The Instigator
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The Contender
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Laziness is a virtue.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 951 times Debate No: 42142
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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Laziness or sloth is, in balance, a virtue and a positive trait in that it's advantages exceed its disadvantages.

Since either side of the argument can be adequately argued - I will take either side.

Whoever will accept this debate must choose their side in round 1. Then they will agree to:

a- present their initial argument in round one and forfeit round 4, or

b - they may choose to only declare their side in round one without argument and argue through round 4.

Feel free to define parameters however you wish upon acceptance in round 1 although you cannot narrow the scope as rigidly as single belief systems or classes of behavior.


I declare that, in the majority of cases, laziness could not be a virtue in as far as it is defined by inaction. Laziness in this case under the commonly accepted definition - "The quality of unwillingness to work; lack of action"
Debate Round No. 1


I will attempt to avoid the argument that innovation is driven often by a desire to avoid or reduce labor. I will also hold back from the assertion that industry does more harm than good, and that its antithesis is proper. Although these paths are obvious, they are too long to walk down at this time. I am too lazy for that.

In order to redeem the idea of laziness, I must first distance it from inaction. Laziness is unwillingness, not refusal, to work. Physical labor and effort will be the line drawn as to the aim of lazy avoidance, and the wheels that keep spinning in the head or the efforts of digestion will not offend my lazy virtue.

Laziness reduces both the quantity of effort and the need for attention paid to those efforts, affording opportunity for reflection, meditation, socialization and an infinite variety of passive, yet enriching activities.

Laziness offers time for appreciation. Even the hard-working laborer feels satisfaction AFTER the work is done - while they rest.

In fact, most of the human experience beyond the calloused hands is diminished or unnoticed while we toil. What is obvious to the observer is not as evident to the nose pressed so diligently to the grindstone.


Very well. Then, I will avoid pointing out that such paths could have lent legitimacy to your arguments, and that your unwillingness to pursue such paths, which stems from laziness, is evident of your lack of desire. I will further neglect to point out that desires and competitiveness fuels innovation, in pursuit of victory. I need not do such things, for it is self-apparent to any that logically processes your hypothetical arguments.

It is pertinent to point out that mental fortitude is a thing that exists. While not as easily observable as the endurance of the body, "the lack of ability to focus, create" is a phenomenon characterized by depression. Therefore, it would be narrowing the scope of "laziness" far too much in defining it as the unwillingness to work physically. Rather, I posit that "effort" "both the mental and physical- be the main point of contention in this debate.

The Instigator is tying the merits of efforts down with negative connotations. In their third argument, they indicate that laziness facilitates enjoyable activities- a claim which is provably false. Accepting that every human are different with their own preferences of relaxation and skills, it follows that every task have a different "minor or major- degree of difficulty for each persons. Laziness of the body and the mind had, and no doubt will continues to, lost opportunities- many which rarely, if ever, come upon a person again. Such lack of initiative could not be called a virtue.

Incidentally, I must say that I agree with the Instigator claim that laziness reduces both the quantity and quality of efforts, and thus tasks, which are akin to throwing away one"s own key for fear of having to open new doors.

Observe the keywords: satisfaction, AFTER, and while they rest. This will be elaborated upon on my final argument.

In fact, most of the human experience beyond the calloused hands is diminished or unnoticed while we toil. What is obvious to the observer is not as evident to the nose pressed so diligently to the grindstone.

Indeed, the sums of human knowledge are fruits of both our workers and thinkers. For instance, take philosophy and their premiere poster boy- Socrates, and the Socratic method. Aristotle attributed to Socrates the discovery of the method of definition and induction, which he regarded as the essence of the scientific method. Similarly, take technology and Leonardo Da Vinci. Regarded as one of the most brilliant man of his time, his works are plagued by his legendary tendency to procrastinate. People weeps, thinking of what he could have done " had he not been so lazy.

"Laziness offers time for appreciation. Even the hard-working laborer feels satisfaction AFTER the work is done - while they rest." That, Instigator, is the very definition of respite and achievement. One"s recharging of expended energy, and the contentment of a hard day"s toils- which, as have been pointed out, doesn't preclude mental exercises.

In summation, the Instigator would muddle the definition of "laziness" with that of "achievement" and "respite".

In order to argue that Laziness is a virtue, it must be able to stands on its own. The Instigator have not been able to provide examples to that effect.
Debate Round No. 2


For the contender to consider all effort, both physical and mental, as work is a convenience. He is then able to attribute to work all that is positive of mind and body and vilify any who desire to reduce or avoid it.

Of the effort that it takes for the contender to think, I cannot say. But for most, mental activities require only slightly more energy than sleep and a fraction of the energy expended in physical labor. But, if it is arduous, then it shall be called work! So I shall concede mental effort, expressly to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result, as work.

And it is precisely outside of the burdensome realm of work that inspiration is found. Archimedes was taking a bath. Newton was daydreaming under an apple tree. Descartes conceived of the scientific method while napping, as did Einstein and his Special Theory of Relativity. Our greatest strides have occurred during our laziest moments. Who can find fault with the work of Di Vinci, in his laziness? The people that weep at his failures do not recognize that, by refusing to be limited by the mundane work proposed by Florentine patrons, he contributed more with his doodles than countless who burn the midnight oil.

To argue that increased work production furthers innovation or achieves anything of value is a superstition more often advocated by those concerned with the quantity of labor from others. The hard work that built our nation has been compelled by a survival need more than desire to achieve. Worse, this has often been slave labor, first with chains and then with a wage, people who have been fooled into believing that "the Lord loves a working man," but no sure, tangible reward. In fact, to establish value based on work demeans the individual. The lazy person sees the folly in being a cog in this machine.

Laziness is not inaction; it seeks to avoid work, to do only the minimum required. Laziness is in a long term monogamous relationship with efficiency. The lazy person sees that goals are better achieved through the compounded small contributions of many people. For the individual to work harder there will be no appreciable effect. When masses cooperate, each to doing their small measure, great things are possible.

Contrary to the contenders premise, laziness maximizes our ability to capitalize on opportunity. How many times have we had to pass on something because we had to work? Laziness affords more freedom and a less encumbered attitude. A lazy person"s plate is clear to act on an opportunity and is motivated to act only on what which is truly advantageous. Frequently the opportunities that present themselves while we work are chances to do more work and are no advantage to the individual at all.

Laziness is both the compass and the engine moving us toward freedom in service of a higher purpose. Because of this quality, we are open to inspiration, value efficiency and cooperation and do not willingly give our minds and bodies over to others for purposes not our own.

In that way, laziness stands on it's own merit as a virtue.


The truth, bitter through it maybe sometimes, is no vilification. One couldn"t fault another of pointing out the harmful effects of addictive drugs nor governance through dictatorship. It is the duty of those who seeks truth to dispel aversive notions.

It is within the very definition of the word itself that works are done toward a goal, and accomplished through effort. I"m glad to see that the Instigator would see the apparent truth.

It is curious indeed that the Instigator would provide examples such as Archimedes, Newton, Descartes and Einstein. Even were I to bar pointing out the fantastic nature of such archetypical tales, these people only gains inspiration after a lifetime of laying solid groundwork, borne of long nights of study and efforts. In the Instigator"s own words, they are committing a "mental effort, expressly to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result" a.k.a. working. It is not those great thinkers" desire to shriek from work that sparks them on their way into the history books, but their efforts. Even were they to obtain inspiration from their moment of respite- which, once more, must be noted to be divorced from "the desire to do the minimum required of them"- the vision floating in the sea of neuroses wouldn"t have translated into the tangible world with efforts. The saying goes "Rome wasn"t built in a day"- even if the hypothetical city planner simply, miraculously, dreams up the city with no prior knowledge of architecture, it is only through long years of toils that it the seat of ancient empire comes to be. Indeed, it is pure folly, a "glitch" of perception that we would associate the fa"ade of "inspiration" and "result" while neglecting the efforts put into them to make it a reality. Creators would know, often the finished product is far different from the vision- and many times, for the best. It is through the journey toward the far goal of perfection that we make great strides, through sweat and arching backs that we unlock the secrets of the universe. To so carelessly disregard efforts is naught but a flight of fantasy, and reeks of excuses used to pats oneself in the back " "sure, I have not made my legacy, but one day a light bulb will pops into existence atop my head!"

I must further notes that it is in poor taste that the Instigator would wield the rare genius, pioneers of their fields, and uses them haphazardly to promote the cause of procrastination. One could only imagine them rolling in their graves at the insult. Indeed, I shall not burden the Instigator with tiresome repetition of the virtually uncountable examples of thinkers, makers, and workers who spent their lifetime increasing the sum knowledge of humanity- such people could be seen everywhere, with the mere turning of one"s neck.

The Instigator once more seeks to discredit those of pragmatic, austere tastes. An exceptional person could not function in a vacuum environment, devoid of society. A society could not function efficiently without its people doing their parts The persons who do the minimum to get by could learn to be content, that much is understandable. To argue that they would achieve lasting legacy, or outstrip those who would strives to see the fruits of their labors is preposterous. Imagine a marathon: Those who runs would get there faster than those who walk and those who support each other would get to the end together. Those who would just plod along, day dreaming of shortcuts and rocket boost to glory would just be left behind.

I am not too proud to ask for clarification, and therefore must points out the incomprehensibility of the Instigator"s fifth argument. The Instigator elucidation as to why the minimum plus minimum would yield greater results than the maximum plus maximum would be greatly appreciated.

The Instigator"s refutations are merely arguing the semantics. Seeing as there is no citable information as regards the number of opportunities missed because one is working versus the number of opportunities missed when one is just idly playing solitaires, waiting until their allotted time in the office flies by, I will leave this in the capable hands of the Instigator, and the readers, to answer from their experiences. Incidentally, mayhaps the Instigator meant to classes the opportunistic and the lazy together? That would seem to mean that the true virtue here is "the willingness to seize opportunity", which is rather empirically not laziness.

Laziness is nothing more than a comfort blanket. Often conflated with respite, one nevertheless must leave its hold, lest one be rooted in the cage of dreams, forever incapable of open the door and taking the steps on the golden bricked roads to their destiny.

The only people who never fail are those who never try, and to cling to laziness is to embrace the fear of failure.
Debate Round No. 3


Mr_Fenderson forfeited this round.


It's truly unfortunate that the Instigator would be unavailable for the duration mandated for their replies.

I'd like to thank them for the debate, especially on such an ill seen topic.

I believed I have adequately enough disproves that Laziness is a virtue, and would like to forfeit this round for fairness' sake.

Thank You.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Cataphract 3 years ago
So. This debate was concluded, done to the end or otherwise. Could any interested vote as to the merits of the arguements, one way or another?

I wishes to understand the your thoughts, reader.
Posted by Cataphract 3 years ago
I will be taking this, as the side arguing against Laziness. Further, I will present my arguments in refutations to your own, and will argue through round 4.
No votes have been placed for this debate.