What’s my excuse?

Laziness is an essential human characteristic. Where would we be without it? If we had limitless capacity for hard work, we’d still be hunting and gathering. Why would we be compelled to find more efficient ways of doing things, such as planting our crops all in once place, or enclosing our livestock in corrals? We’d be perfectly content to spend our entire waking lives in dedication to mere survival. There would be no need for innovation.

Instead, we have succeeded because we have an unsatisfiable urge to slack off. We use our creative minds to make the tasks necessary to everyday life faster and easier. We’d all be perfectly content by now if we didn’t also have a competing instinct to stockpile anything and everything. Thousands (and thousands) of years ago, if we came across an easier than usual source of a resource, we’d scoop it all up in order to reduce future effort. Now, almost everything comes easily, but we’re still compelled to accumulate as much as possible. Food is abundant. Not only do we not need to hunt down prey, but we can actually dial a phone number and have a meal placed directly into our hands. We consume to excess, because we can’t silence the primitive voice that tells us “get it while the getting is good — tomorrow you might need to stalk that pizza through a forest”.

We need to convince ourselves that we finally have enough. We have more than enough, and it’s not likely to change, unless we somehow forget everything we’ve discovered. The effort humans need to make in order to survive is now negligible. We don’t need to continue to hoard. We are not squirrels. I bet you’ve got boxes of junk in every corner of your home, brimming full of shit you hardly even remember you own. Wouldn’t the time and effort you spent earning the money you used to obtain those useless objects, those extra pounds… wouldn’t it have been better spent lying on a beach somewhere? It’s not as if we need to spend every hour of the summer preparing for winter anymore, we just need to put in a good week or two, and call it quits. It’s hard to come to grips with this. We’ve convinced ourselves that we need so many unnecessary things in life, just because without them things would seem almost too easy. But we can finally afford to give our instinctual laziness full reign (or nearly full — we’ll be at 100% just as soon as all of our work is taken over by humanity’s inevitable legacy of robots).

In direct conflict with our essential slack is the 9-to-5 workday. If we get our work done faster, do we get to go home earlier? No. We’re rewarded by having to do more work to fill up the time. The entire concept is contrary to human nature. This is not the way things are meant to be, and we all feel it. In order to cope we find easier ways of doing things, but take just as long to do them. If we can’t shorten our day, at least we can reduce the total amount of effort we’re putting in. Deep down we know that there simply is no reason for more work to get done in the first place, when we’re surviving just fine already. But we can’t eliminate inflation entirely in this system. We’re too good at becoming more efficient. Eventually, we slip up, finish too early, and accomplish more than we intended. The bar accidentally moves higher. For the good of humanity, we’ve got to watch out, and slack off as much as possible. Yes, folks. The solution to all of our problems is to do as little as we can, whenever we can. We’ll use fewer resources, less energy, have more spare time, cause fewer conflicts, keep effort inflation low.

I’m just trying to set an example for all of us.