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The New Lazy Manifesto

By rusty in News
Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 10:22:52 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)
/etc

I live in a major US metropolitan area (Washington DC). I have a fast internet conection (ADSL 90/640). And by all current American standards, I am lazy. When I need something, I order it online and have it delivered. Sometimes I have to go so far as to pick up the phone and call someone to order something, and I consider that an inconvenience. The Kozmo delivery guys know me by name. I used to live about five blocks North of here, and the first time I ordered pizza after moving, I opened the door and the pizza guy said "Oh, you moved!" I work from home a lot, since the only difference between an ssh session there and an ssh session here is the half hour drive. People say I'm lazy, but I say I'm the future. So I will volunteer to be the one to stand up and say "Yes! By your outdated standards, I am lazy! And furthermore, you will learn to be just like me, or you will become extinct!" What follows is the manifesto, if you will, for what I'm going to call "The New Lazy".


As do many sweeping cultural changes, it's starting in the cities. Delivery is becoming much more than just a way to get pizza and chinese (which in most suburban and rural areas are still the only two things you can reliably get delivered). Combining a quick-response team of cyclists (or UPS) with an ecommerce website has broadened the field of delivered goods to include:
  • Books
  • Groceries
  • Ben & Jerry's
  • Videos
  • Pet supplies
  • Furniture
  • etc. etc. etc.
There are very few remaining things that I need to leave my house to obtain.

And yet, with all this ease and plenty comes an odd sense of guilt. Something deep in the back of my brain, planted no doubt by all the well-meaning teachers and morality advisers who sought to prepare me for the hardship of the life they knew, and expected was waiting for me in adulthood, keeps whispering "it's lazy to have everything brought to you like this... you should be out shopping..." There's no economic justification for this. Online goods are generally the same price, or cheaper, than their equivalents in the stores. It's the same basic feeling that led people to initally avoid automatic teller machines, and wait in bank lines instead. And like that feeling, we will get over it. But in this case, I think the ultimate result will be much more pronounced and sweeping.

Consider early American pioneers. They made most of their clothing by hand. They didn't do this because they enjoyed making clothes. They did it because if they didn't, they'd have been naked. There was no choice. When textile manufacturing and sales finally caught up with the population out west, most of them gladly gave up making their own clothes, and bought them from Sears and Roebuck instead. And I'm betting that, for many of them, there was always a nagging sense that they were being lazy for doing this, and they should really be making their clothes.

Despite the easy availablility of manufactured clothing, there are still people who make some or all of their own clothes by hand. Why? Simply because they like to. The girl I took to my senior prom in high school made her prom dress. It's a "hobby" now. The progression from "necessity of life for many" to "pleasant pastime for a few", however, in this case, took several generations.

We are now facing a world in which grocery shopping will be, I predict, superfluous for most of the population of America within five years. Book shopping is already superfluous. There's no book you can find in a store that you can't buy online, and probably cheaper. In fact, there are many books that I can locate online within five minutes, that I've spent years searching book stores for. More and more goods will go the way of books, and physical shopping will be steadily replaced by ecommerce and delivery.

But this isn't just about shopping. The same changes are coming to voting, taxes, any dealings with bureaucracy, banking, work, and play. Most things that fall into the category of "stuff you just have to do" is being made easier by computers, and especially, the internet. So we are becoming, as a people, a bunch of fat lazy slobs who will do nothing but bask in the glow of our CRT's all day, while our bottoms expand and fuse with the chair, right?

Wrong.

This misconception, popular though it may be with doomsayers who need to sell their newest alarmist books, simply doesn't hold up to scrutiny. In fact, the current trend toward lubricating the daily grind with bandwidth is really nothing new at all. We've always sought to replace the tedium of daily life with a faster, easier way, and in the past, we've been very successful.

The only difference now is that the rate at which the "old ways" are being replaced is much greater than it ever has been, historically. And, like the power vacuum left behind by a collapsing government, the collapsing tedium of daily life is leaving an "effort vacuum" which many are not quite sure how to fill.

There will be casualties of this rate of change. Some people will simply not know what to do with the time they used to spend schlepping back and forth from store to store, or from work to home. They will watch TV, and eat, and be lost to the world. All revolutions claim their victims, and these will be ours. But they will be only a small percentage of the people affected by this change. What I think will happen to most of us was made clear to me yesterday, by, of all things, a broken hot water boiler.

Our hot water is out, again. So the choices for bathing are:

  1. An extremely cold shower, or
  2. Heat up water in cooking pots, dump into tub, mix with some cold, and have a bath.
Not too suprisingly, I chose number 2. And you know, I actually kind of enjoyed it. I'm not saying I'd do this all the time, if I didn't have to, but overall, it wasn't unpleasant in the least. There was a certain satisfaction to having done the work (granted "heating water on the stove" isn't much work), and enjoyed the resultant hot bath.

This was a feeling that I, as a child of my times, was actually not too familiar with. And I feel quite sure that as more of us have more time in which to stumble upon the revelation that doing work you don't have to do, just for the pleasure of doing it, is actually fun and rewarding, this will spread. I predict that the next ten or twenty years will see a radical rise in the number of people who, for example, grow vegetables in the backyard, for cooking purposes, or sew their own dresses and socks, or make furniture in the garage. The New Lazy will be, in fact, a return to the Old Work. Freed from the tedium of the daily stuff our parents had to do, we will in fact rediscover the joys of the daily stuff our grandparents and great-grandparents had to do. Market analysts and demographers won't know what to make of these trends, but you and I will understand. Because we will be the New Lazy.

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The New Lazy Manifesto | 44 comments (44 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Alright! I agree - Online shopping... (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by shepd on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 06:19:07 PM EST

shepd voted 1 on this story.

Alright! I agree - Online shopping is the best. Now how about some recognition by these stores that there are countries outside of the US. I'm in Canada, and would love to do more online shopping, but why do I have to pay $50 in brokerage fees to get stuff over the border? Because most (all) the US stores are TOO LAZY to ship stuff to their Canadian offices, to be reshipped out to people in Canada. And because UPS thinks they can rape me with their outrageous prices. You know that it costs more for me to get something from Buffalo, NY (100 miles away) than it costs to get something from Victoria, BC (1500 miles or so away)? Crazy... Sorry for the rant... :-)

Your point about ATMs is interestin... (none / 0) (#5)
by fluffy grue on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 07:29:14 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

Your point about ATMs is interesting in that nowadays, people usually *prefer* the ATM to the inconvenience of the real person. Last time I was depositing my paycheck there was a long line at the ATM and all of the organic tellers were just waiting to serve someone. Las Cruces, NM isn't exactly a technological mecca, either.

As far as doing work for the sake of doing work: I'm sure Scoop isn't exactly something you're required to do. Likewise, it's not like I'm getting paid for Solace, and most of the Free software projects out there are for the sheer joy of doing the work, not for monetary rewards. (GIMP is a perfect example.)

Laziness hasn't changed any, it's just evolved. The only "work" lords ever did in feudal days was extracting rent from their serfs.

That said, I start to go stir-crazy if I haven't been outside in a few days. Being physically lazy gets to me after a while. :) Of course, it helps that in Las Cruces there's no instant-gratification delivery for anything other than pizza and bad chinese food; if I want to rent a DVD I've still got to drive a whole 4 miles (which takes a whole 6 minutes, unlike you poor sods in DC who take an hour to go the same distance :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

ATM's (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by rusty on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 10:58:28 PM EST

Ever on the cutting edge of work-reduction technology, I've actually only used a human teller three times in my entire life, and I was terrified every single time. I just had no idea how you were supposed to do it! IIRC, the first time went something like this:

I was in Boston for the weekend, and I had a paycheck, but no money in my bank account. I had only ever deposited my pay checks in the ATM, and I knew it took a couple days to clear, but I needed the money right away. I was at a loss. Until my friend suggested I go into the bank and cash the check. "You can just do that?" I said. He assured me that they do it all the time. I went up to the teller window.

Me [sliding check across counter]: "Ummm, if I give you this, will you give me money?"
Teller [somewhat suspicious]: "What is it?"
Me: "It's a paycheck."
Teller [examining check]: "Well of course!"
Me: "Wow!"
Teller [in thoughts]: "What a freakshow!"

It's always seemed to me, like, why make a human do what a machine is perfectly sufficient for? Don't humans have better things they could be doing?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: ATM's (none / 0) (#19)
by Inoshiro on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 03:19:53 AM EST

See my other reply to his post..

Sure, a machine could do it, but the human teller is the ultimate turing-complete ATM come to life. Some of them are even cute! ;-)



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: ATM's (none / 0) (#21)
by nastard on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 06:13:39 AM EST

A while back, my friend Mike fell in love with the girl behind the three feet
of plexiglass at his credit union.  He pined over her day and night, never
shutting up about it, and not even knowing her name.

"She smiled at me dude" he would say.

Aftera week or so I convinced him to go back and say something.  So we went,
and she happened to be off that day, but Miek DID manage to get her name from a
co-worker.  It escapes me at the moment, but he wouldnt stop repeating it.

Several days passed, all the while Mike pineing away.  The only thing that kept
him fed was my primal desire to eat.  The only thing that convinced him to
sleep was dreams of her. (he was staying at my place for a while)

At last, I convinced him to go back and talk to her.  He went alone this time,
and she was there.  Just as he was asking her to dinner, he noticed a picture
of a little girl on the side of her work area.	She explained that she was
married and had a kid, although she didnt say it, was probably 5 years Mike's
senior.

Mike came home heartbroken.  He didnt let it show, but he was rather upset.  In
his defense, she was rather beauiful.  But only time would mend those wounds.

Whats the point of my little diatribe?	Simply to say this:

You can't fall in love and have your heart broken by an Automated Teller
Machine.

-Nastard-


[ Parent ]
Re: ATM's (none / 0) (#23)
by nastard on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 06:14:25 AM EST

out of curiosity, why is my text so small here ? :)

[ Parent ]
Re: ATM's (none / 0) (#29)
by ramses0 on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 04:35:48 PM EST

Because rusty discriminates against people who are lazy and choose "plain text" for their messages. ;^)=

Come on rusty, I know php has a function nl2br which takes newlines in a string and makes them <br>'s so they'll be nicely formatted in HTML. I'm sure between all of the perl hackers on the planet, there has been somebody who managed to come up with a nice library function to do the same thing :^)=

But noooo... instead rusty has to print plain text comments in fixed point, size "2" pre-formatted, which is just full of html no-no's ... that is to say: using a fixed size font, which technically shouldn't resize when a user selects "larger" or "smaller".

ARRGH! I want standards compliant browsers!

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: ATM's (none / 0) (#37)
by Inoshiro on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 02:05:01 AM EST

Actually, Rusty rewrote the plain text mode after I bitched about a better way of posting code. "Plain Text Mode" is basically pre tags surrounding everything, with an 80 column limit.

It looks fine in most browsers, as long as X isn't setup with its default stupid, ugly fonts. For that you need something like xfstt (a font server), and some true type fonts (like here.

I'm bitching at him now for a "code mode" as well as a saner plain text mode and an "HTML formatted" mode which is smarter. It's all going into the latest rewrite of Scoop :-)



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Your point about ATMs is interestin... (none / 0) (#18)
by Inoshiro on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 03:17:32 AM EST

..people usually *prefer* the ATM to the inconvenience of the real person. Last time I was depositing my paycheck there was a long line at the ATM and all of the organic tellers were just waiting to serve someone. Las Cruces, NM isn't exactly a technological mecca, either.

I know. It's great, so don't tell anyone ;-) I love being able to walk into the bank with only a vague idea of the transaction involved, and know that the teller person will do the work for me. I can use an ATM to withdraw money, but that's about as far as I've needed to take it. Desposits are things the tellers do. I just hand them a cheque, mention my account number and show some form of id, and they do the rest. With an ATM, I'd have to fill out a few forms and wait for the money to be verified by a human. Bah :-)



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Your point about ATMs is interestin... (none / 0) (#43)
by shepd on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 09:21:38 PM EST

>With an ATM, I'd have to fill out a few forms and wait for the money to be
verified by a human. Bah :-)

Wow... at my bank (Toronto-Dominion) if I deposit $1388 (like I did yesterday)
it is instantly in my account.	I deposited the cheque, and took $600 (that I
didn't have before) out, right away, no hitch.

And forms, for an ATM?	I just sign it, stick it in an envelope, and it it
done.  But hey, to each his own.


[ Parent ]
woohoo! go katz! ;^)= ... (none / 0) (#2)
by ramses0 on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 08:06:54 PM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

woohoo! go katz! ;^)=

Seriously... this is a great feature, complete with funny anectdote about boiling your own water. (Very resourceful, btw)

Another thing that's kindof neat is to stop watching TV, and see how much extra time you have to do stuff. I found that I didn't really like watching TV, so I stopped. Since then I've had much more free time, and I don't feel guilty at all.

What worries me is that there eventually might be two classes of people, people who deliver stuff, and people who accept deliveries.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

I am a bit confused by this one: fi... (none / 0) (#3)
by Philipp on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 08:24:10 PM EST

Philipp voted 1 on this story.

I am a bit confused by this one: first it started as a manifest to be lazy, then it turns into a battle cry for working on for the joy of it. Growing vegatables in the back yard is not exactly lazy, is it?

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'

Re: I am a bit confused by this one: fi... (none / 0) (#8)
by rusty on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 10:43:58 PM EST

Exactly. :-) My point is really that people say I'm lazy, whereas I say I'm streamlining my life, and my free time could be spent doing better things than schlepping to the Safeway for milk and eggs. Now, don't get me wrong, I am abysmally lazy, but that's beside the point. I'm on the cusp of the delivery wave because of my already-innate laziness, but I think this is going to gain strength, and then the question is, what will we do with ourselves, when we don't have to spend all weekend "running errands?" Hence my predictions for what the next thing will be. Work for the joy of it, rather than drudgery that you have to do. The key is that maybe I love mowing the lawn-- I can choose to do that. I personally hate gardening, but I know a lot of people who would love to have time to putter around with veggies. I think people are going to start appreciating the rewards of working (at something you enjoy doing) for the simple reward of the activity itself. So the "New Lazy" is a very tongue-in-cheek, hope-someone-pays-attention media way of putting it.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Precisely. Having the new-found fre... (none / 0) (#6)
by alisdair on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 08:27:29 PM EST

alisdair voted 1 on this story.

Precisely. Having the new-found freedom to spend your time doing what you want to do can have a derogatory effect or a positive effect on a person. Most of us encounter it when we leave school, or move into our own homes. Some people end up couch potatoes. Some don't.

Luckily, I like shopping (for food, not clothes) and cooking (although I suck at it), and I'm learning that walking places is far more rewarding than driving if I can allocate the time. Hopefully, sometime I won't have go looking for a new pair of shoes, try to find some clothes that look less than shocking, or find the right shade of paint for my room, because I'll be able to do them without leaving my house. Then I can spend that wasted time doing productive stuff.

However, the modern `home shopping' concept isn't exactly unique in allowing this -- since I've moved out into my own flat, I've decided that ironing is futile except for shirts, hoovering is for the weak, and tidying my room doesn't need doing every week. So far I'm yet to notice any real loss of productivity or happiness from forgetting these chores, and I've gained some time to do other things. The New Lazy are just like the Old Lazy, with new hats.

Isn't there something do do with the Church of Subgenius going on here?

Re: Precisely. Having the new-found fre... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by rusty on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 10:51:31 PM EST

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Only the most droolingly idiotic or the most starry-eyedly idealistic (or both *cough*JonKatz*cough*) honestly attempt to claim that anything really changes. Well, things do change, from time to time, but generally in a way that simply makes everything so different that we literally cannot predict what will happen next. When these changes happen, it's like having gravity suddenly replaced by cheez-whiz. The rules just go out the door and everyone starts prognosticating according to the new rules. I think the invention of the printing press was the last time this happened. The world was just not the same before that, and when we look back, we are usually mystified by what was going on, and we usually fail to explain history, because they were operating under a totally different set of rules than we do. Where am I going with this...

Oh yeah. So this isn't one of those. :-) I think that a tremor is on the way though, and that the above is one possible way it could shake out. And even if I'm totally wrong (been there before!) it's something to think about, anyway. What will *you* do with your time? :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Wow, what a great piece... As I dra... (none / 0) (#1)
by rongen on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 09:01:08 PM EST

rongen voted 1 on this story.

Wow, what a great piece... As I draw closer to the end of my stint as a University student it is becoming clear that I will probably not get a 9-to-5 job when the time comes. I like the idea of being "my own boss". Working from home, etc, is a very attractive lifestyle.

As you point out in your post this is something that requires a self-motivator. Not everyone will be able to handle it at first. Of course the increased reliance on delivery and, probably, a higher demand for the quality of delivered goods and services will create a great deal of jobs that will be just the opposite of stay-at-home (or whatever) work.
read/write http://www.prosebush.com

wow.. that sounds EXACTLY like me! ... (none / 0) (#7)
by bse on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 09:13:45 PM EST

bse voted 1 on this story.

wow.. that sounds EXACTLY like me! hehe.. except i have no choice about working from home.. =o

---
"Please sir, tell me why, my life's so pitiful, but the future's so bright? When I look ahead, it burns my retinas." -- Pitchshifter - Please Sir

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#11)
by nascent on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 11:04:25 PM EST

RCN (NYSE: RCNC) did a thing not too long ago where they stuck a few people in NYC apartments with little else aside from a bed, a fridge and a computer w/an internet connection. $500/day. Couldn't leave. Had to do everything online, including food.

Thought it was pretty funny because ...I mean, how many of us do this anyway? I wouldn't leave either if I didn't have to, and $500/day would sure cure the only reason I *do* leave. =)

nascent
http://www.intap.net/~j/
nascent
http://www.intap.net/~j/

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#17)
by fluffy grue on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 02:50:17 AM EST

Sounds like that annoying "MSN Project" series of ads. I dunno, I'd only agree to that if I were allowed to at least open the door and go outside for some fresh air.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#24)
by Imperator on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 07:34:40 AM EST

In a city, the air is often fresher inside than outside. :)


[ Parent ]
Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#27)
by ramses0 on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 04:24:44 PM EST

Take a look at the DotComGuy.

Aside from having an amazingly ridiculous domain name (and real-life name... he had it changed), and loads of streaming video bandwidth, he is supposedly not allowed to leave the house for a year. He's gets visitors and stuff, the house is wired with lots of cameras, and he details his "online shopping experiences".

It's a good and useful experiment, and if someone ends up making a few bucks while they're learning how to furnish an entire house online, more power to them.

I watched it a little for the first day or so... saw him buying his silverware, using his cow-spotted computer-box as furniture, and inviting his frat-boy friends over.

Whatever ;^)=

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (5.00 / 2) (#12)
by analog on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 11:46:23 PM EST

Two things spring to mind; one Rusty's already hit in another thread (the Who quote). As far as getting goods from the producer to me, this is just the latest iteration in a process that's been going on for a very long time (although I have to admit when I think about ordering my groceries online my second thought is what the neighbors will think ;).

I think the question about what we'll do with our extra time is the more provocative (and important) one. Judging from the "Who are you" story, most of you aren't old enough to remember the first wave of hype about how computers and technology would change our lives. One of the main themes was how much time would be freed up, and how much drudgery would be forever relegated to memory. Talk about 30 hour work weeks was rampant, and we were awash with fantasies of three day weekends every other week, and month long vacations...

So what happened? Greed. Everybody thought that when productivity skyrocketed, employers would happily give their workers some of that gain in the form of more time off; after all, the same amount (or more) of work was getting done, right? What happened instead is that employers realized that their employees time was more valuable, and if they could make them work just a few more hours, BigCorp could rake in a lot more profits. So a quarter of a century later, instead of a 30 hour work week being commonplace, it's unheard of, and a 55 hour week is not considered at all unusual (around here, it's expected).

What's the future hold? I don't know, but I don't like the way we're headed. In 1969, the average ratio of an American CEO's earnings to the average salary of his employees was 6 to 1; today it's over 200 to 1. There have been enormous productivity gains, but it's not really benefitting the average worker; it's certainly not giving them more leisure time. When people can have their groceries delivered at any time they please, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have that time free to do as they please; it'll be just one more thing they don't have to get home to do.

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#16)
by fluffy grue on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 02:48:54 AM EST

Well, the three-day-weekends every other week have actually come to pass where my dad works (Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque). However, they still have a 40-hour workweek, and so are expected to work 9 hours a day monday through thursday, so it's not exactly as Omni magazine envisioned.

Recently, Cartoon Network had a Jetsons superchunk. Their introduction was: "Let's take a trip in time to the future. Even to the year... 2000." The first episode was one showing how dated the conceptions of the future were at the time - George was complaining about his killer 20-hour workweek, while being waited on hand and foot by all his various robotic gadgets. Then I looked at my DVD player, 5.1-channel Dolby Digital AC-3 stereo, 80" projection TV (well, an overhead projector and an LCD panel which I got on eBay for $150), and my computer which certainly doesn't use 8" magnetic tape reels for storage, and wondered if it was a reasonable tradeoff.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#13)
by HiRes on Sun Mar 19, 2000 at 11:55:37 PM EST

'S funny -- I realized after I voted on this piece that, although I found it quite intriguing, I didn't bother to justify my vote with a comment. The New Lazy, indeed...

While I hope the future bears out the optimism of rusty's thesis, I wonder about one major point:

There will be casualties of this rate of change. Some people will simply not know what to do with the time they used to spend schlepping back and forth from store to store, or from work to home. They will watch TV, and eat, and be lost to the world. All revolutions claim their victims, and these will be ours. But they will be only a small percentage of the people affected by this change.

How can we safely draw the conclusion that the majority of people will not fall in the "victim" category? It seems to me that addictive personalities abound in today's society, for whatever reason, and such personalities are prone to fill the so-called "effort vacuum" with self-destructive behavior.

I'd love to hear some encouraging arguments as to why most people should be able to avoid the trap. Help me restore my optimism!
--
wcb
wait! before you rate, read.

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#14)
by rusty on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 01:35:45 AM EST

> How can we safely draw the conclusion that the majority of people will not fall in the "victim" category?

Hmm. I actually didn't consider this on the original writing, so consider this answer "in retrospect." Basically, I can't justify the thesis that more people will make better use of their time than won't. I also can't justify the alternative. So, given two choices that I couldn't prove either way, I chose the more pleasant one. Goes to show what my real leanings are, opti- vs. pessimism wise, I suppose.

If I were to attempt to bolster this (admittedly, IMO, basically unprovable) argument with evidence, I suppose I'd argue that people get bored easily, and vast amounts of TV and junkfood is pretty boring, really. Despite what Americans like to think we think about ourselves (not a typo-- parse that sentence with care :-)), I don't know too many people who can even go as long as me without engaging themselves in some "honest" activity. I guess my main thesis is that people don't really work because we have to, but because we want to. I'm proposing that when you remove the *necessity* of certain tasks, their place will be filled by other tasks, that are done by choice. I find it more plausible that the majority of people will continue to not turn into 875 lb sofa-like lumps of televisually glazed lipids, which to be honest is an option already open to quite a few of us.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by lachoy on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 10:20:56 PM EST

Ah, the optimism of the young! Wait until you meet a few thousand more dingdongs throughout life. Then we'll see who is predicting a nation full of "875 lb sofa-like lumps of televisually glazed lipids"... :)
M-x auto-bs-mode
[ Parent ]
Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#15)
by Inoshiro on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 02:42:53 AM EST

Book shopping is already superfluous. There's no book you can find in a store that you can't buy online, and probably cheaper. In fact, there are many books that I can locate online within five minutes, that I've spent years searching book stores for.

First thought: "Hmm.. time to buy amazon.com stock. If only they were more clueful about patents ;-)"

How do people on kuro5hin spend their days? I know I spend a lot of it doing what most people consider "nothing" -- sitting in front of the computer reading a website, programming, listening to music while reading a (physical) book, or playing a game of some type. It's my entertainment and throught-lego (programming) centre. I might not actively use it for most of the day if I'm just listening to music and working with dead-tree information.

My tv consumption is aprox 1/2 hour a week (The Simpsons), and would be more if Fox and affiliates hadn't moved Futurama away (stupid usage of Simpsons to prop up Malcom in the Middle)..

Yes, I do leave the house. The library is a fun place to go to get books, and I also attend classes and work. But I find myself scheduling my various trips outside the home so I can get back home as efficiently as possible.

How does this pay off? Lots of time for free thought, time to spend with people I know, and basically enjoy life.

If you really want to become philisophical about it, you could say that it frees the human mind from the more menial tasks, and allows the great sentience which has been evolved over millenia to be applied to higher-order problems of the universe. But then, I use a lot of that intelligence to figure out how to kill people in 3D games ;-)



--
[ イノシロ ]
Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#20)
by rusty on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 03:46:47 AM EST

About libraries: One of the things I do actually leave the house for is book shopping. There are some very cool bookstaores around here (including the stupendously cool Kramerbooks, which is open nearly 24 hrs a day, has coffee and a bar in back, and while small, *always* leaves me wishing I had more money to spend on books, even while I'm spending way too much on the books I buy). I book shop for fun, really, not because there's a book in particular I want (when there is, I usually just order it online). I think libraries are a good idea, but not something I use, because I have a bit of a book-owning fetish. I like books, not just to read, but to *have*. I like having books around that I can pick up anytime, re-read, quote from, etc. Plus I just love reading fresh, new, unused books. I'm a commercial media whore, what can I say? :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#34)
by Inoshiro on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 09:03:12 PM EST

There's a place called McNally Robinson in town (the first few times you try to remember its name, you'll say Rand McNally ;-)). It has about 3 stories of books, a complete coffee shop with live band, nice comfy chairs to sit in while you read parts of a book you just grabbed, and *everything* book wise. They've even gotten cluefull and started stocking OpenBSD/Linux/Python/Perl books in a section close to the "Windows for complete pudding heads" :-)

The problem is, what pathetically little money I can scape together is usually comitted to computer parts or clothing -- as I need to upgrade both on a similar time span :-/



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#41)
by drivers on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 07:08:43 PM EST

Sounds a lot like me in some ways. (Web sites like this must attract similar personalities.) It sounds like you work from home. If so, what do you do? How do I get in on that? Thanks. :)

[ Parent ]
Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#42)
by rusty on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 07:21:29 PM EST

I don't actually know what Inoshiro does (student?), but I write perl for intes.net. I work at home frequently, even though I'm not officially a telecommuter. My handy three-step guide to how to work at home:
  1. Stay home
  2. When asked why you're at home, explain that you're the only programmer in the office, that you are in touch constantly via phone (landline and PCS), email, and Instant Messenger, that you get more done at home due to lack of office-type distractions, that going to the office adds an hour of driving to your day and puts you on a slower machine, in a much-less comfortable chair...
  3. Repeat as necessary
By the time you get to the end of step 2, they'll have glazed over and stopped listening. If the specifics of step 2 don't apply to you at all, ummm, either come up with some good reasons of your own, or consider changing jobs/careers/homes. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
But I want it now! (none / 0) (#22)
by driph on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 06:13:59 AM EST

Am I the only one with an extreme need for immediate gratification?

Dammit, when I spend my money, I want to hold my new toy NOW. I want to feel it in my hands, tear open the box, glance through the manual and plug it in! You can paste your tracking numbers into the form field on www.ups.com to find out that your package has just departed Baton Rouge while I wipe saliva off my chin with the cuff of my sleeve in the pure joy of Having Something New.

Actually, with quicker delivery times, and even local delivery, you CAN order something online and have it right away. It's getting better. However, for now, the only things I tend to order online are items that I can't find locally or where price demands I pick it up on the web.
__


--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
Re: But I want it now! (none / 0) (#26)
by ramses0 on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 04:16:11 PM EST

Preach on, brother! Although you can find any CD or book you ever wanted by digging around on the internet, I can never make up my mind if I have too many choices.

My favorite place to spend money is at the used-cd-bin at our local CD-Warehouse. Instead of just one CD, I can usually find 3 CD's that I want for the same price. And surprisingly, some of them even have that shiny-new look to them (although that's becoming less and less important as I rip my collection of CD's.

The internet may be great for finding stuff you want, but stores are great for finding stuff that you didn't know you wanted.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: But I want it now! (none / 0) (#28)
by driph on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 04:35:07 PM EST

The internet may be great for finding stuff you want, but stores are great for finding stuff that you didn't know you wanted.

Exactly! Maybe its the result of living with three women, but I like to shop. If I'm buying something I consider fun, I'll try to get it locally first... hunting for it alone can be fun... now if its just something I need that isnt exciting, or if I can only find it online, I'll order it in the net..

For instance.. hmm, last couple things I bought online... a pcmcia ethernet card for my girlfriends laptop, and a camera-to-comp cable for a digital camera we have.. Oh, and plane tickets..

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
Re: But I want it now! (none / 0) (#30)
by ramses0 on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 07:51:59 PM EST

Yeah. Exactly. Buying plane tickets is a hassle... same thing with a NIC. It's not something you want to do, but something you -have- to do. Same thing with certain 'tech' books.

But tell me... how'd you end up living with three girls? ;^)=

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: Girls? (none / 0) (#33)
by driph on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 08:21:24 PM EST

Heh. Okay, so when does someone who disagrees with us jump in so we can tackle em?

The three girls? Well, there's my girlfriend, a friend of hers, and the friends daughter.. Tho the other two might be moving out soon.. so if anyone needs a room to rent in Las Vegas, send me a note. :]

Heh..the best part of it is that two of the three girls are camgirls..

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
Re: Girls? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by Inoshiro on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 02:23:44 AM EST

Greeeaaatt.. I can just see how such a situation would work out if a guy decides to move in with you. Sigh. ;)



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by KTB on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 12:13:42 PM EST

I think my view on this is appropriately said by the following:

"Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind. "

-- George Allen

Granted, I'm perhaps one of the most lazy people I know. I've been sucked into the couch, the television. Growing up I was never ever ever ever sitting down unless I was reading, which I did often. Now, it's just too EASY to do nothing. Realistically, I don't *NEED* to do anything.

For me, it's all about needs. I think the reason so much of the populace in this wacked out country we call america is depressed or worried or out shooting each other is becuase it's just too damn EASY to live nowadays. All of our needs are met before we can even blink. I can't include everyone, granted, there are still some people who actually work hand to fist, but I would argue that when it gets right down to it, they're probably more satisfied than the rest of us. They actually DO soemthing that means something. What do I do? Gee, I go to work (which is boring as hell and means nothing, not even challenging), I go home and eat, I go out and drink, from time to time I go play tennis or go to the *gasp* gym and walk interminable miles on that dratted treadmill just so that my 'web-butt' won't expand anymore than it already has. But really, it's all rather selfish.

I work for the money. I eat preprepared much more expensive food cuz it's easier. I go out and drink to stimulate my currently unused brain cells to act, albeit in a backwards fashion. I go to the gym to get 'in shape' so I look good.

Back in the day, and I mean WAY back, I, as a 26 year old woman, would probably have a husband and 3 or 4 kids, I'd be growing corn in the back to make meal so I can make bread during the winter, while my husband is out chopping down trees so that we have enough wood to keep the house and kids warm during the winter. My time would be spent sewing and cooking, gardening, maybe fending off the wolves or whatever from the house, blah blah. There were NEEDS, and everything that the people did was geared towards meeting those needs, and that is where meaning comes in. It means something to put food in my kids mouth and my own. Now I'm going around looking for meaning, because everything I need is handed to me.

Now, I know that there were rich folks way back when, but the majority is what i'm talking about. Now we're all like the rich folks back when. The middle class has it EASY nowadays. Hell, we may even be part of the upper class, if the upper class weren't headed up the same ladder.

I figure it's like this: in the 18th-19th century, the rich (say, in england) were the few, the proud. They were the earls and dukes, etc.. They had these indolent lives, they had balls and soirees, went to the opera, and had estate people managing their lives for them. (I won't generalize and say all of them, but for the sake of the argument). They filled their lives with *gasp* staying out all night, drinking, partying, having fun, etc.. Sound familiar? Just seems to me like that is what people are doing nowadays, filling their lives with fluff, just because the concrete is already poured for them.

</rant>

but, anyway, that's just my theory on things. I can't say it applies to everyone, I'm sure there are some content well adjusted people out there who are quite happy with the way their lives are being played out. I won't give you my theory on those people. ;-) But, yes, some people find meaning in their lives. But I think all those people who are utterly miserable and unhappy who are sitting on lives that other people would KILL for, I think those people best get out and find something that brings happiness to their lives, meaning, help other people meet their lives, whatever. I know it's what I need.

Sorry so long, theories have no bounds..

KTB
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.
-- Charles William Dement

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#31)
by analog on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 08:01:09 PM EST

Now I'm going around looking for meaning, because everything I need is handed to me.

I enjoyed your post, but the above comment in particular struck me. This is the holy grail, isn't it? To have nothing we truly need to do, so we can concentrate on the things we want to do. So I guess the question then becomes, "what do I want to do?". I can definitely see where there might be a problem if the answer is "I don't know".

Personally, you could triple my free time and I could still fill it. I'm a musician, and in my younger days it wasn't unusual for me to spend six, eight, or sometimes more hours a day playing. I would love to be able to do that again. I used to work in the electronics industry, and although it's not my living anymore, I still enjoy it; I can blow hours designing and building useless but fun little gadgets. I love to read, non-fiction as much as fiction. I have way too little time to indulge that now. I got tired of working in jobs where I felt like I was spinning my wheels, so I identified an area that looked promising and went into business for myself; much higher satisfaction level, and I certainly don't have to worry about having too much free time. ;)

I definitely think it falls into the category of 'problems everyone should have'. Being bored sucks, but it beats being hungry. Look around, though; there is something out there that will turn your crank. All you have to do is find it.

[ Parent ]

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#32)
by KTB on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 08:08:16 PM EST

True.. There are a lot of things that I enjoy doing, but I can't say that I really have a passion of any sort. I do have to say though, if I were actually doing something (workwise) that made me feel like I was actually accomplishing something other than making some other company more money, and increasing their productivity somehow, might be a bit easier to get out of bed in the morning.

I guess my point was more that when we don't have to concentrate on our needs, it can leave us flapping out in the wind, and it just seems like a lot of people start filling their time with things like going out and drinking, and things of that vein, instead of doing something like painting or playing an instrument, or volunteering, really going after something that means something.

Perhaps my point is that filler things that have no meaning don't help anyone or anything...you'll still be bored wondering what to do next. Find something that matters to you, if you're lucky you'll be able to work doing that thing. :)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.
-- Charles William Dement
[ Parent ]

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (5.00 / 2) (#36)
by lachoy on Mon Mar 20, 2000 at 10:40:02 PM EST

Book shopping is already superfluous. There's no book you can find in a store that you can't buy online, and probably cheaper....

At least for me, online shopping for certain goods will have a very difficult (probably impossible) time replacing physical browsing. For clothes and other goods that are the same from purchase to purchase, no problem. Go into the store, try it on; you like it: just keep buying more online as they wear out. Some food is like this too: a bag of sugar is a bag of sugar.

But for differentiated goods, particularly books, going into the market is a central part of the experience. Why? Accidental discovery. It's the same reason that I'll always prefer to browse a physical newspaper than an online one. I'm not a static set of likes and dislikes that can be expressed as weighted relationships. I want to bump into something that makes me see things differently, or at least gives me the opportunity. I want to pick up three different kinds of pears and smell them, or see what kind of mushrooms I can use for my sauce. I want to wander into the wrong area of the bookstore and find something I didn't even know I was looking for.

Libraries are the same way. To me, there's a huge difference between wandering the stacks around a particular subject and clicking from subject to subject on an information system. First, I can process information much more quickly in the stacks: I can see dozens or more books at a time. Second, I can pick up a book and skim the table of contents and the index for interesting bits, and if I find some just open it up and start reading.

I have yet to find an information system that can capture accidental discovery and combine that with the speed and ease (and ubiquity) of opening a book to learn more.

But maybe that's just me. Maybe my online searching tecniques aren't refined or efficient enough. Maybe kids growing up now won't have these (possibly sentimental) attachments to physical information.
M-x auto-bs-mode

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#39)
by henrik on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 03:48:50 PM EST

Alright, i think a major reason why people think that most people doing computer work are doing nothing is because that's what they say when asked.

I mean, if someone (not computer litterate) comes up and asks me what i'm doing, i usually say "nothing really.." and leave it at that. It's so much easier than explaining that i'm "chasing that last elusive wild pointer thats corrupting the stack in my identifier lookeruper (what kinda word is that?)" (I've been working on a c interpreter lately, in case you were wondering). If i really say what i'm doing, they'll think that i'm either crazy, or an ubergeek beyond any hope of rescue. It's just that most of the things i do is so far above the average computer user, there's just no idea trying to explain. Even something like "i'm programming" doesn't work, because "Oh.. so what are you programming?" always follows within a few seconds. And then you got yourself trapped - trying to explain it takes half an hour, and everybody involved just lost 30 minutes and learned nothing.

But, as a result, most everybody around me think i'm one of the laziest people that ever lived. I eat, i sleep and i do nothing (at the computer). -henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!

"playing on the computer" (none / 0) (#40)
by rusty on Tue Mar 21, 2000 at 04:04:33 PM EST

Yeah, I have this exact same experience constantly. It's known as "playing on the computer" by my friends and relatives. More often than not, I am working, but they never know when, and never really believe me when I tell them I'm working. Partly because it's impossible to explain what I'm doing, and partly because to the untrained eye, it's impossible to distinguish me working from me "playing".

But look on the bright side-- when you really are just slacking, no one can tell. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: The New Lazy Manifesto (none / 0) (#44)
by el_vez on Sun May 07, 2000 at 08:26:56 AM EST

yeah.

i go one step further and lie and tell people that i work at mc donalds or drive a bus or something when asked what i do for a living.
but it makes me feel guilty because it wouldnīt be very nice if *everyone* did that.
itīs just that itīs so much easier 99% of the times...

[ Parent ]
The New Lazy Manifesto | 44 comments (44 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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