The reason that I am interested in this, is that I think that it could be used as a model for the treatment of laziness.
What do we mean by a religious belief?
A religious belief usually consists of a set of doctrines. The doctrines often revolve around a “received” holy text (like the Bible), and specific statements which are believed to summarize the group’s understanding of the text. Also there are specific miraculous events from the past which are held to have actually occurred. Most groups also have specific future prophecies. And then there are beliefs about the function and capabilities of the clergy, or religious leaders.
One example of a religious belief is Papal Infallibility. Unlike questions of miraculous events in the past or future prophecy, the question of whether or not the Pope is infallible seems like a better candidate for testing. So what happens when a Catholic person sees evidence that questions this doctrine of Papal Infallibility?
Here is the core idea: a person becomes receptive to change his religious beliefs when one or more foundational doctrines becomes suspect or verifiably false. When that happens, a person becomes more receptive to take a step back, and re-assess the entire structure. If there is a way to preserve the structure (by, for example, “re-understanding” things), then people are often inclined to preserve the structure, or, in this case, maintain their religious beliefs. I think that that happens because it is painful, disorienting, embarrassing and scary to change religious beliefs. But, if the foundation is too heavily shaken, at some point people just “jump ship”, or, in this case, broadly reshape their religious views.
What does this have to do with a treatment for laziness?
Laziness seems to be a product of one’s “world view.” A world view is similar to a religious belief, since it consists of multiple, “foundational statements”. Taken together, these foundational statements enable the “believer” to make sense out of the world. These beliefs also tend to guide the person’s behavior, since they act as guideposts along the road. At any given point in the day, these world-view guideposts can be checked to help the person to see where he is at, and which way to go. This is true both in the case of a economic world-view, a social world-view and, of course, a religious world-view.
So what might a lazy person’s world view look like? The key is that these guideposts (or beliefs) would help the person to make sense out of the world. We should also expect that a person’s observed behavior is consistent with their core beliefs. Lets look at some examples of beliefs that a lazy person might have:
- All Americans have a fundamental right to a job that pays a “living wage.”
- There is no rush for me to become self-supporting, since I can always rely on the government to keep me from becoming homeless.
- The system is set-up to keep the “little guy” down.
- The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
- It is impossible to succeed in this town.
- There are no jobs out there, anyway.