Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Tao Of Lazy

One of my favourite quotes and theories is a rather lazy theory in science. “The simplest explanation for a phenomenon is most likely the correct explanation."

Or One should always choose the simplest explanation of a phenomenon, the one that requires the fewest leaps of logic.

A really delightfully lazy attitude towards theorizing!

It's a charming principle called Occams Razor. And it has been exercised in popular non-fiction books like Freakonomics, Outliers, and Made To Stick. Social scientists and insightful anthropologists seem to have understood the behaviour behind reduced crime, cannibalism and mortgages by finding the simplest explantion...often by following the money, asking "what are the economics behind behaviour?"

I got a lovely and funny e-mail from a friend in the U.K. the other day about how he wondered You know, I really don't know where you get your energy from. I've been reading your blog, and enjoying your comments on "life, the universe and everything" but left wondering how you find time to work in the soup-kitchen (or whatever it is), watch all those films, hear all that music, blog away, do paintings and videos, upload photos, run the Shakespeare discussion group, read Shakespeare, and still contribute to CR. Perhaps there are several Candys and you job share.

I was laughing because I always feel as if I could "do more if i just applied myself". Actually...almost every year on my school report cards my teachers would write "Candy is intelligent and friendly but she would have higher grades if she would simply apply herself." I swear...every report card said that. And I remember my parents discussing my lazy attitude to school. And I remember saying, "my god, at least I still go and I haven't dropped can't actually expect me to work on top of attendance!" Yeah, I pretty much hated school and felt it was a huge waste of time when I could be doing something more painting or reading etc or hanging out with my friends over a coffee. I drank coffee from a very young age. Like 8 years old.

I consider myself an absolute slacker and I only like doing things that are fun. Like making films. Like reading or painting or hanging out with my friends. I've had this horrible attitude all my life...and as most of you's gotten me absolutely no where admirable in life ha ha ha. When I wrote my friend back I was trying to explain how I just don't do a lot of things that other people do. It's not that I'm ambitious or hard working exactly, it's that I'm lazy about doing things that most people disperse their energy by doing. I don't shop, read a newspaper, watch the news, clean house (unless it's in dire need), and I tend to read, visit friends, watch movies with concentrated bursts of time. I don't jsut read a book a few minutes a day. I read for 4 or 5 hours at a stretch. That way you can knock off a couple books a week. If I shop I almost always phone ahead and find out if a store has what I'm looking for and ask them to hold it for me. I power grocery and out. I spend long very focused time with others...not a quick cup of coffee and chit chat. Almost always very close loyal friendly visits with others. Very satisfying encounters with other people. I believe the lack of superficial friendships gives me lots of satisfaction for the long solitary work of making art and reading. I also meditate. I take time, often in the morning to meditate...if only that it narrows down the reverie period....I believe we need to day dream. And if we don't make time for reverie, or meditation, or prayer...then that need will manifest when we are doing other things and distract our focus. Does that make ense? Cuz...I really believe scattered unfocused thinking is from not allowing our selves time to day dream/meditate/regenerate ourselves every day. So I'm not "scattered energy"... Basically, I'm lazy. When we are unrelaxed and unfocused...we waste energy and therefore work harder. ?

I've recently found out that there are others like me in the world. (thanks to my friend J, who turned me on to this blog). No no,not my fellow generation of "slackers/gen x"...but actual fancy people like the guy who wrote this blog post. It seems there might be something to the idea of laziness and satisfaction and even...ambition! Har!


1.) Here is a fantastic video about laziness!
2.) The author of The Lazy Way To Success
3.) Cheif happiness Officer "The 10 Advantages To Low-Rent Living"
4.) His "lazy life" recollections and lessons
5.) Tips for productive, creative, fun writing...I highly recommend reading this link!
6.) Bertram Russell In Praise of Idelness recording...and here is the text.


mister anchovy said...

I'm way too lazy to check out all those links...

Candy Minx said...


Jason Messinger said...

Loved this article, especially about how you manage your time! I am going to try that "call ahead" shopping trick, and I especially love the part where you focus on your friends when you are with them! I too am 'lazy' in that I have been able to just do what I enjoy (for the most part) consequences be damned! Thanks!

Candy Minx said...

It's funny isn't it Jason, when you're doing something you like don't know where the time goes, you forget to eat...time goes by. And you wanna wake up and get right back to it! But "work" is something keeping you away from doing's so weird! One of the things about the art there are a lot of variables which are kind of stressful. People in crisis, no money, no paycheck...sometimes it's hard to meet strangers...but then the time FLIES.

It's not a work ethic thing-volunteer work is actual work. And in the meal service...because it's also as hard as any restaurant or serving...but at the outreach...I never think about "what time is work finished". It really shows how attitude is a major part of things.

SME said...

Hear, hear. I wouldn't call art and volunteerism lazy at all; they're just not as financially lucrative as what people like to call "real jobs", and some people figure you're lazy if you're not obsessed with career advancement, raises, getting recognition, etc. They can't fathom why people would do something just because they enjoy it, without a fat paycheck or professional accolades to keep them going.

Janet said...

I can totally relate to this!

tao said...

You have inspired this: