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Berlin, August 31st, 2020
lettre
#004
 
edition

being lazy
Bonjour zusammen!

This will be a small plea. A confession of laziness, an ode to the joy of leaning back. Hopefully, now that we are talking about laziness, you have not blown all the fuses. But first of all we would like to welcome you to the fourth edition of our little newsletter. We hope that you still feel comfortable here. If not, please contact us immediately. We take subscriber satisfaction very seriously. And now get on board, the journey is about to begin.

“There is no right to lazyness.”

– Gerhard Schröder

Thesis: We have to celebrate doing nothing, so that lazing around becomes cool again. Which brings us straight to the real problem. Lazing around is frowned upon, so we tend to forget how to do it. Our world is also damn good at making it extremely difficult for us to be lazy. Restlessness everywhere, the to-do lists are long, there is no time for laziness. It is a skill we have to reclaim. We notice for ourselves how hard it is for us. Because when we have forgotten how to do nothing at all, just dream or stare out of the window, then lazing around is no longer intuitive. It is not about how to hang out most effectively or how to meditate away the stress of a whole week in five minutes.
Rather, it is in the nature of doing nothing that one should not concern oneself with the actual realisation of it. One has mastered laziness if one no longer thinks about it. One is simply lazy. Just being there for that moment. The end.
Hold on! Social parasitism, hippie goody-goody and refusal to perform? Nope. We simply ask ourselves whether we are not wrongly demonising inactivity? Just let yourself be pampered by beautiful music (we've created a great playlist for that, by the way), watch excitingly boring documentaries (here or here) or just lie there and do nothing. Say goodbye to productivity, put it down. Another idea: Play cards with your loved ones for a whole weekend, just like that. 

To a large extent, lazing around works outside existing norms. Fewer things, fewer needs, less consumption, but more nature, more time, concentration on the essential. Pretty cool.

Thinking about laziness can also help us to reflect anew about how we want to work and live well and ultimately how we should live on a planet that we overuse in such a way that we actually need three of them. This may sound like a pretty big task for such an innocent and tender activity as lazing around, but understand it more as a door opener.

But we can already see that laziness has a certain political explosive power. Laziness can become a theoretical-critical counter-concept to that omnipresent spirit of the market. When we ask whether we should be more lazy, we are looking for ways to (re)shape the social and political community.

Musik N°1
Glass Animals - Wyrd

Pineapple vibes, jungle sounds and musical hang out invitation. This band has been with me for a very long time and is still in my hot rotation. I know nothing that sounds like Glass Animals. Mystical and minimalistic but full of little things to discover. 

They recently released a very listenable album but their best album remains their first: ZABA, on which you can also find Wyrd.

"Arbeit ist das, was man tut, um es - Zielpunkt im Unbewussten - einmal nicht mehr tun zu müssen.”

– Alfred Polgar

Schwerpunkt.

Do you know Heinrich Böll's "Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral"? No? Then please read this great short story in its entirety right here and skip the following shortened version. (Sorry to all our English only readers, there seems to be no proper translation of this marvelous piece.)

"Irgendwo an einer Küste in Westeuropa: Ein ärmlich gekleideter Fischer liegt am Hafen und döst. Ein reicher Tourist kommt vorbei, knipst einige Fotos und fragt mehrmals, ob es dem Fischer gut gehe und weshalb er denn nicht in See steche, um einen guten Fang zu machen. Als der Fischer ihm antwortet, dass er heute schon einen kleinen Fang gemacht habe, rechnet ihm der Tourist vor, was er sich mit noch mehr Beutefängen alles kaufen könne: in einem Jahr einen Schiffsmotor, in zwei Jahren ein zweites Boot, dann einen Kutter, ein großes Kühlhaus samt Räucherei und ein Fischrestaurant – und schließlich eine riesige Marinadenfabrik, mit der er die ganze Welt beliefern könne. Der Fischer bleibt sichtlich unbeeindruckt, was den Touristen umso nervöser macht. Was denn dann passiere, will der Fischer wissen: 'Dann', sagt der Fremde mit stiller Begeisterung, 'dann könnten Sie beruhigt hier im Hafen sitzen, in der Sonne dösen – und auf das herrliche Meer blicken.' – 'Aber das tu ich ja jetzt schon', sagt der Fischer, 'ich sitze beruhigt am Hafen und döse, nur Ihr Klicken hat mich dabei gestört.' Tatsächlich zog der solcherlei belehrte Tourist nachdenklich von dannen, denn früher hatte er auch einmal geglaubt, er arbeite, um eines Tages einmal nicht mehr arbeiten zu müssen, und es blieb keine Spur von Mitleid mit dem ärmlich gekleideten Fischer in ihm zurück, nur ein wenig Neid."      (from Zeit Online )

Being lazy deluxe. Summer, 2020

There is a great truth in this little tale. Fortunately, it doesn't need much, only the essentials. And: We don't live to work non-stop, we work to then lead a good, fulfilled life. Besides, probably no living being works as much as man. In negative terms, we are the leaders in destroying our lifetime with (gainful) work. Admittedly, there is also really fulfilling work that makes sense and makes people into personalities and yes, there have been worse times when even more work was done (in the 1870s 72 hours a week for example).

We could, however, take the koala bear as a role model - the exact opposite of a workhorse. A koala bear eats a few eucalyptus leaves a day and then simply dozes. If they cannot sleep for around 18 hours a day, the animals die of exhaustion. Now you can of course rightly say that the koala bear didn't design Venice or Machu Picchu either - good point. But that's not what this is all about. The koala bear is perfecting a concept that economists call "target income" or "sufficiency economy". Sufficiency economics means taking into account the natural limits of our planet and using as few resources as possible. And this is where we humans still have to make great progress. Perhaps we will soon switch back from profit and growth to "target income" because we have no other choice.

Musik N°2
Fenster - The Room (Album)

The band Fenster is a little mystery to me, which shows how much music is hidden in life that we don't notice because it is not marketed in a great way. Fenster is a band that you should see live and whose music you ideally consume in one piece, i.e. the whole album. You have two at your disposal: The Room and Emocean, both well done, the latter actually being a soundtrack to a film produced by the band themselves. So listen, I discovered Fenster over a concert at HAU and was pretty impressed by their cool performance. The bar in front of the concert hall was crowded by the hippest people in Berlin on this January day (hah, concerts!). It was more like a meeting of friends of people who invest a little more in music than listening to the charts or somehow rocking through the week with Spotify Weekly Mixtapes. Of course, the melancholic-spacial music of Fenster is perfect for lazing around. Psych-pop, synthesizer-arpeggios (broken,chords), funk, R&B-groove, warm synthesizers, all this can be found in the playful, partly danceable music of Fenster. Their sound is a window framing psychedelic, groovy, hypnogogic, playful pop. Come to The Room, have fun.
Relax statt Rolex.
(Slogan borrowed from Transform Magazin)

Lazing around is luxury, let's treat it as such! We have to appreciate laziness more again, both socially and simply for ourselves. We should free ourselves more often from the need to do something, and we should also allow others to do so. But if everyone did that? Insist on loafing. Le droit à la paresse. It is a very satisfying feeling, imagine it like a very short holiday. Enjoy life. The necessity of a holiday seems to us to be obvious and widely accepted, but just lying down from 2 to 3 pm causes at least some frowning. This insight, in turn, brings out our frown lines. This makes little sense, not to mention the proven necessity of short breaks

It's a paradox: we secretly strive for laziness, but unrestrainedly praise work.

Bleib'n Sie doch mal Ihrer Arbeit fern Geh'n Sie stattdessen spazieren!
Wenigstens vormittags, das macht doch Spaß – Schlafen Sie aus oder lesen Sie was! Alles wird weitergeh'n ohne Sie Sie würden gar nichts riskieren! Sie werden sagen: „Wenn Alle das täten Dann wär' das ein schrecklicher Schlag!“

Ja – wenn Alle das täten, dann hätten halt Alle Einen herrlichen Vormittag! Wenn Alle das täten, dann hätten halt Alle Einen herrlichen Vormittag!

 

– Georg Kreisler

Wenn alle das täten (Link)

Ask your friends when they were last actively lounging and give them extra tuition or assistance if necessary. Lazing around also helps to keep a cool head, calm overheated minds or think about things a second time. It enables you to get in touch with yourself in the first place. It helps you to get the distance from your emotions that is sometimes necessary. After a short walk in the park, things often look quite different, but with a little luck it will be all over. This also promotes your own nonchalance. 

So lean back and put your burdens down as you enter this wondrous world. Lazing around is the order of the day! Make it good.

Jan & Felix

Disclaimer: Permanent laziness is not advisable, if only for practical reasons. After all, too much boredom is not so good either, but we would like to ignore that at this point.
Musik N°3
Metronomy - The Bay & The Look
 
Lounging also has a lot to do with getting rid of the omnipresent urge for perfection. Laziness has no maxim, laziness should not follow any ideal or bow to certain conventions. It is a matter of personal feeling. Laziness should not be captured, as the mindfullness trend shows, which is analysed very sharply in the British Guardian. Of course, this also applies to the chosen place where the lazing takes place. Paris, London, Tokyo or Berlin are exciting, trendy places where cool kids do cool things. But this should not be of any further interest to us when it comes to lazing around. On the contrary, the hustle and bustle of the city can even put obstacles in the way of lazing around (we refer here to our newsletter on the topic of urban exodus). Metrononmy understood this and wrote a song about Torbay, a seemingly unimpressive place on the coast of England.
 
It feels so good
In the bay
 
 
Also from the sound, this music is very good for lazing around. Not too fast, not too slow. For rocking along with your head, wonderful for strolling, or just for a little time out in between. By the way, the album English Riviera, on which also The Bay was released, is great (but you can confidently skip most of Metronomy's newer album). The Look, for example, is also a good starting point.
Parcs are nice places to be lazy in. Helsinki, 2019.
Musik N°4
Kool & The Gang - Rated X, Ruth Brown & Her Rhythmakers - I Don't Know
 
Two songs that have nothing in common except their rousing sound, and that they are both part of the soundtrack of Fatih Akin's Soul Kitchen - his cinematic homage to Hamburg, which can currently be seen on arte. Kool & The Gang is best used to turn up the heat and Ruth Brown's thoughtful piece to get back down. I have seen the film years ago, yes, it is quite overexcited, but also quite cool, which is especially driven by the good music. It is about really existential things. About drinking, eating, celebrating, dancing, about home, love and friendship. If you're not quite free to lounge around, watch this film and let the music infect you and turn the heads of the people of Soul Kitchen.
The end.

This was our fourth newsletter. This time not time in August. Did you enjoy it? We are happy to receive feedback, possible recommendations and also new subscriptions. In fact, no one else will know about this newsletter, as we do not advertise. So it remains only your recommendation. As the saying goes: Subscribe now. Newsletters still have something of spam, advertising, coercion. Unfortunately, because we do not want to have anything to do with that. The email to the lettre is: newsletter@kollektivindividualismus.de. And on the internet you can still visit, hang out and marvel at our website.

Stay tuned!
Credits: © Jan Nitschke © Felix Vieg © Felix Vieg © Jan Nitschke

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