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[personal profile] cincinnatus_c
One thing I'm reminded of about laziness the last few days--because for some reason I have been fighting the terrible sleepiness the last few days--is that laziness, or what shows up as laziness, is often associated with sleepiness. The terrible sleepiness is something I used to fight with a lot. Two things stand out, one more specific and one more general. The first thing is trying to force myself to do highschool math homework and being more or less literally unable to do it because it made me so sleepy. The obvious inference to draw here is that I found math dreadfully boring. I don't think I would've put it that way at the time and I'm still resistant to thinking of it that way, but I'm not sure why I'm resistant and anyway it points to a connection between boredom and laziness: finding something boring sometimes doesn't just involve a lack of incentive to do it but is a positive disincentive to do it. (Enter Socrates: if something bores you to sleep, then you can't really think you're lazy for not doing it (even if other people do), because you must think it's not worth doing! Exit Socrates.) The second thing is the many, many years in which it usually took me hours to get out of bed. I have no real idea when that started, though it was definitely after highschool, because in highschool I got up before 7 every weekday morning so I could get to school at least half an hour early so that the start of school wouldn't be crashing down on me as soon as I got there. Which, combined with my habit of watching Hill Street Blues re-runs until 12:30 the night before, might have had something to do with the first thing ... and which reminds me of something funny having to do with laziness: my homeroom teacher in grade 13 once told me something like that I was the hardest working student she'd ever seen, because I was always working in homeroom. Of course, I was frantically trying to do some of the homework I'd been too lazy to do the night before, so naturally I thought her saying that was ridiculous ... except that it occurs to me now that a simply lazy person wouldn't be trying to catch up but would just let it go and take the consequences. (And that reminds me of the summer office job I once had--maybe I've mentioned this before--which was horrendous fucking torture because I spent pretty much the whole day every day fighting to stay awake ... and in that case, the sleepiness absolutely was a result of boredom. Anyway, everyone there kept saying what a hard worker I was, while I felt like I was working about ten minutes an hour in between dozing off. Hey, The Real World, ladies and gentlemen! It went on like that for I don't know how long, maybe a month, until they sent me to the mail room, where I was alone and could entertain myself in the other fifty minutes per hour by making ukeleles out of cardboard boxes and rubber bands. I would tune them and play songs. Now I ask you, is that something a lazy person would do? (Or is that something an industrious person would do--it occurred to me sometime lately that the name of the virtue that is the opposite of the vice of laziness is industriousness. I don't know that that really fits in all contexts, but it seems like a word Aristotle might use.) Well, clearly it both very much is and very much is not what a lazy person would do, because laziness is such a convoluted concept. (Another thing about industriousness in the mail room: one of my mail room duties was to photocopy things. That was the first time I encountered photocopiers with feed trays on the top. At first I didn't know how to use them, so I was photocopying things one by one. Then I realized I could do maybe ten at once ... and then I realized that I could do all of them at once. And that is why not being stupid makes it harder not to be lazy. (There is a whole world war here between economics, flying the flag of productivity, and moralism, flying the flag of industriousness. (This has been a theme of some Gwynne Dyer columns lately: Trumpism is fighting for industriousness, and pretends contrary to all evidence and reason that industriousness equals productivity, but the future is basic incomes for doing nothing and moralism is just going to have to deal with it. (Seems to me it's unfortunate we got so used to the SF being "wrong" about automation leaving people by and large with nothing productive to do. The fact that it hadn't arrived yet did not mean that it wasn't out there and getting closer all the time.)))))) For me, obviously, the loomingness of the negative consequences of not getting it done had, literally, a way of focussing the mind ... which brings me back into the neighbourhood of shame, but I am either too lazy or not lazy enough to get around to writing down what I keep meaning to write down about that.

Well, I will say this for now about shame: before writing this I watched the Brené Brown shame TED talk, and, uh, what she says there about how shame works for men as opposed to how it works for women (i.e.: women's shame is about not being able to do all the competing and contradictory things they're supposed to do; men's shame is about being weak), that ain't necessarily so. It is now 11:27 p.m. and I have for the last hour or whatever been trying to write something I feel some kind of actual ethical imperative (!) to write--you might literally not believe the kinds of things I feel like I feel like (!) I have ethical imperatives to do, and this is definitely something that needs thinking about: what is it like to feel like you have an ethical imperative to do something? ... and obviously you can feel like you have an ethical imperative to do something that, on reflection, either at the time or later, you would not say you have an ethical imperative to do, maybe would find it absurd or perverse to say you have an ethical imperative to do (which can make it very difficult to explain yourself to yourself, let alone to others)--and to do so I have not only set aside several other things that I could rattle off the top of my head that I feel some kind of ethical imperatives to have done in that time, as well as surely others that I have forgotten and will feel bad about when I remember them, but have also in so doing pushed back my waking up time tomorrow to well after sunrise again, which is something I feel bad about more or less every day ... and I also kind of feel like I have been too lazy to do a good job of whatever it is I have been doing here. (This shame about necessarily failing to fulfill all the competing imperatives you feel like you're under is right next door to Heidegger's Angst, which suggests that on Brené Brown's view women potentially have a special insight into the temporality of human existence. (Another thing I feel competing ethical imperatives about: I feel bad that Brené Brown annoys me so much, and so I feel like I ought to delete this whole paragraph. (Partly because I am afraid that she will somehow end up reading it and it will make her feel bad.) Also I feel for various reasons like I should not.) The gender thing aside, though, probably it is the case that shame is a "fundamental attunement" to the temporality of existence in the same way that Angst is ... [ETA: uh, there was supposed to be something like an "as I have sort of argued before" after that there ellipsis, in reference to a paper about "gut feelings" that I probably might as well throw up on the web (which feels like an oddly antiquated thing to say) somewhere.]) When it comes to shame, ain't I a woman. (An, uh, American woman, which, as with Carol Gilligan, is probably pretty much the problem there.) (And, obviously, a man, too--ain't we all.)

Currently at Havelock: 19. High today: 25.5.

Date: 2017-07-29 12:41 am (UTC)
kest: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kest
Having been fighting mysterious exhaustion myself for several months, there is also a difference between tired and sleepy. And if one is tired, one doesn't have the frontal cortex or the dopamine or something to make oneself do things. The interesting thing is that I can do physical things ok, but things that require brainpower, like most things I do for work, are exceedingly difficult. Except I can argue on the internet, so I don't know what's up with that. But mostly I want to lie around with my eyes closed. There is a thing here also about discipline vs motivation. Some things are a matter of putting a foot in front of the other. Almost every night I brush my teeth no matter how tired I am. However, some nights I can cook a fancier meal than others.

The definition of shame I learned had to do with strong social norms. If you're not living up to societal expectations, that's shame. If you're just not living up to your own expectations, or some other specific person's, that's guilt.
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