laziness is bad because you have things you should be doing, and the means to do them, and your just choosing not to.

J.M.

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with saying that idleness and laziness are in fact the same thing. Even though the definitions at their core are very similar, they are not to be intertwined. I really like that you identified idleness to being positive and laziness to being negative.

Shani A.

Anonymous said...

The right to be lazy rests upon the individual. One can be lazy and never do anything at all, or one can be productive and do anything within and even out of reach. If someone works all day and comes home and would rather watch television as opposed to cleaning the house, I believe they are still doing something, an action is still occurring.

-Monica C.

MSM15 said...

Being relaxed in a certain moment of a day is very important for a person. The right to rest must be used by everybody because the mind and the body need time to contemplate and charge energy. I am against this right when it becomes to laziness because is not correct to think that you do not have anything to do while there are many things that require your attention.
~MSM15

Anonymous said...

I agree that there is a big difference between laziness and idleness. Idleness means that you are not doing anything. On the other hand, laziness means that you do not want to do anything. I also coincide that laziness is negative because you have may have tasks to complete but you are too lazy to complete them while idleness in fact means that you do not have any tasks to complete so you are not doing anything.

P.Picone

Anonymous said...

Laziness and idleness tend to be misunderstood very often. Laziness is when you choose to not do something. Idleness, to me, is when you have nothing to do. It is not wrong to be lazy and/or idle, but if it is taken too far then there may be a negative effect.
-ACA

Anonymous said...

I dont agree with laziness, because to be lazy is to have a choice whether to take care of all responsibilities versus idleness which you have completed all responsibilities and have the right to relax.
CR

Anonymous said...

I do not like the word "laziness"; I like the word idleness. Being lazy is something negative and for any person is not healthy mentally, emotionally or physically. When you are idle, you are resting "taking a break".

MV

Anonymous said...

Laziness, to a certain extent, has a negative connotation attached to it, because it can due more harm than good to us, by allowing us to procrastinate our commitments and obligations - thus, becoming unproductive and setting ourselves for failure.



However, there is no harm in idleness, because idleness - is simply setting aside time for yourself- to regroup one's energies. We all need that individual alone time to take care of our own inner pillar, because if we don't take care of ourselves first- we won't be able to take care of others either-"we", are all we have.

It is a declaration to regain our clarity and strengths - from the dusts of everyday life, so that we can lead our lives in a successful path. ~ F.G.

A.N.A. said...

Everyone needs a little time off. Laziness to my understand is choosing to do nothing when something has to be done. Idleness to my understanding is just standing still and doing nothing when nothing has to be done. Idleness is more like a day off. Like everything in life, too much of anything is bad for you. At the same time, what did idleness mean to the Japanese in those times? Did Idleness in those times mean what laziness in todays day and age means? Nobody really knows, and because of that the two terms should be kept separate.

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with the right to laziness. Nevertheless, I agree with the words "rest" and "relaxation" as a escape for the mind of the every day routine. I also agree with the words of the Zen Buddhist Yoshida Kenko, when he says "I am happiest when I have nothing to distract me and I am completely alone." We need that time-out in order to reinforce the connection with ourselves.
MVHT

Anonymous said...

I believe in the right to laziness. Those who work hard are the same people that are at times lazy. For example, someone that goes to school and works full time. At times that person may be too overwhelmed to attend class. Although, it is laziness, it is needed so we do not overload ourselves. J.F.

Anonymous said...

There is a thin line of course between idleness and laziness and that is when we do not moderate the time when resting. Then it can become a problem for some people whether it is at work, home, or school and it can bring bad consequences for being too lazy. O.V.

Anonymous said...

Laziness is doing nothing when there is something to do. Idleness is I would consider to be a form of rest. Everyone deserves time to rest or to be idle but laziness is something people should try to avoid. before I decide to watch t.v I make sure that everything I do is taken care of to avoid being lazy

CMS

Anonymous said...

Having the right to laziness gives us the opportunity to relieve the stress from our everyday lives. As long as the laziness is being used in the correct manner there is not problem with it then. A time of relief from work and school, during a time that is not dedicated to either one. -ABL