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When we say someone is lazy, we're saying they're incapable of completing a task due to (physical or mental) weakness, but we're also claiming that their lack of ability somehow makes them morally corrupt. It's not that they're tired or even dispirited in some way we might sympathize with; The idea that lazy people are evil fakers who deserve to suffer has been embedded in the word since the very start. One of the major factors that caused the Laziness Lie to spread throughout the United States was the arrival of the Puritans. The Puritans had long believed that if a person was a hard worker, it was a sign that God had chosen them for salvation. Hard work was believed to improve who you were as a person. Conversely, if a person couldn't focus on the task at hand or couldn't self-motivate, that was a sign that they had already been damned. The world keeps changing and to stop learning is assuredly to get left behind. What assumptions, patterns of behaviour, fears or limitations have you been holding onto? Do any spring to mind that may be restricting value in your life: social circles, career and relationships? If so, identify an action plan to challenge, update or leave them behind. What are the things that are most important to you: the manner in which you live, play and work? All of this is to make them look less dead, and I wanted him to be less dead, but he would never, ever be less dead, only more dead. Only then did I understand how all of the thousands of people I have helped at funerals felt at that very moment when I was with them to bury their loved one--surreal, empty. I was there, but not there, and there was nothing, nothing I could do. We have sanitized death to an unprecedented degree. Our loved ones mostly do not die at home, and even if they do, very quickly a van arrives from the mortuary to whisk their body away, drain it of blood, fill it with preservatives, and cover it with cosmetics, and we do not see it again until the funeral. Modern embalming dates back to the Civil War, which lasted much longer and was far bloodier than most people anticipated at the time. More than six hundred thousand men died in that war, nearly half of all the soldiers who have died in all of America's wars. The Civil War created a new professionalized culture of death and mourning.

Hundreds of thousands of men were dying far from home. By lacking the drive to succeed, they were displaying to the world that God hadn't chosen them for Heaven. When the Puritans came to colonial America, their ideas caught on and spread to other, less pious colonists. Colonial America relied on the labor of enslaved people and indentured servants. A productivity-obsessed form of Christianity evolved from the older, more Puritanical idea that work improved moral character, and it was pushed on enslaved people. This form of Christianity taught that suffering was morally righteous and that slaves would be rewarded in Heaven for being docile, agreeable, and, most important, diligent. On the flip side, if an enslaved person was slothful or lazy, there was something fundamentally corrupt and wrong with them. This worldview became the foundation for American capitalism. It would quickly spread to other marginalized people, including indentured servants, poor white laborers, and Native Americans who had been forced into government boarding schools. As the Industrial Revolution changed the landscape of the country, with more and more Americans working long hours in manufacturing plants, the Laziness Lie was pushed even more. Making choices aligned with these values will contribute to your happiness and fulfillment. They will make prioritisation and decision making easier. Writer and philosopher Ayn Rand wrote, 'Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver'. Chris, the manager I asked the question to initially, like us all, gave clues to the total combination of his own personal value in the way he leaped to define value. As a results-driven, dominant individual motivated by utility, he had an eagle-eyed focus on bottom-line returns. His answer of 'what someone is willing to pay' is hardly surprising. Most people with a strong inclination towards tangible value give similar responses when prompted, for example: Embalmers followed battles the way tow truck drivers now listen to police scanners and show up after car accidents. Some embalmers even propped up bodies in front of their tents as a way to advertise their services.

They also profited from death by selling expensive caskets to the soldiers' families who could afford it; The embalming business became a permanent part of American culture when President Lincoln's body was embalmed and placed on a funeral train for a tour of one hundred and eighty cities. Until little more than a century ago most people died at home. Their bodies were washed and prepared for burial by people who loved them. This business of being transported after death quickly away from the living and then chemically altered to seem somehow less dead has made it more difficult, not less, for mourners to embrace the reality of death. While I have had considerable experience with death over all my years as a rabbi, I also found it hard to believe what I was seeing as I gazed upon my dead father. The rabbi uttered his first words, but I did not, could not, look up. My head on my knees, for the first time in my life I understood what the psalmist meant and felt when he said, I am bent and bowed low (Psalm 38:6). The wealthy and highly educated began to claim that poor whites also couldn't be trusted with idle time. In fact, too many breaks could make a person antisocial. We can see the dogma of the Laziness Lie in popular media from that period as well. In the late 1800s, the writer Horatio Alger published numerous stories in which struggling, impoverished characters were able to rise into the upper classes through hard work. The popularity of these articles led to the idea that poor people simply needed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they wanted to live a comfortable life. In the decades that followed, the Laziness Lie found its way into countless films, plays, and TV shows. From the national myths of Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed to the strong, independent cowboys on the silver screen to the memoirs of entrepreneurs like Conrad Hilton, one of the most prevalent legends in American culture became the tale of the single-minded, hardworking man who had created his own success and changed society through sheer force of will. In every way, he's the picture of independence, and it's through his strong personality and doggedness that he succeeds. These myths, though inspiring and appealing to many, carried with them a dark implication: if a person didn't succeed, it was because they weren't doing enough. For people who believe in the Laziness Lie, things like economic reform, legal protections for workers, and welfare programs seem unnecessary. The definition of tangible is 'perceptible to touch'. In the business world, tangible value means that something is measurable.

In Australia you can register a company name in less than 15 minutes for a fee of a little over $500 (including GST). Yet the corporation exists in name alone: there are no premises, employees or even products to speak of -- nothing tangible. Even with continued growth, the business may continue offering invisible products serviced by automation and algorithms with little human touch, from premises containing no doors or windows to speak of (unless your mobile office is a PC and not a Macintosh! All business owners know and deal with tangible value on a quarterly or annual basis with forms such as a Business Activity Statement, where: John Anderson, founder of Contiki Holidays, shares a wonderful story from the early days. An oversight in budgeting meant he foresaw an inability to complete an itinerary as planned. He calculated how much it would cost to get all passengers back to London. Like all traditional Jewish mourners, we tore the small black ribbon pinned to our chests and said the words Baruch Dayan HaEmmet--Blessed be the Judge of Truth. This is the starkest of admissions that the time of death is not ours to decide. Not with love, not with strength, not with science, not with faith, not with anything. Deeper still there is the realization that if the person you loved so deeply is mortal, then you too are mortal and shall someday surely die. When I was a boy, my dad would often introduce me to others with a wink, a smile, and the words You'd never guess whose son this is. To say I resembled him would be putting it mildly. Those who want to succeed just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, after all. Research from the past three decades consistently shows that a majority of Americans do, in fact, think this way. For many of us, our first instinct is generally to blame a person for their own misfortune, especially if we can pin that misfortune on laziness. Much like the parents I've seen discouraging their children from giving money to homeless people, many Americans believe that generosity, compassion, and mutual aid is wasted on the lazy. Furthermore, if we believe the world was created solely by independent people, we may come to think that there's no need for us to be interdependent and compassionate. We may even come to see relying on other people as a threat to progress. Decades of exposure to the Laziness Lie has had a massive effect on our public consciousness.

It's made many of us critical of other people and quick to blame the victims of economic inequality for their own deprivation. It's made us hate our own limitations, to see our tiredness or desire for a break as signs of failure. And it has created an intense internal pressure to keep working harder and harder, with no limits and no boundaries. Fortune favoured his boldness, an epic decision that I, like hundreds of thousands of others, appreciated. I'm no economist, maths genius or detailed analyst. I'm not drawn to data patterns or dollar returns the way some people are. That said, I do appreciate the importance of tangible value. As with mathematicians, physicists, economists and many a scientist, I too find analysis captured in quantitative and qualitative data important, and as we'll find out, quite beautiful. In a product or service exchange the item itself is the tangible value. But the primary perceptions determining tangible value are ones you can't really touch. Occasionally my aunts would show me pictures of my dad when he was young, and we would marvel at the similarities. Now, at sixty years old, when I look in the mirror, I feel as if my father is staring back at me. The bags under my eyes, the tip of my nose, my cheeks, my neck, the little bulge in my belly--they are all his. Once I was with my mother in my father's room at the nursing home. She told me that he had something akin to diaper rash on his penis and so they had left him naked from the waist down, lying on a pad, until the rash cleared up. The rise of social media and digital work tools has only made these pressures harder to escape. Much like the Horatio Alger novels of the past, today's popular media still teaches us to worship hard work and look down on the lazy. From the films we watch to the YouTube videos that keep us company on our lunch breaks, we're inundated with stories that praise diligence and individualism. Some of today's most popular celebrities promote the idea of themselves as self-made entrepreneurs rather than extremely privileged and fortunate tycoons. Our fictional heroes overcome evil and accomplish their dreams because they possess unique levels of drive and dedication, not because they support and are supported by other people.