Saturday, October 06, 2007

Laziness as the Mother of Invention

As a school kid I read in the English language text book "Necessity is the mother of invention". They even had a fable to prove the point. I am not sure what that story was but I am sure a there are a lot of people who endorse this school of thought. I have a slightly modified version of the above school of thought. I call it the lazy mind. According to this "Laziness is the mother of invention". I am sure a lot of people will be there to refute this claim and I welcome them all. In the next few paras I'll present my perspective so as to get the reader thinking of Laziness as the mother of invention.

I mentioned about my English text book at school and the fables it presented. However as I grew up, I discovered that a lot of inventions that are a part of our daily life, are not entirely inventions that came out of necessity. They were more likely the children of some lazy mind.

At the epitome of the Lazy inventions is of course the object which is a cause of a few tussles in every family with a single TV - the remote control. I bet some wannabe couch potato somewhere figured that he/she was losing a lot of weight by just getting up to change the channel or volume. This lazy mind / body then worked hard to serve the laziness and invented a device that we all know as remote control. It is one invention which has ushered the emergence of a whole breed of couch potatoes.

Then of course there is a whole industry which might have (I suspect) its root in the laziness of the man kind. Consider this, locomotion in all terrestrial life form is traditionally the function made possible by legs. For centuries that was the only form of transport for Man. As man grew smarter, he learnt that domestic animals could carry them. Then came the carts pulled by those animals. Of course not all people could afford to own animals like horses I guess average man was still compelled to use his own legs for personal transportation. Then somewhere some one invented the bicycle. Very soon the bicycle was a hit. But imagine what its inventor was thinking. "I am sick and tired from walking to work every day. I want to spend less energy in going to work." In short the lazy devil had taken control and then that person must have looked at coming out with something that went on wheels and allowed his ass to rest somewhere while he moved. Thus was born the bicycle. Then of course I guess some one lazier thought that the bicycle was a lot of effort and that animal driven carts caused a lot of mess (read dung). This led to the invention of motorized vehicles. Again an invention that was driven by the lazy mind. Soon enough we have the whole automotive industry revolutionizing the 20th century. It has revolutionized and made mankind so lazy that now the basic activity of walking (or even cycling) are considered forms of exercise.

There is no denying that these motorized vehicles save a lot of time in travel and that may be the most important benefit of those at this point. However one may also argue that their existence became possible because there were some lazy minds out there who were willing to work hard so as to achieve a result which would provide betterment for their own laziness. Contradiction (hard work to serve laziness?) .. huh ... of course...

I can bet there are a whole lot of inventions like the ones mentioned above that are really the results of lazy minds. To get the reader thinking, here are a few more examples .. Washing machine (my mom and I think that clothes are cleaned better by scrubbing by hand but still both of us prefer usage of washing machine),dish washer, vacuum cleaner, coffee machine, lazy boy chair (for all people who watch "Friends" TV series .. there are a couple of these in the Joey - Chandler apartment)

Another important aspect to some of the inventions today is that while they serve the laziness of a person, they have other advantages to such as saving of time, effort, cost etc which can translate to a monetary value and hence the inventions are sustained or were backed with investment to be able to see light of the day as some of the appliances mentioned above. Thus while necessity is a mother of invention ... I postulate that the necessity itself is created out of laziness and hence we may view "Laziness as the mother of invention"

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