TED Conversations

Richard Maiorano

Conservation, RSPB

This conversation is closed.

Is the idleness of modern day people killing the society we know? If so, why do you think we are becoming more idle?

I recently read an article regarding an increase in premature mortality rates due to an increase in human idleness. Lord Coe had stated that, "Physical inactivity accounts for nearly one fifth of premature deaths in the UK." Why do you think we are becoming more idle? Why did this begin and where will it take us? Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks

Share:
  • thumb
    Feb 5 2014: Technology and automation may have gone too far beyond it's original 'brief' of being a servant to humanity. It's quickly becoming the master.

    Mental and physical idleness are unfortunate products of over-automation.
    • thumb
      Feb 11 2014: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Over-automation is a key factor as it makes our lives far easier. As processes get easier we tend to take them for granted, which unfortunately allows us to abuse them. Fast food is a perfect example of this, as the effort and creativity that would be instilled in making our own food is removed from the situation, leading us to take fast food for granted and, as a society, abuse the availability and ease of access to fast food.

      Fast food is just an example, I’m not trying to jibe those who consume fast food products as that would be hypocritical of me.

      The process of completing random tasks is becoming easier, which therefore leads to many of us to using less brain and muscle power, making many of us more idle.
    • thumb
      Feb 16 2014: What a profound comment !
      We still need to learn about what we are, before creating artificial crutches for jumping over missing experience.

      The original design given to us by nature (minds and bodies) cannot be improved by gadgets and mindless "fixing".
  • thumb
    Feb 5 2014: convenience kills - we are living in the Age of Convenience. we are not slaves to machine but we are suckers for a short-cut. that's essentially why digital devices are largely pointless frivolities that generally feed our vanity *see selfie, top left*
  • thumb
    Feb 6 2014: Our artificial environment offering to us conveniences of all sorts deprives us from nature's given awareness and intuition.

    No matter how "vigorously" we use the gym our very minds have a great tendency to become idle.

    Our needs including food, entertainment, responsibilities etc, are so artificially pre-selected for us by gigantic industries and social/cultural "leaders" that we have no personal sense of what we would love to Really do or have for ourselves.

    We are living half-dead.
  • thumb
    Feb 5 2014: Cable TV, Internet, Fastfood, Industrially produced(Manufactured) food, Urban (more than 50% of world population now live in urban areas) environmental degradation, tensions and stress related to work are to be blame combine with the attitude to life and death, decision making and individual will power.
  • Feb 10 2014: Maybe it also has something to do with the death of community. People no longer feel any connection or responsibilty to the rest of the people around them. The act of contributing to thecommunity has become equated with holding a job and once yyou've worked your 40+ hours you don't owe anybody anything else. Contribution to community has been devalued and entertaining ourselves reigns supreme.
  • thumb
    Feb 5 2014: It's a whole chain of reasons.

    Economy problems follows unemployment. Unemployment request internet jobs or any kind of 'sitting jobs' , at home. Also, economy represents those jobs as good, good paid, creative. Then, sitting way of life is followed by unhealthy food (that causes obesity, healthy problems and addiction). Then, almost every kind of physically job is replaced by machines, automated. Automation is one of the reason of unemployment and dehumanization of work, also idleness.... it is the chain of reasons.
  • Feb 5 2014: Neat observation.

    It takes less to survive, more jobs are in front of a computer, more entertainment options from the seated position, environmentally controlled homes, and fast food would be a start.
  • thumb
    Feb 11 2014: Richard, Interesting question. I would have to ask why the idleness occurred. If it is because we are becoming a welfare society ... perhaps because of the dwindling work force .... in the USA the hours for a work week has been reduced from 40 to 30 in the Obamacare law so we work less ... jobs have went overseas and small businesses are failing ... we in the USA are also seeing the Baby Boomers retire and becoming less involved in physical activity and the mortality rate going up.

    Social programs have allowed people to make more money setting at home than being employed. A young girl on the Ophra show has never married and has four kids and gets the equivalent of $80,000 a year in goods and services. She said .. why would she ever want to get a job and plans to have more kids and never marry to make more money keep health insurance and food and services coming in.

    IMO we need to re-establish the work ethic ... critically analyze the social programs ... and instill pride and ethics in the society in general .. reduce the size and involvement of the government in our lives.

    Argument can be made both for and against using specifics .... this is a general observation and should be viewed as such.

    Be well. Bob.
  • Feb 11 2014: I have always said the key attribute of the human race is laziness and technology has made it easier to be lazy. The other side of the coin is that we have become a society that is waiting for someone else to do the work or do the hard decision. If it does not work, we throw rocks but are unwilling to do the work and make the decision ourselves.
  • thumb
    Feb 7 2014: sorry...I will have to disagree with our observation as .incorrect. The reason I say this because in primitive cultures many people sit around for most of the day(not prison populations repaying their IMF debts). This is why their culture has tiny little bead work and woven baskets and temporary structures. LOOK back in time...everything had decoration on it which takes alot of time...they had a lot of time on their hands..otherwise you cannot make a beaded tapestry outfit or carved furniture,or gilded gold stuff. I recently watched a documentary of an area in south america where the man got up picked a few leaves,threw them into a river. This leaf sedated the fish,he speared them and spent the rest of the day in a hammock playing with his Kids....I on the otherhand get up at 6 work till 9 have 2 hours free time and eat terrible GMO designerfood and suffer alot from meaninglessness...what free time ARE you talking about?
    • thumb
      Feb 13 2014: You are right on, Carolyn!

      Modern worker/drones are the problem, not the solution. Amerindians who considered the next seven generations in their councils were appalled at the white man's Euro-centric work ethic that denuded Europe of vast forests for buildings, furnaces, ships, etc.and then was transplanted here, doing the same incredibly destructive thing. Only one of many, many examples, of course.

      The alarm clock was invented by monks who had to get up and pray 6 times a day/night, but was quickly adopted by the elite to get their servants and workers up before daylight to attend to their needs and profits. Gas lights and then electric lights vastly expanded the worker/drone population into 2nd and 3rd work shifts.

      We have become ants, not people!
  • thumb
    Feb 7 2014: Technology.

    Look at what's around you - iphones, computers, flat screens - all of which doesn't require more physical activity that flexing your fingers.. Most people work in front of a computer, only to take their cars or the trains home to sit in front of a TV. In the UK - we have some of the longest working hours in Europe - it's not wonder that after getting home after a 12 hour day that they don't feel like a run - more like a large glass of wine!

    There is also a cutural aspect to this too. Social activities are also often not that active either. You go to the pub, a bar, a restaurant; do lunches, go to art galleries or a gig. All of which requires sitting.

    Although we may be more idle, I think we are also increasingly aware of how beneficial a healthy lifestyle is. It's paradoxical!
    • thumb
      Feb 11 2014: One could always join the Ramblers Association ...
      • thumb
        Feb 14 2014: My previous response (before I googled the Ramblers):
        One could... But they're hardly full of young folk.

        Now:
        One could. One should... they have a 20s-30s group
  • Feb 7 2014: If this is how we are going to live then why be so concerned about death.
    Now our basic requirement have been replaced by pseudo requirements.
    Earlier we used to work to meet our basic requirement but now we work to fulfill our vanity.
    This began due to our inherent quality of greed .
    But may be this is what evolution wanted us to do.
  • thumb
    Feb 6 2014: Everything is already done. Not much hunting, farming, or clothes making necessary.
    Can a solution be found within individual journeys of discovery, appreciating, all the traditional and cultural practices guided by the sun, the moon, the stars, the plants, the animals?
    Apologizing for destroying these practices, yielding; asking what needs to be done to heal the wounds that cannot be healed.
  • thumb
    Feb 6 2014: .
    Yes!
    It is because of the technology and INVALID HAPPINESS.
  • thumb
    Feb 5 2014: Technology, specialisation may be factors.

    so much of the hard work is done by others or machines