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Laziness; Idleness

One of St. Benedict’s most famous dictums was ora et labora: “pray and work.” His Rule served as the
standard community rule for monasteries in the West for hundreds of years. Consistent with his dictum, the Rule
of St. Benedict contains some wonderful passages about the value of work in addition to other pious practices.
For example, Benedict writes, “Idleness is the enemy of the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to be employed
in manual labor at certain times, at others, in devout reading.” Perhaps the significant contribution comes from
the introductory declaration, which indicates that labor is in itself inherently good, in that it eliminates idleness,
the cause of much trouble.

With Benedict the work of his monks was only a means to goodness of life. The great disciplinary force
for human nature is work; idleness is its ruin. The purpose of his Rule was to bring men "back to God by the labor
of obedience, from whom they had departed by the idleness of disobedience." Work was the first condition of all
growth in goodness. Knowing the spiritual dangers of idleness (such as boredom, depression, and gossip),
Benedict prescribed regular daily work for the monks of any monastery that followed his rule. However, he did
not absolutize the value of work, recommending time for rest and “spiritual reading.” Indeed, we can see in St.
Benedict’s Rule an excellent expression of the basic Christian view of the merits of work as well as its limitation
for the sake of the worker.

In our country’s setting, while the Philippines is known the world over for its warm, friendly people,
thanks to social media, foreigners have recently caught up on how Filipinos really are among themselves, how
they run their country, and how they live their lives without filters. Only real Filipinos who’ve lived long enough,
however, would agree that the Filipino is his own worst enemy. And this is especially true when we talk of
discipline—something that Filipinos seem to lack or take for granted. Ironically, discipline is often the card
Filipinos play when they want things to go their way. Laziness, on the other hand, is a reaction to the inability
of the social structure to provide the needed opportunities where one can fully exercise or make use of his or her
capacities. Laziness can be attributed to the bahala na and mañana attitudes, fatalistic and uniquely Filipino
responses that are seriously unprofessional and counter-productive. Laziness and impatience make for a bad mix
when paired with other negative Filipino attitudes like “Filipino time,” ningas-cogon, and the one-day
millionaire attitude, also known as ubos-ubos biyaya, bukas nakatunganga attitude. Philippine society lacks a
strong sense of role modeling. While we do not discredit the good examples shown by some people in the past as
well as today, we cannot deny the fact that there are glaring incidents that would show people that ignoring
laws or socially acceptable practices will do them no good.

It is important to note that indolence in the Philippines is a chronic malady, but not a hereditary one.
Truth is, before the Spaniards arrived on these lands, the natives were industriously conducting business with
China, Japan, Arabia, Malaysia, and other countries in the Middle East. The reasons for this said indolence
were clearly stated in the essay, and were not based only on presumptions, but were grounded on fact taken from
history. Another thing that we might add that had caused this indolence, is the lack of unity among the Filipino
people. In the absence of unity and oneness, the people did not have the power to fight the hostile attacks of the
government and of the other forces of society. There would also be no voice, no leader, to sow progress and to
cultivate it, so that it may be reaped in due time.

It is not only the Philippines, but also other countries, that may be called indolent, depending on the
criteria upon which such a label is based. Man cannot work without resting, and if in doing so he is considered
lazy, they we could say that all men are indolent. One cannot blame a country that was deprived of its dignity,
to have lost its will to continue building its foundation upon the backs of its people, especially when the fruits
of their labor do not so much as reach their lips. When we spend our entire lives worshipping such a cruel and
inhumane society, forced upon us by aliens who do not even know our motherland, we are destined to tire after
a while. We, the citizens, are the first leaders of this democratic republic country. We are the roots of our leaders.
In other words, we are the ones who choose the people who will lead our government. Our leaders and government
officials originate from our votes. Thus, for our country to improve, progress must begin with us. We have to be
responsible citizens to achieve personal and national development. There are many ways to show our love for our
country. In our generation, there are things that test our nationalism. What is important though is that we stand
united as Filipino people and we love Philippines as our mother country. Let us manifest the essence of
nationalism in every aspect of our life.

The failure to file statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) may constitute laziness —
but it is not an indicator of integrity, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said in an article from the website
of CNN Philippines. "Someone who's not able to file SALN, whether repeatedly or not, is a lazy person... but at
the same time, (could) be a person of integrity," he added. "Someone who doesn't accept bribes, somebody who
decides cases fairly, can at the same time be lazy with certain administrative matters." His comment comes after
the Supreme Court in a landmark case voted 8-6 to void the appointment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In a 153-page decision, Associate Justice Noel Tijam wrote that Sereno's failure to submit a complete record of
her SALNs constituted "a lack of integrity." Under Article 8, Section 7 of the Constitution, "a member of the
Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence." Other constitutional
requirements provide that a judge must be at least 40 years of age, a natural-born citizen, and a law practitioner
for 15 years or more.

With regard to our setting in law school, laziness isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking
about law students. A law school is an extremely competitive environment, and to become a skilled legal
professional, you should study long and hard hours. Sounds like a bad environment for lazy individuals, and it
is. However, laziness isn’t impossible in law school if you’re well organized and focus on being efficient.
Procrastination is a really bad idea for all students, so I try to avoid it at all cost. For example, I turn off my
smartphone to avoid getting distracted by messages, calls, and notifications, or block social media and other
websites in my browser. It’s not uncommon for a law student to be assigned between 300 and 400 pages of
reading per week, which can make reading and analyzing pretty much everything you do. Hence, one must really
manage his or her time well in order to be productive. Efficiency needs to be at the top of your priority list. It
can be achieved by breaking time into actionable chunks and aiming to complete work in a timely, but sensible,

If enough change occurs in enough places, and if our public expectations remain high and consistent,
learning may become the touchstone for decision-making; the quality and quantity of learning -- documented by
rigorous assessment -- may become both each institution’s greatest concern and the basis for comparisons between
various colleges and universities; degrees may once again be earned, not delivered as entitlements. With these
changes, students will be more prepared for the world of work, armed with the most important skills and
knowledge, and having graduated with something of real value.

And at the end we have that really famous statement of Saint Benedict: all things in moderation for the
sake of the faint hearted. So it is clear that even in that time, some monks found the monastic life to be very
challenging and Saint Benedict wants to make sure that it is not so challenging that monks are driven away by
it. In conclusion, may we have a sense of moderation in every aspect of our life and strength in our living.