Being Lazy Keeps You Alive (If You Are a Lion, That Is)

It seems counter-intuitive, but it makes sense: Lions spend almost 80% of their day sleeping., which means they spend less than 20% hunting. Odd to think of laziness as a survival trait, but Jacobs makes a good point in The Nature of Economies, that without some way to limit how much they hunt, lions could easily wipe out an entire ecosystem. It worries me then, that I think of humans as being different from other animals in that we can be trained to ignore our instincts. This give us an edge, lets a firefighter do their job, and in general makes us what we are. Are we overriding all the instincts that keep our environment safe from us? It sure seems like it.

Lakeman’s Regenerative Community Design made for some interesting watching. I liked seeing the comparisons between the strictly planned grids versus the organic, almost “grown” communities that follow the land. Sometimes I feel that as a species we try to make life fit into neat rows, and seeing cities designed on a grip really drives the point home. Interestingly, I used to see this a lot when I would play Minecraft online: players would level massive areas of land, tearing down literal mountains in-game so they could have a nice flat area to build an orderly city. I loved building castles, with walls and towers, but would almost always try to fit the structure to the terrain. Something about a structure that curves with the land its built on always looks better. I think this same problem plagues us in city and community planning: we try to find the pattern that “works” and then cookie-cutter it, and try and shoehorn it in everywhere else, expecting the same success.

Closing thoughts: In class we talked about changing our society to be more democratic, and more sustainable. While that might eventually work in the US, I’m not sure how you would do the same in places where order is broken down to the point of having literal warlords rule areas by force. Attempts to remove them via embargo would probably end poorly. Do we have a middle phase, where military force is used to “set the stage” before being retired permanently?


2 thoughts on “Being Lazy Keeps You Alive (If You Are a Lion, That Is)

  1. I am willing to accept any way for laziness to be seen as a positive survival trait! I think once hunter gatherers turned to agriculture this “laziness” actually hurt their survival since agriculture is such a labor intensive system. Ever since then this idea of laziness being a check and balance on our environmental destruction seems to have gone away. Being productive turned into the new survival trait.
    Also, for your idea of military force “setting the stage”, I am not sure if you mean the United States going in to “set the stage” for other countries. In the past, “setting the stage” in other countries of Latin America has led to horrible economic, social, and political consequences. United States interference occurs for a multitude of reasons but the overlying theme seems to be “we know what is best for them”. That is not always the case so we should be wary about just letting the United States use military force to promote democracy in other countries. (some cases of us trying to implement democracy has led to having dictators/warlords in power in these countries)


  2. The analogies you used to describe humans were so great. In reality, there has been a lost in instinct due to what has been trained to us. It is so difficult to distinguish what is correct and what is not correct anymore. Although we would want order to come down, I still ask myself the same indifferences you might ask. It is so interesting to see how diving into these hard issues challenge our entire thought process.


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