The Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth

FOTSthumb2A StubbornThings Symposium11/29/15
Latest: Let’s Chew the Fat About Sloth by Anonymous  •  Introduction  •  I don’t really feel like writing a lengthy introduction. That’s too much damn work. So let’s get right to the essays…if anyone really has the energy to write them. I, for one, would rather just sit here and vegetate. If you send one in, I’ll put it up…if I feel like it.

The Editor

Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth



The degree to which each of us is guilty of each of the Seven Deadly Sins varies. In my case, I’m probably least inclined to Envy, and most inclined to Gluttony Anger, and Sloth. It’s time to discuss this last one.

The problem with sloth is that — barring an inherited fortune or good luck with the lotteries — it generally is a severe limitation on one’s ability to earn money. A slothful individual is unlikely to become wealthy, which isn’t a problem if one can accept the consequences. But many people combine sloth with envy of those who are more “fortunate” (i.e,, harder working), and that’s a toxic combination. This is especially true if one is so slothful that earning anything at all becomes impossible. Many welfare recipients no doubt are merely unfortunate, but many are simply lazy — and willing to live on the freebies available to them. This can be a better living than a minimum-wage job provides — and without having to work for it. That makes it . . . dare I saw it? . . . very tempting.

Of course, sloth can lead to other problems. A house that’s a total mess, lack of personal hygiene, uncooked meals of snacks (or eating out all the time, which gets expensive – unless you go with fast food all the time, which can have its own problems). It also means an extremely sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to health problems. And unless you inherited a lot of money from someone who doesn’t care how lazy you are, you can’t afford most of these options anyway.

A certain amount of laziness can be survived (after all, I’ve managed to survive it). But it’s best, as with all the Seven Deadly Sins (and any others), to keep them at manageable levels. I can still remember once doing some routine work at a summer job, completely unsupervised. I did it routinely, but I did it — and was very pleased that I hadn’t given in to any temptation to shirk the work. Until then, I couldn’t be sure how i would behave in such circumstances. Of course, it helps when one gets paid. An honest day’s pay for an honest day’s labor is one way to keep sloth from becoming too severe.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but sometimes it can also be the father of resistance to temptation.

— Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.



I think all of The Seven Deadly Sins are controversial. And not just because the modern diabolical, corrupt, and vulgar Left has turned many of them into virtues. Normalizing sin is as old as . . . sin.

What I’m talking about is the difficulty of making distinctions. One man’s “sloth” is another man’s “quiet time.” Who is to decide? Is it all just relative? And if it is, well, that’s a controversial opinion, particularly on a conservative site.

I won’t talk in the third person and do masturbatory intellectualizing. I know I have a tendency to vegetate. But the thing is, when something interests me, I will expend enormous amounts of energy. Sloth may overcome me in terms of washing the few dishes that are in the sink. But yesterday I climbed a small snow-covered mountain. That’s no big deal. I’m in shape for that. But the hard part was that the snow had turned to slush and it was the devil to try to get any footing.

I wonder if “sloth” is often a term used disingenuously by other people when they are trying to get us to do their crap. Sometimes you sign up for that crap, as with the duties that go with your job or your family. But even so, a lot of dishonesty can be hidden in “sloth” when what other people mean is “He or she won’t do my bidding at the speed that I want.”

Now, if you’re living in your own filth, if your bathroom isn’t reasonably clean, if you haven’t bathed lately, if you haven’t even been outside lately, then you could be objectively guilty of sloth. Even so, when does “lazy” end and “psychological problems” start? Many people do enormously slothful things, but not because they’re lazy, per se, but because they’re a little cuckoo. It’s the human condition to be just a little cuckoo. Some people have more than their share, of course.

And let’s acknowledge that there are high-energy “type A” people…the kind for whom going to a constant series of “Yes, you can!” seminars by the latest sales-expert gurus is their thing. “Sloth” isn’t even on their radar, although given their annoying habits, maybe it ought to be. And, yes, there are people who are very active and do well with this level of activity. Donald Trump, for instance, didn’t get to be Donald Trump because he had a penchant for quiet moments and navel gazing.

But some people do. Some are not type A. Some people’s idea of entertainment is to read a good book, do a little gardening, or something else that isn’t as outwardly “productive” or showy as those non-slothful people who, if you ask me, should ease off a bit on their quad-shot-espresso lifestyle. I’m no fan of people who are dirty bums, but I have no problem with people who require a little less drama in their lives and who can stop and smell the roses without obsessing over how to make money with them. I don’t find too many of those types, but in theory they do exist.

So who made “sloth” a Deadly Sin anyway? It was probably some woman who was inventing a new way to nag her husband. As for me, I’ll admit that sometimes there are duties we must buck-up to, no matter how we feel. But I suspect that “sloth” is a label often thrown around with the purpose of manipulating other people.

— Brad Nelson is editor and publisher of He is a sinner but assures you that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman…not a single time.”



#6. A False Witness that Speaketh Lies, KJV; A False Witness Testifying Lies, TANAKH; A False Witness Who Speaks Lies, Peshitta.

False Witnesses abound on a daily basis around us. Lies of personal destruction are laughed at as character and lives of good people are willfully destroyed without a thought of wrong-doing or consequences. As Harry Reid said, “I won, didn’t I?” The only thing that matters.

Speaking lies is bad enough, but the TANAKH translates the word as “testifying,” making the action a legal, and more serious, matter. Harry Reid should have been hauled into court by Mitt Romney.

I began these entries by not understanding which sin was the most abominable to the Lord. I’m certain now that it is indeed the Seventh and that all other sins are acted out in order to complete the overall goal of the 7th.

The COMPLETE Rules of the Seven Deadly Sins

The Rule of the First Deadly Sin: By their haughty look ye shall know them.

The Rule of the Second Deadly Sin: The Lying Tongues blanket the whole land in Deceit.

The Rule of the Third Deadly Sin: In all ages the blood of the innocent is shed by those who want to sow discord among the people.

The Rule of the Fourth Deadly Sin: The Hearts and Minds of the Leaders turn first to dreaming of, then planning and promoting evil.

The Rule of the Fifth Deadly Sin: The Feet of Makers of Mischief and Evil run swiftly when opportunity arises.

The Rule of the Sixth Deadly Sin: Bearing False Witness is a Tool always used by those who sow discord.

The Rule of the Seventh Deadly Sin: This is the Sin the Lord abominates most because it is not just personal, it is the Umbrella under which the other six operate to destroy whole civilizations and peoples.

— Anniel is a frequent contributor to StubbornThings. Her frequency saves her from the appellation of “sloth.”



The Nanny State versus Adipose Rex

In sterner eras, certain choices and behaviors were regarded as Deadly Sins. Two of those fatal transgressions were Gluttony and Sloth. Nowadays it might be difficult to get up a quorum to decide on whether Gluttony and Sloth are even undesirable, much less sinful. You see, that would be a “value judgment,” and no one wants to be accused of that. That’s because nowadays judgmentalism really is a sin.

Whether sinful or not, Gluttony and Sloth play a big part in the price of healthcare. One of the big problems with the price of healthcare is that we have an “unlimited” demand for products that are in limited supply. You know what classical economics says about that: prices will rise.

One classical solution to the problem of rising prices is: reduce demand. If more people were healthy, there’d be less demand placed on the healthcare system. Most folks can get healthy simply by changing their “lifestyle”: their daily choices and behaviors. Degenerative diseases due to lifestyle are unnecessary, self-inflicted “diseases of choice,” and they run up healthcare costs for everyone.

America leads the world in “morbid obesity.” Not only do we eat too much, but we eat the wrong kinds of food. We’re even seeing clogged arteries in children. What might be called “chronic inactivity” is also a problem; Americans just don’t get enough exercise. There are other factors that come under the rubric of “lifestyle” that don’t involve the essential activities of eating and moving; they include tobacco use, drug abuse, alcoholism, and other types of dissipation. And these lifestyles also contribute mightily to the cost of degenerative disease.

If health insurance companies still operated like insurance businesses, they would charge higher premiums to those individuals who pose the most risk, such as obese, sedentary, alcoholic chain-smokers who drive too fast and are addicted to cocaine and corn chips. But under ObamaCare, insurance companies can’t charge them more. That’s because of “community rating,” which requires that everyone pays the same for health insurance, regardless of how much risk they pose.

Moral hazard” is a concept long used in the insurance business. The idea concerns this: by removing the costs and consequences of risks, folks are more apt to take risks. If someone else pays, that creates moral hazard. The insurance business deals with moral hazard by putting consequences back in the equation through higher premiums. For example, if one gets caught speeding, one’s car insurance premiums will likely rise. Such tactics create incentives for the policyholder to change his risky behavior by making him share in its costs. But ObamaCare forbids raising premiums on those who pose higher risks.

The ultimate threat for reducing moral hazard is the possibility that an insurance company might cancel one’s insurance policy. But ObamaCare forbids that, as well. In fact, “no lifetime or annual limits” on the dollar value of benefits are allowed (see page 131 of the text of ObamaCare).

The demand for healthcare is “unlimited” because there is an “unlimited” number of ways that one’s health can go bad. It should be especially alarming in America, a nation predicated on the idea of a limited central government, that a new federal program places demands on the private sector (businesses and individuals) that are essentially unlimited.

ObamaCare requires the responsible, prudent, taxpaying adults among us who “delay gratification” and regularly save and invest for the future to subsidize (with higher taxes and premiums) certain behaviors they would never countenance in themselves. Democrats think that a man who leads a life of dissipation should be able to check in at the nearest emergency room and get free healthcare. And you’re supposed to welcome him like he’s “some long-lost retard relative, shows up at your door in a wheelchair with a colostomy bag, says he’s yours now” (page 22 of The Drop, a novel by Dennis Lehane and a good flick).

But, if government can demand that some Americans buy health insurance for themselves as well as pay for the healthcare of those who either can’t or won’t buy health insurance, shouldn’t government also demand that those being subsidized improve their “lifestyle” and get healthy so that those who are paying won’t have to pay so much?

If America had a government-run, single-payer healthcare system, government would command us to diet and exercise, and would lay a penalty on us if we didn’t. Of course, someone would challenge that in court. And when it got to the Supreme Court the robed justices would descend from Mt. Olympus to tell us that the command is really a choice, and that the penalty is really a tax, and that the law is therefore really constitutional, (see NFIB v. Sebelius).

So will the ObamaCare bureaucrat busybodies issue new regulations that command us to do “the right thing” and start taking care of our health so that healthcare costs don’t spiral further out of control? They won’t because they can’t, and that’s the “dirty little secret” of ObamaCare. The government can’t constantly be monitoring everybody to ensure that we’re taking care of our health; i.e. ensuring that we eat our spinach and walk our five miles each day. Such monitoring would involve a mammoth bureaucracy; just what kind of fascist police state are you willing to put up with, anyway? We’ve been down this road before, during Prohibition, and that didn’t work out so well.

Besides, people have a right to be unhealthy. They have a right to eat whatever the heck they want, and in super-sized portions. They have a right to lounge on their sofas all day eating bonbons, listening to Oprah assure us that “this is the One.” They have a right to gorge on trans-fats, swill booze, smoke cigarettes, and dip snuff, and to their hearts’ content. And if it ruins their health and costs the taxpayer a fortune, that’s just too bad; after all, they didn’t set up the system.

Folks aren’t going to change their “lifestyle” just so some utopian government healthcare system can be made workable. And if the feds try to take away the few remaining pleasures in our dreary little lives here in Obamaland, there’ll be hell to pay and a nice revolution to boot. People have a right to be irresponsible as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, so pass the salt, Nanny Bloomberg.

What the utopians don’t seem to understand and will probably never accept is that the rest of us — the jogging, tofu-eating, responsible rest of us — shouldn’t have to finance bad behavior by paying the medical bills of the boozers, smokers, drug addicts, gluttons, and couch potatoes. It’s like demanding that we subsidize sin.

For each of us, biological life is a sinking boat that has a seating capacity of one. Even so, progressives expect some of us to paddle over to other sinking boats and bail them out, even while our own boats are sinking. And the occupants of those other boats sit back and watch us bail out their boats for them and complain that we’re not working fast enough and, hey, your boat’s bigger than mine.

I’m not sure that analogy works entirely, but if you’re 5’ 6” and have weighed 300# for the last 30 years and your most strenuous physical exercise is hunting for the TV remote, then you pay for your hip replacement yourself, and all the other medical interventions coming your way; it’s not my problem. Your use of the healthcare system is becoming just a wee bit too gluttonous.

There’s no cure for any of this, other than getting healthy. And that’s what those of us with a proper “lust for life” are trying to do, despite the little snag of Lust being a Deadly Sin.

Happy New Year!

— Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. He would have submitted this essay earlier but was being a little slothful.



The Pro and Con of Sloth

I am going to go a little off script and not write completely about the sinfulness of sloth for StubbonThings’ Symposium on The Seven Deadly Sins, but take a little bit of the other side as well. It’s going to be a little bit of both “pro” and a lot of “con” regarding the sin of sloth. And the reason I’m doing so is that I happen to think there’s nothing all that wrong with being lazy, but that it’s a matter of perspective and context when describing where and when it actually exists.

To begin, here’s a brief description on the origins of what motivates people to work and be productive citizens. Most walk it back to The Protestant Ethic, that to work hard was a virtue set forth by God in honoring Him. Max Weber outlined it in his seminal book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, that could be seen as a reflection of the emerging industrial societies where “time became money” and it became honorable and virtuous to work in order to accumulate capital. Weber put his finger on these beginnings when writing his book on the modern work ethic that helped fuel the growth and development of today’s western societies by making the connection to religious underpinnings in order to justify the new materialism.

But as everyone knows, the antithesis of hard work, slothfulness or laziness, has been around for a long time as described in the Bible and known as of one of The Seven Deadly Sins. The strongest personification for slothfulness being sinful can be found in the quote “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Idleness creates a vacuum, that is, when one is not working what usually follows is trouble and mischief which in turn will lead to other more egregious sins that are self-destructive as well as destructive to others.

The best example today can probably be found in the huge numbers of black teenagers and men living in urban centers with no education, no strong family ties, and no motivation to work in order to sustain themselves and most likely any children they may have had out-of-wedlock. What you have is the untold number of lives who will never be productive citizens, possibly becoming gang members, and committing crimes of all varieties. One need look no further than the city of Chicago to see what slothfulness has created as it is literally like the Wild West in its ghettos where shootings are a daily occurrence.

I read somewhere that all of The Seven Deadly Sins are derived from the first two of The Ten Commandments …

  • You shall have no other gods before Me
  • You shall not make idols

… and that they are all a form of self-worship or idolatry of the self. Sloth is definitely representative of that since it’s just another form of pleasure, the pleasure that comes from being selfish by not working and seeking the momentariness of feeling good and instant gratification. Drug use personifies the statement “idleness is the devil’s workshop” as nothing is more sinful and destructive, especially against God. The drug epidemic throughout the world is the apotheosis of sloth. By doing only what feels good with all of one’s time can only lead to one thing in all of its manifestations, and that is hedonism.

Consider all of the ancillary problems that come from drug use and abuse. You have the organized crime and corruption that comes with the major drug cartels growing and selling cocaine, heroin, and marijuana (which is still illegal in most states). You have the crime that comes with its distribution throughout American cities that is most likely the biggest contributor to inner city violence. You have it contributing to the destruction and breakdown of families where addiction takes over one’s responsibilities and obligations. That in turns leads to domestic abuse and divorce. Death by overdose can’t be overlooked either.

The nihilism of illegal and even legal drugs, primarily the the epidemic of painkiller abuse and addiction, is at the core of the loss of faith in God and purpose, all of which can be traced back to the sin of sloth. Hedonism is simply the breakdown or absence of discipline of a materialistic, pleasure-seeking, Godless society.

Without discipline and the ethic of hard work, the Bible tells us what will happen:

Proverbs 28:19  A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.


Thessalonians 3:10  Even while we were with you, we gave you this command:  “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

As for making the case for sloth, there can be a difference between being intentionally lazy and just doing nothing, although it can be a very fine line between the two. The downside of modern society is that it’s become too frenetic in what’s commonly called ‘the rat race’ where everyone works so hard that it has led to an epidemic of stress, anxiety and burn-out.

Society has become totally bifurcated, either one is working or one is not from Monday through Sunday. This may sound simplistic but something seems really wrong when most of the population lives for the weekends where they can indulge in their personal pleasures and hobbies in order to escape the maladies of the workaday world. I recently heard a brief interview where a television reporter asked an Amish man what he does for fun and his reply was simply: ‘work’.  Not exactly what you would hear from your typical American worker.

Now there are many that find great pleasure in their work but I would argue that the vast majority feel a certain degree of alienation from their work, that they dread getting up to go to their places of work, especially on Monday mornings when the 40-hour work week starts all over again as does the countdown of days until Friday’s arrival.

So I think one can be lazy, but lazy in a responsible way. As I indicated earlier, there is always something that fills one’s time when one is not working. Most seek personal pleasure whether it’s in their hobbies or other recreational activities, but there’s also the quiet time of doing nothing that can restore the soul such as reading, writing and reflecting.

I personally admit a weakness in watching too much television but I try to stick to the cable news and other informational networks rather than the ones with the usual sitcom and drama offerings. I believe one’s education doesn’t stop with the end of high school or college but is an endeavor that should be pursued every day and done with the curiosity and the desire to always be learning something new about the world. Television can be a great educational tool rather than the mindless and addictive vice it’s become for so many people. So with sloth, laziness, or whatever you want to call it, with the right attitude, motivation and discipline, a person can avoid the real sins of being slothful.

On balance, sloth as sin greatly outweighs any positive attributes. The discipline to work and to be motivated is in slow-motion deterioration. We have become the ‘entertainment society’ where the goal is to do what is pleasurable or fun. Even many churches have absorbed the overwhelming power of “fun” in order to avoid being boring so as to attract more attendees. They end up just marginalizing themselves. The pastor at my church peppers his sermons with recent stories out of our popular culture in order to be relevant and cool. It’s not the job of the Church to be either in my opinion.

The entertainment society generates a sense of desire for the good life and especially for those in the underclass whether in the inner cities or rural areas. This in turn creates a sense of fear of missing out, or FOMO, an acronym coined by bloggers and amateur psychologists in describing a negative ‘side effect’ of using social media. One can understand the power of images spewed out day in and day out of “the good life” throughout all forms of media, especially advertising, that can make one feel like they’re missing out on something that will always be out of reach.

So in the end the sin of sloth leads to both boredom and a fear of missing out, especially when society’s primary values are ones of pleasure: entertainment, recreation, and instant gratification. Everything then comes full circle in an ironic way. These values in turn encourage and promote the vices of sloth when following the word of God vanishes into oblivion and the consequences are harmful, if not devastating, for everyone.

— Tim Jones is a contributor to StubbornThings and his New Year’s resolution is to be more productively slothful.”



Late to the Sloth Party

Well I see I have been slothful again and I am late to the party…so late that it is the next year. So here goes. How does being lazy become a Deadly Sin? Just like all the rest, there is more to this than just simply being lazy, or over-eating, or getting angry, or lusting after your spouse…you get the point. I’ll ask the question again: How does sloth become deadly?

There is a pattern that links all of the Deadly Sins together as one. It certainly has to do with the level at which you partake in them, but there is more. All of these, and maybe this sloth thing in particular, point to a battle that goes on in the hearts of men; do we give in to temptation or not? We all know the “lead us not into temptation line”; but God does not lead into it at all. No, there is another power or someone else that rules over the earth at this time and it is from that power or person that we are lead into temptation.

We all by our very nature would tend to be lazy if we can. But God tells us to work. (“If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat.” — 2 Thessalonian’s 3:10.5). If we do not fight our nature and we do not work, we will die, because we will not eat. To throw this into the political realm, the Left seems to be controlled by this power or person that tempts us. And if they are not controlled by it, they sure are affective at using all of these Deadly Sins against us.

Take welfare, for example. Once you fall into the trap of being slothfully entitled, it is almost impossible to ever recover and become a productive member of society. This may not become deadly over night, but I believe it is a great start to all of the other Deadly Sins, kind of a gateway drug if you will. What are the things that every human needs (from the male perspective anyway)? Food, sex, and shelter.

Lust comes into play because #1 and #3 are taken care of for you, so why not just have sex all the time?

Gluttony, well if you do not have to pay for it, why not dig in?

Greed, because you know you are stealing from the labor of someone else, and their efforts to take care of themselves and their own family, what better definition of greed can you get than continuing to steal what you did not earn?

Pride, you are entitled to be lazy and worthless, so proud in fact you do not recognize that what you are doing as stealing; be proud of that, no shame allowed. You’ll be full of wrath for anyone that thinks that just because you are able to work you should have to work, (those haters).

Envy, that’s right, look at those rich people, they do not deserve to have such nice things, take it from them. I do not want to stand out, so let us make more slothful folks so I can feel “normal,” however I chose to define normal.

Any one of these may not seem Deadly. But all combined, in the end, our society will die and us along with it if we allow these things to continue unchecked. Not to mention the fact that these are things God has told us will lead to just this end.

— Pat Tarzwell was born conservative, runs a successful hi-tech business, and lives a red-state life in a deep blue one.



Let’s Chew the Fat About Sloth

When the topic of sloth came around, I was tempted to throw in my two cents, because I’ve had some enlightening experiences on the subject that I don’t think most people ever get to have. But I was reluctant, because in order pass on those experiences, I have to reveal some things about myself that I’m less than comfortable sharing in a public forum, even under a nom de plume.

But then Jon Hall’s essay appeared, and I felt compelled to provide another point of view.

Let’s start by getting a couple of personal items out in the open. First, I’m fat. A big ‘ol tub-o-lard. I’m not going to be on one of those Discovery Channel circus side shows, but it’s certainly my defining physical characteristic. Second, I’m crazy. I don’t hear voices, but I do suffer from debilitating mental problems. It’s a weird place to be that I don’t think you can understand until you’ve experienced it. I’m totally in touch with reality, and fully aware of when I’m being irrational, but the fear and dread associated with doing certain routine things is overwhelming.

I want to start with the fat issue, because it is similar to, and at least partly, though not totally, connected to an overall energy level, or sense of drive that a person has. And a low energy level, in the minds of many, equates to sloth – and is therefore a character flaw. And worse than that, an intentional, selfish, and correctable character flaw – if only they’d get off their fat lazy ass. And their ass is fat only because they are too lazy to diet.

I have three cousins, brothers, same mom and dad. The dad is from my side of the family. He’s one of the slimmer of my relatives, but spent a lifetime working in a steel mill and still constantly diets. Mom is thin – very thin. The three brothers are peas in a pod. They all played the same sport. They were dedicated, practiced hard, and were pretty good at it. They all were in marching band. And Boy Scouts. Nearly clones of each other in most every respect. Except the oldest and youngest were always skinny, while the middle one dwarfs me. He’s easily 400lbs.

I have two pet guinea pigs. One is kinda chubby. The other is very small. Guess which one steals food from the other. If you said that chubby pig was the glutton, you’d be quite wrong. Guess which one runs the most at play time. If you said the little one, you’d be wrong again. I’ll point out that the chubby pig is very calm, while the little one is nervous and fidgety.

If you’ve been watching TV lately, you’ll notice that Oprah is shilling for Weight Watchers. In fact, she recently purchased a substantial part of the company’s stock. She’s a Weight Watchers customer, because, obviously, she’s fat. Love her or hate her, one thing you can’t say about Oprah is that she is a sloth. Beyond what must be an incredibly level of daily activity, Oprah could certainly have a personal trainer and personal chef available at a snap of her fingers.

Clearly, there is more going on with a person’s weight than a poorly developed sense of personal responsibility. The ready availability of food without slaving hours in the kitchen, and the change of employment, and even personal chores, from physical to cerebral, are obvious factors.

Being crazy, I’ve been prescribed a number of psychoactive drugs. It’s a very trial and error process to find something that helps. Sometimes the results are not at all what is expected or desired. Side effects are ubiquitous. Two of the most common side effects of psychiatric drugs are weight gain and fatigue. In many cases, these are quite severe. I’ve known people who gained well over 100lbs. I was spared this. I’ve always been heavy, but fortunately, nothing I took made it worse. On the other hand, some of the drugs I have taken left me almost unable get out of bed and function.

I’ve always been a low energy person, and my experiences with those drugs were extreme, but familiar. I’ve always wondered how the Thomas Edisons and Oprahs and Trumps of the world did what they did. I wished I could, felt like a loser because I couldn’t, but I could never muster that kind of motivation for more than a short burst.

Then, I met Adderall, a.k.a. amphetamine salts. OMG. Now I understood. It was the most amazing and eye-opening thing I have ever experienced. I could not sit down. I could not stop working. I could not procrastinate. I would cross something off the to-do list, and instead of wanting to rest, I HAD to do another, and another. Unfortunately, I also could not sleep. And sometimes I could not tear myself away from what I was doing until my bladder was going to explode. Side effects again. It was a short lived nirvana. But man, what a rush. I’m told that this is appeal of cocaine, but I can’t personally attest.

The point is that we are all different. One man’s sloth is another man’s daily struggle. While we are not completely at the mercy of our genes and our surroundings, they are big factors. I could never be a ballerina, or a pro football player. Most ballerinas or football players likewise could never had had the success I did in my profession, before my mind snapped. My strengths, to a large degree, come from a lifelong interest and intense study in my field. But I never would have had that interest and passion in something I sucked at.

As far as sloth goes, the goal is to make the best of what you have. But until you’ve walked a mile in another man’s shoes, don’t automatically assume that he isn’t making the best of what he has. I wouldn’t wish my psychiatric problems on anyone. But to experience, even for a little while, good and bad, what other people must have been born with, has been priceless.

See Also:
The Seven Deadly Sins: Lust
The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony
The Seven Deadly Sins: Greed
The Seven Deadly Sins: Pride
The Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath
The Seven Deadly Sins: Envy • (2904 views)

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32 Responses to The Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    So who made “sloth” a Deadly Sin anyway

    I suspect sloth became a deadly sin once monastic orders became well established.

    In those days sloth did not pay as if you did not work, you generally did not eat. Even beggars had to get out and grab their corner or work the streets. But in monastic orders one was taken care of for stepping away from the world.

    Although a monk’s day was organized to the hour, I can just imagine some friar Tuck type nodding off during Matins or leaning on his hoe while gardening. Monks had food, shelter and reading material as well. So I can see slothful people slipping into the system quite easily.

    I might look into this further one day, if I feel like it.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      You’re bleeding steam from your essay, Mr. Kung. Or perhaps gathering ideas. If you’re not too slothful, I expect to see it in the next day or so.

      No doubt there is a lot of psychological projection in these various sins. I could certainly see a contemplative monk (who does often indeed work hard, as you say) feeling defensive about his relative leisure and preaching to others about the need to avoid sloth — much like the Marxist Pope we have now, who is head of a very rich Vatican, goes on and on about the need to destroy capitalism and replace it with socialism, an all for “the poor,” of course.

      Still, I’m sticking with the nagging wife theory for the origin of this sin.

  2. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    I’m a bit confused by the first two entries. Can somebody please define sloth? Words matter, so it’s not synonymous with lazy or procrastinator. I’m good at the last two, which are common, but sloth? To be a “deadly” it must be a grievous fault, not a minor character flaw.
    Swinging your arms around wildly for no good reason is a waste of energy and actually stupid. When the end of your arm connects with your neighbor’s nose, the denotation changes drastically. Such is sloth?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Tom, it sounds as if you have some thoughts on the subject. How about submitting and essay and I’ll post it with the rest?

      • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

        Thanks for the invite, Brad. I’ll try and give it some thought, but I’m awfully busy listening to my new Atmos speakers, purchased with the fruits of others’ labors.

        Seriously, I’ll gather my thoughts…

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I hadn’t heard of Atmost speakers before, Tom. Note that we’ve got a much under-used Tech Blog here. If you want to do a review of them, by all means. My nephews bought me a small belt-clippable Bluetooth speaker. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but it’s kind of cool.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Can somebody please define sloth? Words matter, so it’s not synonymous with lazy or procrastinator.

      Anyway, I haven’t seen your essay on this yet. 🙂 So I wanted to comment on it.

      Yes, words mean things. One of the fun aspects of doing The Seven Deadly Sins is eking out the meaning…or what we individually suppose that meaning may be.

      As far as sloth not being synonymous with procrastination, let’s go to some dictionary definitions. I’ll use the one on my Mac:

      Sloth: reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness
      Procrastinate: delay or postpone action; put off doing something

      Would it be fair to say that the road to Slothdom is procrastination? We can ask where the reluctance to work comes from. Certainly if someone is paying the bills for you in order not to work (Welfare), that’s one avenue. Some people just feel emotionally put upon when asked to do their fare share. I think it is deeply embedded into human nature to mooch off of other people if given even a small window of opportunity. The road to slothdom is a natural road, perhaps broken for many people only by hunger and the need to come in out of the rain.

      Many consider our Western-style Yankee-ingenuity-based, Protestant-work-ethic-based way of life to be unnecessarily strident. I disagree. I think the costs of hard work are more than made up for by the civilization we have built, and all the cool stuff we have invented to go with it. But it’s something to keep in mind.

      And it’s funny that we live in a highly mechanized society full of labor-saving devices. We have more leisure time than ever before, and the work we do is usually not the old-style back-breaking labor of old. If we want to dig a hole, we are more apt to use hydraulics or other power tools rather than break our backs with a shovel. Many people therefore work their butts off in jobs that are in regards to making labor-saving devices. Ironic, I suppose.

      I’m also of the mind that words mean things. But words can be used as weapons in at least two ways. One is the redefinition of words (a specialty of the Left). And the other is using them for personal benefit, whether using a narrow definition or just as a club. Is it fair to call someone slothful or lazy just because they’re not doing what *you* would like them to do?

      And let’s not forget the power of doing nothing. It is a conservative truth that we’d all be better off if Congress did absolutely nothing every time they were in session. The same with the president and his executive orders. Oh, if only a bitt of reluctance or laziness should infect our Feral government.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    That’s a good point about welfare engendering sloth, Timothy. Sure sounds a lot better when you call it “social justice” though.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Liberals don’t want to admit that their welfare policies encourage sloth (even though prior liberals such as FDR and Thomas Dewey were openly concerned about it) just as they will never admit that their economic politics is based on blatant appeals to envy and covetousness.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        No, they won’t admit that. But their welfare policies do at least two vital things: Bolster their sense of moral superiority and secure a reliable voting bloc. If that assessment seams overly cynical to anyone, I would suggest you haven’t been paying much attention.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This is the last of the deadly sins…unless someone wants to add an eighth. (Texting? Tattoos? Piercing?) This was free-form style. There were no notices sent out to participants, it was come one, come all (and keep your eyes on the front page).

    I prefer things to be a little playful. Smart but nor overly formal. I think we achieved that. I don’t like when things get too stuffy. With this symposium it was actually run by Timothy. After the first one, he nudged to start the second…and then whenever I would receive his essay for the subsequent ones, that’s when the ball got rolling.

    A lot of people don’t want to deal with places such as this that don’t draw neatly between the lines. But I assure you, no one will get kicked out for telling an old Bob Hope joke. (“How to you make a fruit cordial?” “Be nice to him.”)

    Speaking of Bob Hope, here’s an appropriate one-liner of his: “It’s so cold here in Washington, D.C., that politicians have their hands in their own pockets.”

  5. Lucia says:

    Sloth is deadly because it’s motivated by selfishness like all the other deadly sins. A lazy person doesn’t care about how their inaction affects others, it’s their life after all, they say, not caring that no man is an island. Laziness at it’s zenith leads to disease, hunger, irresponsibility, and parasitic living. A lazy person becomes a burden to their community, and brings shame to their family. It creates an inertia of will that requires an extreme amount of energy and conviction to overcome which is why it seldom is. It’s too hard to change, goes the excuse, so the decline continues. A little laziness is natural in the human condition but sloth is destructive.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      An excellent explanation. I will admit that house-cleaning is something I tend to think about in terms of “Why bother? It’ll get dirty again so quickly.” Eventually something needs to be done.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I think my own sloth is motivated by a lack of desire to do the task at hand. But life is full of such tasks. Yes, we need to be little butterflies at times, find our place in life where work is more of a pleasure than a chore, and burst out of our cocoons into lovely and fulfilling “self-actualization” and find that life of unicorns and rainbows. But life is still full of stuff you just have to do. Al Swearengen of the series, Deadwood, (played wonderfully by Ian McShane) once said (the language has been cleaned up…this is Deadwood, after all):

      In life, you have to do a lot of things you don’t effin want to do. Many times, that’s what the eff life is… one vile effin task after another.

      I think a lot of sloth is the result of nancy-boys and other entitlement-minded people who expect life (for whatever reason) to be handed to them on a silver platter. Well, it doesn’t usually work that way.

      But, of course, as Dennis Prager notes, it is an inherent component of human nature to try to get something for nothing. We will sloth our way to “free stuff” if allowed. We will mooch and let others do our work if allowed. Sure, there are those individuals, and probably plenty of them still, who just couldn’t live with themselves as a leech. But most could. The biggest enabler of sloth is Big Government, no matter that they call it “compassion” or “social justice.”

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    FYI: I just added Jon’s essay. Although I don’t think it was written specifically with this symposium in mind, it’s a perfect fit. Thanks, Jon. And anyone else with an essay in mind, just submit it. Click that blue graphic on the top right of the site that says “Submit an Article.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      An interesting essay indeed. I will note that although I’m obese and sedentary, I don’t consume alcohol, tobacco, or cocaine — and for that matter, I prefer potato chips to corn chips (though we buy low-sodium chips these days).

      incidentally, a minor example of the consequences of moral hazard plays a key role in Hal Clement’s brilliant novel Needle.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Tim, that’s another excellent addition to the slothful thread. I’m sure when Deana sloughs off her sloth, she may one-better us all. But until then, this is a very good read.

    And the reason I’m doing so is that I happen to think there’s nothing all that wrong with being lazy, but that it’s a matter of perspective and context when describing where and when it actually exists.

    I quite agree. I particular liked the following as your explanation:

    So I think one can be lazy, but lazy in a responsible way. As I indicated earlier, there is always something that fills one’s time when one is not working. Most seek personal pleasure whether it’s in their hobbies or other recreational activities, but there’s also the quiet time of doing nothing that can restore the soul such as reading, writing and reflecting.

    Indeed, as you mentioned, the downside of our (once) Protestant work ethic culture is freneticism — the stress, anxiety, and burn-out that can come from making materialism an idol. We certainly can benefit from some quiet time.

    And one should stress (in the other sense) that I don’t know that the Amish burn out on work. It would seem to be one of their pleasures. I don’t think it’s work, per se, that people are burning out on but, as you said, it’s perhaps the FOMO factor (fear of missing out). When you try to have it all, and it’s inevitable that people see they can’t and are missing out (if only because a friend is in Cabo at the moment and they are not), our work might become less a thing unto itself and more of a complete means to an end — mere drudgery.

    I also like your tying in of drug use. One could see drug use historically as an escape from the overwhelming pains of reality…and then addiction takes hold and drug use becomes a thing feeding itself. Nowadays I wouldn’t be surprised that drug use is simply an expression of hedonism. Why go to all the pains it takes to purchase and plan a trip to Cabo when you can go to Cabo in your mind? As you said:

    The drug epidemic throughout the world is the apotheosis of sloth. By doing only what feels good with all of one’s time can only lead to one thing in all of its manifestations, and that is hedonism.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I suspect people burn out on work when it’s something they dislike. A job you like is hardly work at all; indeed, I recall Mark Twain arguing that only manual labor counted as work. (I’m sure many an accountant would disagree, most notably Leo Bloom of The Producers.)

      Southern culture is traditionally less frenetic than damyankee culture (sorry, but after all I am a Southerner), though this is probably class-based since farmers by necessity are very hard-working — unless they have slaves to do that for them.

      Note that my blogging time (and for that matter reading time) is available because I’m retired (early, but congestive heart failure will do that to you).

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Leo Bloom of The Producers

        Thanks for my first laugh of 2016.

        “The Producers” is one of the two funniest movies I have ever seen. I can’t recall the other. I think it had to do with a 6’4″ rabbit and a town lush.

  8. Timothy Lane says:

    I like Pat’s comparison of welfare to the Seven Deadly Sins in combination. I also like his point that welfare serves as a trap, which in fact has been one of my concerns for a few decades now. It can be so difficult to get off welfare, partly because it’s so easy to stay on. But the welfarite (leaving aside the cheats) never really gets anywhere. Of course, neither do most of the rest of us, but at least we have a chance.

  9. Anniel says:

    That article on sloth by Anonymous has been kicking around in my head all morning. I have thought of the matter of weight a lot. I was a tiny child, all of my relatives criticized my being so small. I never gained much weight, UNTIL MY THYROID WAS REMOVED. Since then even the doctors have been awful to me, you must lose 10, 20 or more pounds. If you mention “glandular problems” everyone rolls their eyes and gives some version of “Likely story.”

    If you add mental problems that create difficulties that keep one from performing the most basic of tasks and you know you are being criticized, what does that do to you?

    I, for one, would like to thank Anonymous for delving this deeply into his personal issues. It was brave indeed.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I seem to recall my sister being tested and having a low-thyroid problem a few years back. I’ve wondered what my own situation would be given that I have to be careful about sodium, and iodized salt is usually the main dietary source of iodine. Of course, my problem with obesity long predates any recent chemical disturbances, though congestive heart failure worsened it until I was put on diuretics (and low sodium).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Here here. The line between what is purely physical and what is behavioral/moral is often a blurry one. At one time they burned witches who might simply have been wholly and truly mentally ill (schizophrenic, whatever).

      The pendulum has swung and now *everything* is a physical ailment and so people continue to stuff their faces with Cheetos and talk about their “glandular problem.” But clearly there are people with glandular problems.

      So we do what we do here and get beyond the dishonest, beyond the simplistic, and into the sometimes messy and complicated real.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Second, I’m crazy. I don’t hear voices, but I do suffer from debilitating mental problems.

    In my experience, Mr. (or Mrs.) Anonymous, we’re all a little crazy. And the craziest ones of all are the ones who don’t know this. That you are aware of some of your own maladies seems to me to be a very healthy sign.

    and fully aware of when I’m being irrational, but the fear and dread associated with doing certain routine things is overwhelming.

    You are not alone in this regard. I suffer a little from that, depending upon what “routine thing” one may be talking about. And I certainly have no desire to diminish the severity of your fear and dread. But in my experience, all people have comfort zones. It’s the damnedest thing. As my younger brother was telling me yesterday, his wife can face down any bureaucrat, any red-tape, any baloney from supposed “superiors.” But she freaks out if there is a spider in the bathtub. And I’m not making that up.

    Some people have small comfort zones, and I think that’s what you’re talking about. But I think it might surprise you how many people have fairly large discomfort zones.

    My family on my mother’s side were all pretty large. I don’t know why. In their youth they were all lumberjacks who later became soldiers in WWII. But as they aged, they drank and ate and that cycle became their way of life.

    Clearly, there is more going on with a person’s weight than a poorly developed sense of personal responsibility. The ready availability of food without slaving hours in the kitchen, and the change of employment, and even personal chores, from physical to cerebral, are obvious factors.

    I quite agree with that. Mankind likely has spent most of its history expending enormous amounts of time and energy just to get enough to eat. Now it is the reverse. We have to work hard not to get fat.

    I’ve always wondered how the Thomas Edisons and Oprahs and Trumps of the world did what they did.

    I have no friggin’ clue either. Add Winston Churchill in that mix although the popular perception of him is as a rather plump man in his later years. Even so, Mr. Kung would tell you that his weight did not reflect the level of his activity. He likely was doing more at 80 than most 20 year olds do…not in terms of hard physical labor, for sure, but in terms of doing things, thinking things, arranging things, being involved, and starting and finishing all sorts of projects.

    The point is that we are all different. One man’s sloth is another man’s daily struggle. While we are not completely at the mercy of our genes and our surroundings, they are big factors. I could never be a ballerina, or a pro football player.

    I think that’s another great point. That said, it’s become obvious that our culture has become bloated and fat. I don’t think even 3% of these people are suffering from mental health or glandular issues. I think they simply eat too much.

    But a good point you bring up regarding the perception of “fat = sloth.” Clearly that is quite variable. You can be fat and still be doing a lot of stuff. Not climbing mountains, perhaps, but still doing a lot of stuff, including one’s job and taking care of one’s kids.

    The message I take away from this (having often been a member of the Slobocracy) is to lose some weight if you can (combined with better nutrition). You’ll feel better. You’ll be healthier. What one then shouldn’t do is expect any kind of Nirvana, temporary or otherwise. And I think people who obsess over weight loss perhaps are putting more expectations into that weight loss than they should. You can be happy and productive whether you are fat or thin.

    Anyway, thank you Mr. (or Mrs.?) Anonymous for the essay. You’ve likely been following (I hope) some of my own thoughts here on this site. And you definitely do not sound like Charles Krauthammer. You have sensitively and boldly brought to us a personal story told with eloquence and honesty. I’d prefer to never hear about our evil president again and have little but essays like this (and movie and book reviews).

    Good luck with your psychological stuff. Life can be a bitch. And you note that it comes and goes. But, boy, when it goes you sound saner than 99% of the people out there.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      There is one of those nice Churchill anecdotes involving a meeting with Bernard Law Montgomery. The latter boasted that he didn’t drink or smoke and was 100% fit. Churchill admitted that he overindulged in food, tobacco, and alcohol — but insisted he was 200% fit. I wouldn’t rule it out.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I don’t doubt for a minute that Churchill might have been 200% fit as defined by “being active, doing meaningful things, accomplishing meaningful things.” The modern mindset tends to fixate on whatever the latest fad for “fit” is defined as. They’re now on this stupid “gluten” fad now. Before it was low-carb (and I know people who then justified eating a lot of fried bacon as part of a low-carb diet).

        Churchill (and others like him) give weight to the idea that those actually living life robustly, thoughtfully, and productively are the most fit. He happened to combine longevity with that fitness.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Churchill was a dynamo. He had so many irons in the fire, at any one time, that he could have branded a herd with them.

      He was a very good painter into his later years,

  11. Timothy Lane says:

    The blog site Personal Liberty has an interesting article by John Myers linking Obama to the 7 Deadly Sins as a cause for obamaitis. (Actually, an “itis” usually refers to a site being inflamed — e.g., appendicitis, meningitis, bronchitis. An “osis” or “asis” can refer either to the cause of the infection — e.g., brucellosis, shigellosis, filariasis — or the nature of an illness — e.g., elephantiasis.) He errs in calling Obama a Muslim, though this would be accurate if he’s speaking culturally rather than theologically. The link is:

  12. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    For any Hieronymus Bosch fans, here is his painting of the “Seven Deadly Sins” which is on display in the Prado in Spain during a special exhibit of the artist’s works.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      My book of 1000 Masterpieces of European Painting from 1300 to 1850 includes that one. I also have a book of Bosch art, which no doubt includes it as well.

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