Musings of the Muse – Sloth – a deadly sin

Written down as one of the seven deadly sins in the Holy Book of the Christians, that is, the Bible, Sloth is known by everyone to be an essentially potent malevolent force.

Sloth is characterised as an unwillingness to work, the desire to remain in a state of sheer inertia. To put it briefly, sloth is another word for laziness. We all know that a false friend is more dangerous than an open enemy. The same surely goes for sloth, or, if we prefer to use its more common name ‘laziness’. Laziness induces in us a state of inactivity. It is not that we do not have important matters to attend to and thus the state of indolence. However that reluctance to do anything remains as obstinate as ever and persists. We simply while away our time in futile activities, paying little heed to the fact that Time is an important element in our existence. Once it is gone, there is absolutely no way we can retrieve it. There is indeed no turning back the clock. Yet in spite of being fully aware of this notion and instead of being involved in meaningful activities, we spend our time watching television, listening to music or even oversleeping.

Now, it is not implied here that watching television or listening to music is essentially void. On the contrary, it can be quite relaxing. In addition television is both informative and enlightening. Nevertheless, it is imperative to ensure that priorities have been first attended to and only then should we be allowed to indulge in these moods of distraction. A state of laziness is, undeniably, utterly meaningless. One can aptly draw the comparison to a pile of unwashed utensils in the sink, yet we do not wash them. What is worse is that instead of doing the proper thing, that is, washing the utensils, we leave the tap on and allow the water to flow freely. It is all, we must agree, a waste.

It is not farfetched to compare laziness to an invited guest, whose company, nevertheless, is initially very pleasant. Indeed that company is so pleasant that “he” is given full license and the latter, with impunity, does as he pleases. What happens finally is that the guest has taken control over everything, so much so that we are ultimately powerless and helpless in his grip. He is the inoffensive tendril which has twined itself round a tree and then turned into a creeper impossible to remove. The clutch is so tight and taut that it becomes stifling but inescapable. We are left with Hobson’s choice, that is, we must yield and submit to it. In the throes of laziness, one skips homework, is inattentive and listless. Procastination becomes another habit indulged in by the lazybones. They are always in a state of lethargy and they become apathetic.

A person who dwells in a sluggish state complacently, will be unable to do anything, even if he desires to do so. His willpower will be found sadly lacking. We must make no mistake about it and as sure as the sun rises in the East, laziness brings about our ruin. The story of the hare and the tortoise is well known to everybody. The hare, although the very emblem of speed itself, fails to make it to the finishing line. By contrast, the tortoise although reputed and held in contempt for its slowness, by dint of perseverance makes it first to the finishing line.

Therefore we come to the sanguine realisation that we all carry a little of the hare in us, that is the potential of achieving greatness in life. However, let us make sure to shed this inherent laziness and instead be as determined as the tortoise. When we put in the required effort in any task we undertake, we are sure to meet with success. So let us, from this very moment, shed any languid mood, let us be affirmative and our life cannot but be one of happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment – and why not glory?

* Published in print edition on 6 May 2016

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