Being Lazy by doing too much

“There are different species of laziness: Eastern and Western. The Eastern style is like the one practised in India. It consists of hanging out all day in the sun, doing nothing, avoiding any kind of work or useful activity, drinking cups of tea, listening to Hindi film music blaring on the radio, and gossiping with friends. Western laziness is quite different. It consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so there is no time at all to confront the real issues. This form of laziness lies in our failure to choose worthwhile applications for our energy.”

— Sogyal Rinpiche

(via zach and caterina)

18 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Ouch. I saw the headline and thought instantly about blogging and graphic design. I thought “I’m busted”, worrying about lot’s of posts instead of quality posts, which translated, means it’s easier to put out several “lite” posts than do the hard work of putting out one good quality post for the same quality of time. The “lazy by doing too much” is in essence what the quote it – not taking the time to think through what should be done the most and the best, as opposed to doing what is easy but maybe really doesn’t need to be done.

    For me, it’s easy to get distracted by interesting non-essentials because the more mundane essentials are harder work. But alas, we cannot escape the value of real work and the asking of hard questions. And I wonder if it’s better to sit in the sun with tea, than to be engaged in meaningless non-essential work…I have to think about this!!

  2. Sad but true. And I not only see this being true all of the time and all around me, I even see compulsive activity breaking up relationships and families. In fact, I have close friends who have had their marriages destroyed by being so busy that they never placed their own relationships at a high enough priority. Very sad.

    And the other moral there is: with children, don’t ever let them take up all of your time either! Children are wonderful and need our time (of course!), but they’re not the top reason you choose to spend the rest of your life with another person. Your married / committed relationship is still the *top* priority.

    Designers need to keep relationships (personal and professional) at the top of their priority lists more than anyone. The value of our work is not always what’s visible.

  3. This is really making me think about what I do with my time!

  4. This is going on my wall.


    Am I a human doing or a human being or, as my sister once imagined, a “human bean”?

  6. …well, I definitely know which type is more fun.

  7. So “hanging out all day in the sun, doing nothing, avoiding any kind of work or useful activity, drinking cups of tea, listening to Hindi film music blaring on the radio, and gossiping with friends” is synonymous with “confront[ing] the real issues”? Right.

    What a ridiculous (and rather Orientalist) stereotype of the diversity of culture. When I think about what to do with my spare time, am I copying the “Eastern” method, or doing something wrong? Telling people to chill out is hardly a new idea.

  8. RDworkin: I think you missed a big “NOT” in there. The eastern “hanging out in the sun” is synonymous with the wester NOT “confronting real issues”. Take a second read…the western method is lambasted for being too lazy to break out of frivolity that looks like real busy-ness but is not.

  9. West has a word for it’s laziness – procrastination.

  10. I love Eastern philosophy. This is yet another gem worth remembering.

  11. This is such an interesting quote. I just spent all day “relaxing” by working on the computer.

    I liked Douglas’ comment about blog postings. Sometimes I’m tempted to post a picture without any comment or explanation- I hate when blogs do that though.

  12. Probably, East loves Western philosophy and West loves Eastern Philosophy. Greed is greener in neighbour garden. Anyway, there is also a southern hilosophy and a northern philosophy. Means that west-northen are having a terrible life.

  13. That is so sage. I’m having experiences in my life right now that directly relate to the wisdom of those words.

    Love it.

  14. Damn you twitter.
    Damn you blogs.
    Damn you iphone.

    I can’t put you down —
    and it’s all your fault!

    I’m a compulsive infoholic.

    Anyway, I need to get back
    to read the news.

  15. Just wanted to note…his name is actually spelled “Rinpoche.” This is a quote from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

  16. great thoughts! thanks

  17. Very good post! Thank you!