Laziness is good

What motivates people? After the survival requirements are met, what makes us do anything?

The most basic answer I can think of is, we do whatever makes us feel good. ‘Feeling good’ presumably, is a sensation we feel when particular chemicals hit a particular spot in the brain (or stop hitting a spot, such as with pain). If some other activity or substance produces a bigger hit in the brain then the reasoning is that we will do that instead. If the goal of life is all about feeling good, then it must hold that if taking heroin makes you feel good, it’s okay to do that. Similarly, if being lazy, produces a nice warm feeling in the brain, why shouldn’t people make that their goal?

Granted, this only works from a selfish view point. In the hunter-gatherer past, being lazy meant you died or suffered hardship. Equally today, being lazy is considered immoral by the people who have to provide the apparatus that allows you to be lazy. Although, perversely, if you were a self made millionaire, laziness would be seen as your prerogative.

If your goal is to be lazy, does that mean you have to work harder to achieve a higher level of laziness?

Of course, people are different, so what produces a ‘hit’ in the brain of one person will do nothing for someone else. The current belief is that achieving goals will produce this ‘high’ in most people. There are countless self help books that exhort this ethos. I am not too sure where this work ethic comes from. It seems at odds with technology. Surely, all these labour saving devices that have been invented are designed to free us from ‘work’. As we become more prosperous, isn’t the goal, no more work for anyone? I am beginning to suspect a lot of the drive for goal setting is coming from business and the capitalist system. After all, its very existence is based on the concept. But is it right?

Looking at things from an evolutionary perspective, you could argue that ‘getting out of your comfort zone’, as it were, improves the species by developing useful modifications – wings or fur etc. In our case, by developing curiosity and creativity, we ultimately achieved consciousness. By doing so, we improve the chances of our species surviving (at least that was the idea).

So far so good. But what about crocodiles? They haven’t evolved for hundreds of millions of years. Have they become a lazy species? Or have they reached perfection – they can live for a year without any food; they don’t suffer any diseases or infections? So once you have achieved your goal in evolutionary terms – ultimate adaptability, what then? Do you simply enjoy your dominance of the life process and sun yourself on the river bank being, well, lazy?

Of course, the definition of existence, is change. So evolution will test the crocodile at some point. if climate change becomes a runaway process and the earth heats up to a uniform 200 degrees centigrade even the crocodile and the cockroach must succumb to that eventually.

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