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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Three times a lazy
Another fragment (looks like it was originally a comment in response to someone else, but I can't remember who/where) because I'm too tired to put together a more coherent or contentful post:

I wish I were like you. But I'm lazy.

I do not believe that there's some kind of little on-off switch in my genes which I, or God, or even the Holy Richard Dawkins can flip to "lazy" or "not-lazy". I believe that it's about doing, not being; I am not "a lazy person", I am a person who can make lazy choices. But each choice is a new choice. Okay, I went to the supermarket instead of the market; but next time I can make a different choice. Each choice is a new event.

Saying "I wish I were less lazy" is IMHO just like saying "I pray every day that God will make me a less lazy person" (& all sorts of people who would scorn the latter say the former). Even postulating the existence of God, it's not remotely clear to me how (not 'by what divine force' but 'in what describable way') God would make someone a less lazy person except by making them make the non-lazy choices. And since I don't think God (or wishing) can actually pick a person up from the road to Sainsburys and plonk them down in the middle of Borough Market, I think it comes down to individual choice and will. The bit where you decide to move your legs in one direction or another. I like to believe I have some control over that.

I mean, basically (at the risk of repeating myself) IMHO it's not a question of wishing you were the sort of person who makes that choice; the only thing that distinguishes "the sort of person who makes that choice" from the sort of person who doesn't is the making of the choice. The difference is situated in the action, not some kind of difference in the colour of your aura, the health of your soul, or wherever you choose to lay the blame.

And yes, actions are habit-forming -- but that goes for the less-lazy actions as well as the lazy ones. The hard bit is rarely the actual action itself, it's the recognition of your own ability to make the choice: because if you could make the choice, then you have to take responsibility for the fact that you haven't. It is far, far easier to say "I care about this stuff, but it's difficult" than to admit that you could change your habits; it's easier, too, to say "I care about this stuff, but I'm lazy". That looks like accepting responsibility, but it's really only one step away from blaming God or genes for things you could change. And all of these things are easier than saying "Actually, I don't care about this enough to do something different."

I think I still agree with this (and while I certainly don't think it makes it easy to change ingrained habits, I do personally find it a more helpful way of framing the problem), but I'm not sure I want to deal with the possible arguments that could spin off from it -- not because I'm lazy but because I'm extremely tired, I'm likely to be very busy for the next few days, and I don't like arguments.

Is November nearly over yet?


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From: hsenag Date: November 23rd, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
LJ needs a like button so I don't need to write anything to say I agree.

Does that prove I'm lazy?
jinty From: jinty Date: November 24th, 2010 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that's a lot of comment spam. I thought a fierce debate had broken out!

I agree with this. The I wish I weren't lazy strikes me as being a bit similar to what stereotypically happens in America about health things: rather than changing the fundamentals of one's diet to just, I dunno, eat less shit, a magic pill is used to counteract the rest of what you've not changed - a sort of layering rather than a fixing.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 24th, 2010 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
that's a lot of comment spam

Yeah. :-/ I have now changed account settings to screen anonymous comments. Though it does feel as though that's admitting that the spammers have already won.

a magic pill

People always want a magic pill. I think it's all related to consumerism -- because Buying Things is presented as the solution to everything, people want to be able to buy their way out of a problem (medical or otherwise) by acquiring a thing, by adding rather than taking away. Layering, like you say. (It's similar with green issues -- people want to be able to buy magic gadgets to monitor/fix their energy usage, rather than just, y'know, using less stuff, switching things off, etc.)
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: November 24th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I certainly don't think it makes it easy to change ingrained habits, I do personally find it a more helpful way of framing the problem

That's an excellent description. "I'm lazy" may be literally true, if I am the sort of person who habitually does lazy things, but the other phrasing is lots more helpful, as it encourages me to think of it not as an external constraint, but something that's a combination of all the choices I make, that should be worked with as much as possible.
teleute From: teleute Date: November 24th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is one of the most insightful things I've read, especially the concept of "I don't care enough about this to do something different". May I quote that paragraph on FB? I have a number of friends who would be inspired by it, I think.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: November 28th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just in case you were still trying to remember why you wrote that: you originally wrote it in response to this comment from rhodri on this post of mine.
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