(Laura Ross p.6) In the society Americans live in today, it is amazing that one person can even be close to achieving happiness. Now when I say happiness, I’m not talking about the happiness we have when we drive our first car or when we win two dollars on a gas station lottery ticket. The type of happiness that I am referring to is the one in which Aristotle describes. How can a person use his or her full potential when in fact we, yes even me, do not use our skills usefully and are considered to be the laziest population in the world? After I thought about this I came to my final question of whether or not a person’s full potential can change based on the progressions of new technology and ways of life, but still follow Aristotle’s ideals.
According to the creator of Windows media, Bill Gates, the best way to get a hard job done is “choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because he will find an easy way to do it.” (Gates) At first I found this to be a major problem because I believe laziness should never be idolized. Then after I read Aristotle I wondered that even though the person may be lazy, maybe his mind is using its full potential to find a new way to solve a problem.
To answer my second question I looked deeper into the writings of Aristotle. In The Nicomachean Ethics, written by Aristotle, the text clearly states that “’One who exercises his faculties in accordance with perfect excellence, being duly furnished with external goods, not for any chance time, but for a full term of years:’ to which perhaps we should add, ‘and who shall continue to live so, and shall die as he lived,’” is a happy man.(Aristotle) So to start things off Aristotle believes that a happy man exercises his faculties in accordance with perfect excellence. I am absolutely behind this statement. If a man is meant to be a painter, the only way for this man to be happy is to paint. No other career will exercise his faculties and functions fully unless he is truly in love with it.
So now that I have established my views on the function and faculties of man, is it safe to say that if a computer programmer is in love with finding new and improved ways to create simpler routes to the same end goal, he is using his faculties to the full potential? I believe it is safe because even though he may be lazy, the fact that he is using all his skills and knowledge on programming to find a new solution shows he is using his brain to the full potential. He is using everything he has learned to make something new. Well I thought I had solved my problem and answered my question until the second part of Aristotle’s definition came to me. “There must also be a full term of years for this exercise.” (Aristotle) If a human creates something easier, will he still be using his full potential after it is created? If the man is satisfied with his new solution and goes on to only use that, is he no longer using his full potential because he isn’t using his knowledge or skills anymore? This is where the laziness of Americans comes in to play.
The US ranked No. 1, out of 24 developed countries, as the laziest country in the world. This was determined by statistics that took into consideration daily calorie intake, TV viewing habits, and percentage of the population that plays sports and Internet usage. (Lisi) According to another source, The US is also the second fattest country in the world behind Mexico. (NYPost) Despite these alarming statistics, the US earned the honor of being the second most technologically advanced country in the world, following Japan. (Sharma) As one can see technology is determining the full potential of man. There is no doubt because someone who once had a job in manufacturing automobiles, is now replaced by programmed robots. The only problem now is since the worker was replaced by robots, how can he use his full potential?
Well I did some digging and to no surprise the United States is the 14th happiest country in the world. (Helman) In my opinion I believe it has a great deal to do with the fact that technology takes so many jobs away from hard working citizens. Normally, technological advancements would be considered to be beneficial to a country and in most cases it immensely contributes to the US in a positive way, but when it comes to the views of Aristotle, it does nothing but hurt our great country. When technology takes away jobs from citizens, it robs citizens of financial stability, personal passion, and causes the population to become lazy. Sure some people does not need to have financial stability in order to be happy, but to most people, money is what allows people to chase after their dreams and do what they love. When a person has no job, they can become homeless and broke, robbing them of the life they could have. This causes the population to become lazy because why would the people have to do their job when they can just have a program do it.
Most would think that with the extreme advances in medicine and technology, it would cause the average life span to become longer, increasing the longevity of life. Unfortunately, I believe this is false. In the olden days, people would be active in their daily lives. Constantly moving, working, and exercising. Now most people sit on their couches or lay in their beds watching Netflix and eating Nutella. If a person is sitting in their bed watching TV and eating, what are they doing with their life? How are they going to achieve happiness and experience the world? No one ever met the love of their life or had a memorable experience without getting out into the world. This is what causes the high rates in obesity I discussed earlier and the fact that most Americans are dissatisfied with life.
So to say that a person’s full potential is determined by progressions of life and technology is completely true in my eyes, but I also believe that it does not connect with Aristotle’s views of happiness. A man cannot express his faculties or functions with the lack of employment opportunities. Without jobs a population cannot be happy causing widespread depression. Obesity is the biggest and most revolting effect of laziness cause by the technological change in the nation. If Aristotle were to see the world today, sure he would be astounded by the inventions and progressions of the world, but he would also see that the world we live in is absolutely pitiful. No one thinks for themselves anymore and the overall population is extremely fat and lazy. So unfortunately, I believe that the world we live in today lacks the vital necessities of happiness because we are no longer happy in the views of Aristotle, which is one of the biggest and most unfortunate ways the world could have ended up.
Helman, Christopher. “The Happiest (and Saddest) Countries in the world.” Forbes.com. http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2013/01/09/the-worlds-happiest-and-saddest-countries-2/2/ (Accessed May 5, 2014)
- The Nicomachean Ethics.
Sharma, Ankur. “Top Technologically Advanced Countries in the World.”Lifengadget.com. http://www.lifengadget.com/lifengadget/top-technologically-advanced-countries-world/ (Accessed May 5, 2014)
Lisi, Clemente. “Survey: US is world’s laziest country.”nypost.com. http://nypost.com/2010/02/17/survey-us-is-worlds-laziest-country/ (Accessed May 5, 2014)