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In Christopher Morley’s essay, On Laziness, Morley analyzes the importance of philosophical laziness in society, observing the “bustling man” and condemning his behavior. Morley’s use of personal and historical anecdotes covey’s the unorthodox idea that laziness can provide happiness and purpose in life. In the third paragraph Morley states, “we were born with a certain fund of energy”, and that “hustling” produces nothing more than “tribulation”. This bold statement provides the basis for Morley’s argument that only the “happy man” experiences happiness and fully benefits form life. The fundamental core of laziness revolves around unmotivated citizens and can be characterized as a “lack of effort”. Morley approaches laziness as the destination in life, not a detour. Philosophical laziness, a product of “stubborn material” in life, provides liberation from the monotony of life through alleviation of responsibility.
Morley introduces the unknown poet, following paragraph six, through anecdote, explaining how he is “one of the greatest poets in this country”. By introducing a relatively successful individual, Morley builds his credibility within the audience, ethos. The unnamed poet is the manifestation of “philosophical laziness”, the true liberation of man. The man began his life in a “hustling way”, and he was “always too busy to enjoy himself”. The poet soon felt enlightenment and understood what he had to do. The man figured, to achieve true liberation from responsibility, he had to begin solving his “problems”, and observing the universe through an intellectual perspective. Morley’s strategic selection of this specific anecdote provided credibility to his claim as well as creates an emotion effect on the audience.
Doctor Johnson, one the world’s “greatest philosophers”, according to Morley, was lazy. The Doctor was nonetheless, respected. Once one receives a “reputation for complete, immovable, and reckless indolence”, the world expands, metaphysically, in the eyes of the enlightened. Morley continues to expand on Doctor Johnson’s laziness, providing an interesting historical anecdote. The idea of the modern dictionary is a product of philosophical laziness, as explained by Morley. Doctor Johnson only began recording information, informally, due to “laziness”. This systematic informational script eventually evolved into the modern dictionary. Morley’s strategic use of historical anecdotes, especially revolving a “doctor”, continues to build his credibility within the audience, increasing the chance his readers will commit to claim.
Throughout Christopher Morley’s essay, On Laziness, Morley appeals to the emotional and logical perspective of the audience, claiming philosophical laziness provides true liberation from responsibility. Morley utilizes historical and personal anecdotes to convey the importance of laziness within society. Thus, according to Morley, true happiness lies in the “philosophically slothful” mindset, and those who can differentiate between being lazy and philosophically lazy achieve authentic happiness. Happiness is the sub-conscious goal of man; once man achieves true serenity, the mind and soul become liberated and man is truly free.
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