Professor decries negative perception of 'laziness'
The chairman of the Department of Higher Education at the University of Denver recently wrote a paper that praises laziness as a "virtue" and excoriates neoliberalism and the "corporate university" as responsible for laziness's negative perception.
I love these stories because they give us a glimpse into the massive decline of critical thinking in the American academy, where ever expanding efforts to destroy common sense and logic have become commonplace. The "publish or perish" paradigm now includes the idea that unless you publish something that destroys or seeks to destroy the traditional, you are ignored.
The professor, Ryan Evely Gildersleeve, twists himself into Gordian knots of logic to make his case.
Ryan Evely Gildersleeve contended that laziness is a "political stance" that can be made into a vehicle for social justice, if applied to the social science's emerging theory of "postqualitative inquiry that seeks to disrupt normative explanations of the world."
Gildersleeve classified "four overlapping yet somewhat distinct versions of laziness that form the basis of the lazy inquiry," shaping the "behind-the-scenes virtue of postqualitative inquiry" [–] namely[,] political, practical, artistic, and philosophical laziness.
Together, "they form an entangled web of laziness more so than individual pathways to lazy activity," he wrote in the article published Jan 9 in Qualitative Inquiry, a peer-reviewed social sciences journal.
Gildersleeve created a chart demonstrating the insight that can be gained by lazy actions. For instance, the lazy activity of taking a walk "doesn't mean anything: a walk can just be a walk. So, therefore, any interview segment can just be words from an interview segment."
It's impossible to respond intelligently to that gibberish. My brain hurts just from trying to process the unprocessable.
"Admiring athleticism" can lead to pondering, "does the soccer ball kick back?," and while practicing yoga, one may consider, "I should call Aaron back."
The lazy act of "generating a list of potential titles of papers I might one day never write" leads to the following sequence: "Concepts. Titles are concepts. Papers are extensions of these concepts. Not all concepts find a line of flight. Not all lines of flight become assemblages. Not all assemblages deterritorialize/reterritorialize. Concepts."
Remember: this poor, demented, ignorant soul runs the department at U.D. responsible for educating teachers.
"Lazy" activities such as hiking or reading poetry boost creativity, wrote Gildersleeve, but "the neoliberal imperative of modern academic cares little for such practice, fearful it slows down the processes of production."
Gildersleeve described an ideal "academicus otiosus" – Latin for lazy academic – who "recaptures and valorizes lazy into political action," who can harness postqualitative inquiry to refute "the neoliberal condition of academe."
"The lazy, the leisurely, and the idle are to be rendered into the virtuous," he wrote.
All those years of sleeping in and being late to work, vegetating in front of the TV, procrastinating about a work project, not working out, and flipping to the end of that mystery novel to see how it turns out – little did I know how virtuous that was.
In fact, according to the professor, the Vatican should already be preparing a place for me in the hall of saints.
But the professor has a point – at least, in the academy. When hard work is considered "racist," why shouldn't laziness be considered a virtue?