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It would seem that we put ourselves at the top in the hierarchy of living creatures as humans, and the animals have their place below, but in terms of the right to "laziness," the order seems to look exactly opposite. Quite commonly, our furry pets' all-day "laziness" triggers waves of tenderness and love in us while seeing our fellow humans in this role - is getting on our nerves.
According to leading English dictionaries, laziness is "a trait of someone who is unwilling to act and enjoys being inactive." Since this entry contains quite essential terms, which may be understood in many different ways, to bring more precision to this definition I looked up in the same sources for the terms “to act” and “being inactive” which are as follows:
"to act" - "to undertake an activity for achieving a certain purpose" and
"being inactive" - which the dictionary defines as "the state in which someone takes no action."
So, returning to the definition of laziness and substituting the full descriptions for terms "to act" and "being inactive," I acquired the following explanation:
LAZINESS - a trait of someone who is unwilling to undertake an activity for achieving a specific purpose and enjoys being in a state of taking no action.
Looking at the above definition, you can't resist the impression there are some inconsistencies in it, which - I think - result from social norms and beliefs on how action and inactivity are defined. If we follow that social belief trail, it turns out that the action is almost exclusively associated with the so-called activity and movement that have direct material effects visible to the naked eye. Lack of external activity and movement is defined as doing nothing and in the case of humans often labeled as "laziness."
However, a question arises - what about the ACTION of our brain during sleep, for example? What about the ACTION of the infinite number of life processes in our body, heartbeat, respiration, metabolism, regeneration of injuries and also what about the process of thinking, creation, creative imagination?
Why does our culture take significance away from such important issues, which usually and to the fullest take place in us in the passive phase of our functioning and degrades them to the pejorative term "laziness"?
We unconsciously favor one of our natural states over the other, while there is no such distinction in nature as there would be no equilibrium without the interchangeable appearance of the activity and inactivity states in adequate proportions - in terms of durability, quantity and quality. No one would think to condemn a plant for its dormant time in fall and winter after spring and summer activity. On top of that, we know that "rushing" it to be active when it needs to regenerate its strength for the next cycle of growth may delay or inhibit its development or even kill the plant.
We humans, do not differ so much from other representatives of nature in this respect. Still, ignorance and the resulting social and cultural pressure to be active against the need for a passive phase, unflatteringly known as "laziness," create in us stress that disturbs and - paradoxically, extends its duration, postponing the state of activity even more.
Such a mental mechanism resulting from many factors, such as among the others, beliefs taken from most religions, calling our natural inactivity periods in a derogatory way as "laziness" and treating as sin and weakness of character, is deeply rooted in our minds. These imprints make us feel uncomfortable when we indulge in "laziness" or we see others, especially those who are dependent on us "lazying" or "laziness" - especially someone else's as well as ours - takes too long.
The passive phase, or in other words, the state of BEING rather than ACTING and its duration are related to factors that we do not fully know. We can observe that all nature, including humans, is subject to cycles - phases of rest, incubation, or whatever we want to call them, and phases of external activity.
Living in our civilization of which we don't have to be slaves often pushes ourselves and others into artificial activity while still in a resting phase. We demand results, productivity, and great deeds without realizing that we draw on reserves when we do it by force and at the expense of the vital energy we need to regenerate. We use to say "it's been taking too long" when convinced - out of nowhere - that the passive phase "should" be over by now and creating psychological pressure on ourselves and/or others while it continues.
The more pressure we apply, the more we move away from what we need - productive activity, because we are trying to break with our mind into the realm of the body, which has its own pace and our "wanting" will not change anything here, at most, it can deteriorate it even more with more stress and tension. It is a time similar to pregnancy, which needs to last until it is complete and until we are born again to the next phase when we take a new action and apply the content processed and assimilated in the passive phase to it. It may take weeks for some and years for others. If we get annoyed that this condition lasts "too long," the question arises - who judges that in us and according to what criteria?
Taking time to reflect on where some mechanisms come from and what our life phases are, regardless of whether we want it or not, will allow us to comprehend ourselves and others better, thus bringing more understanding and kindness into our lives. We can usually say very little about what phase of life we are in ourselves, to say nothing about our ability to judge others'. These phenomena are not subject to linear human laws, binary logic, and treating them as such, trying to judge the individual's life in all its complexity by using them does more harm than good.
The history of humankind shows so far that many important ideas that brought significant changes to people's lives and - brought joy and time for tasting and enjoying life grew on a fertile ground of quiet processing, regeneration and contemplation required to withdraw from the external world, for as long as necessary.
After all, what is the difference between human "laziness" and our beloved domestic pets "laziness"? There is none at its gist, so maybe we would look at "lazing around" with the same tender affection, knowing that the more understanding we show to it now, the greater the chance of our results and productivity later when the time of our active phase returns.
Healing by Force of Nature