Actually, laziness, and the path of least resistance, are two different things. Let’s also be clear and admit that both are insulting terms given to people whom are deemed to be inferior. And that’s where homeless people come into the discussion, because, let’s face it, nearly everyone assumes that homeless people are inferior to themselves. That and we hold ot a common notion that people become homeless for the fact they are inferior. In this thought we then justify speaking about the homeless in negative terms. Despite all the advancements of our society, in that we now acknowledge that speaking ill of someone is wrong – it’s wrong to put down people who are black, or are women, or developmentally hindered – we still accept as normal, the derisive talk about homeless people.
Those who have been homeless know something that everyone else doesn’t. A person cannot survive homelessness by being lazy. Homelessness is just too demanding an existence, having to always be in search of food and a place to sleep for the night, and constantly defending one’s self from the weather, street predators and those looking to cause trouble, etc. Taking a simple job like pushing a broom all day and living in a cheap apartment is certainly a path of least resistance, comparatively.
Still, laziness, and the path of least resistance, are highly subjective terms – so much so that they can easily be rendered meaningless, when attempting to give them measure. My father worked a 40 hour a week job, and for his efforts, he provided for a family of four. Compared to someone who works 50 or 60 hours a week would my father be considered lazy? just because he did put in less hours at work? When he got home each night he would either go play basket ball at the local gym, or would just plop down in front of the tv and veg out until bed time. Did that mean he was on a path of least resistance?
Lets be clear on some other things. “Laziness” is not what people usually assume. The lack of desire to work doesn’t come from flaw in a person’s character, but is a symptom of poor mental health – Depression mainly. And just who can become homeless and not become depressed from it? Cure a person from depression, and their “laziness” will go away. That’s because a normally healthy person is an active productive person. People lose their inclination for being productive and active only because of mental health issues.
Not only must homeless people remain active in their pursuit of food and shelter etc., they also know that they cannot remain homeless forever, and so additionally they take up regular employment. According to the National Coalition of the Homeless, 50% of all homeless people work a minimum of 20 hours a week at a regular job, (not under the table or temporary work). Still there are a lot of homeless people who take “pick up” work. Many of the people hanging out at the Home Depot exit hoping to get hired for a day’s work, are homeless.
But then someone might say, “I see homeless people laying around, doing nothing all the time.” Sure, they do, but that’s what everyone does when they’re tired: they sleep in a couple of hours when they can get it, they take a nap when it’s convenient, they plop down in front of the tv for hours at a time, especially on their days off. Except for not having a tv to watch, the homeless do the same things that other people do, when they are tired, the important difference being that, because they don’t have a home in which to do this resting, they have to do it out in public, where everyone can see, and judge them for it.
This post was inspired in part by these blog posts: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/embracing-the-dark-side/200903/the-laziness-myth
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