Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sloth vs. rest

I've been doing some reading yesterday and today that has brought back to mind a question I've been wrestling with for, oh, most of my adult life.

How can you tell the difference between sloth and rest?

When is the desire to "just sit down" a true need for rest, and when is it the first step down the yucky path of sloth and ennui?

I've never found the answer to this. Sometimes it seems like there is no concrete answer - that each day and each occasion must be treated differently. But if that is so, there must be some way to discern what you're dealing with on each occasion, and I'm not sure what that is.

I'd love to get some thoughts from all you readers. Comment, please? I'm sure I can't be the only one who has thought about this.


slowlane said...

I've thought about this TONS. I even wrote a paper because I was thinking about it.

The main thing I have concluded is that rest makes you ready to tackle the job later or allows you to take pleasure in a job well done. Sloth just makes the whole situation worse.

Emily said...

Can I read your paper?

I think your conclusion makes sense...but how do you tell the difference ahead of time? It is easy to look back on the day and say "hmm, I really shouldn't have watched those three movies in a row - that was slothful!" But when you're deciding whether to sit down in the first place, how do you know if it is rest or sloth?

slowlane said...

I'm not sure if I will be able to dig up the paper, but when I figure out how, I'll send it along.

I think that in the same way that you get to know your body and it's need for food (and what is too much) you can get to know it's need for rest. Sure, you might err on one side or the other, but hopefully, as you take stock of what was healthy and what wasn't, you will be able to stay truer to what is healthy.

I think the main problem is that a lot of people just don't know what rest is.

Linds said...

I think in your case, any non-activity is more likely to qualify for rest than sloth, my busy friend!

Seriously though, I think that rest reenergizes, but sloth encourages you to remain slothful. That's what I've found with myself anyway. When I'm rested, I'm ready to get out and do something. When I'm being slothful, I have no desire to do anything at all. :) I think the key is to know when to make yourself rest so that you don't get so exhausted that good rest turns into sloth.