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Slack off in style, save the world

Businessman Characters Vector art illustration.Copy Space. Businessman with a small man sleeping inside the opened head (inner self).

Businessman Characters Vector art illustration.Copy Space. Businessman with a small man sleeping inside the opened head (inner self).  

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For peace and happiness, enlist idlers; tell them to do what they do best — nothing

Just hearing the word “lazy” is enough for many to mutter epithets such as lout, loser, slouch, bum, layabout or good-for-nothing. Sadly, none of us slackers spring to our own defence. Not because we have nothing to say; it’s just that we are lazy.

Back in the day, when humans were hunter gatherers, the slacker who neither hunted nor gathered but better spent the time on the social media of those times was a blot on the social landscape, a dangerous role model who could push the tribe to starvation. The ages that followed have been no kinder to the do-littles of the world. But it was the Industrial Age, when all hands were needed on the deck to keep the engines of the economy firing, which put a halo around hard labour and triggered a stigma about lethargy. But all those days are long past us. Unfortunately, the world’s workaholics have been too busy at the office to notice.

Bogged down by work

The fact is, there is too much work being done today, most of it of the wrong kind, and it’s time the patron saint of sloth reappears to show people the light. Far from being a social menace, the “disinclination for work of any kind”, as Jerome K. Jerome put it, may be just the thing to help us get out of the mess we are in. Consider for a moment how things would be a lot better if everyone took more time off.

Imagine wannabe scamsters plotting to embezzle the bank in which lie your life’s savings. They plough through the bank’s security procedures, spend painstaking hours forging documents to precision, and proceed to set up shell companies in Mauritius and the Cayman Islands. Suddenly, out of the corner of their eyes, they glimpse the beach and the azure sea beyond, the seductive sands and the welcoming hammocks. They look at each other, shrug their shoulders, and head for the beach. The bank escapes ruin and your money stays safe. Or take leaders of incipient lynch mobs or potential suicide bombers who yield to the heady charms of procrastination and put off their tasks by another hour, another day… It’s the laggards who will ultimately save our world.

The old saying about idle minds being the devil’s workshop is well past its sell-by date. Honestly, we slouches can’t put a Lego set together, let alone operate a workshop. Instead, we can help soothe nerves frazzled by “to-do” lists, safeguard you from karoshi (Japanese for death due to overwork) and come up with productivity boosters such as power snoozes or pixel meditation — the technique of staring fixedly at your computer screen to convince everyone around that you are deeply immersed in work even as your mind reprises a Netflix original.

If you want to start a movement to promote health, peace and universal happiness, begin by enlisting idlers. Then, tell them to go ahead and do what they do best — nothing.

Jairam.menon@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 2:03:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/slack-off-in-style-save-the-world/article30232585.ece

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