Procrastination: the great equalizer?

Lucy Zhang

In the midst of all of the political turmoil, hateful comments, feelings of rejection and loneliness, and maintenance of facades that no one has the time to dig deeper into, it is incredibly easy to fall into a cynical, jaded mindset. And of course the world and humanity are incorrigible. News tells that to us every day; humans tell that to us every day, not explicitly, but through their actions, hypocrisies, and ignorance. Humanity is no less human (despicable) than it was yesterday. A natural consequence of discrimination, or more lightly and accurately, the fact that individuals will always be in some aspect different from others.

Hikigaya Hachiman, an anime character from My Teenage Romantic Love Comedy SNAFU, stated, “Bears are creatures that feel no insecurity in living alone. They're an animal that lives in isolation. Plus, they can hibernate. What a fabulous thing that is. If I were to be reborn, I definitely want to be a bear.”

Well, the reasoning behind that assertion is not unfounded.

But loner or not, male or female-identifying, any color-in-the-rainbow skin, political zealot or steadfast apathetic citizen, humans possess an beautifully equalizing trait: procrastination.

Before you laugh and write that idea off as some kind of strange, baseless rationale conjured from a brain that’s searching too hard for an equalizer on all fronts, think about it. Every human pushes tasks off to do other things. In fact, as long as there are things to do, some task will inevitably come after another and will have to be put off until the initial task is completed.

Some might call that “having stuff to do”, but the inherent nature of having stuff to do entails, no, necessitates procrastination. Until humans master the ability to do everything their lives could possibly require at once, there will always be that nagging burden of some task that is not being done now, and must be done later. Procrastination tends to bring out the best and worst parts of humanity—the ability to be amazingly lazy and the ability to be mind blowingly creative (in avoiding doing tasks).

The Chinese government, for one, is known to be significantly more efficient than that of the United States (which is not saying much, but regardless, the Chinese government is brutally down-to-business). But there is plenty they are putting off, from more stringent and lasting solutions to China’s environmental woes to the lack of strict, standardized law enforcement and requirements regarding manufacturing quality.

The United States government, however, appears to be the at the top of pros at procrastination. Perhaps it would even be accurate to say that Congress embodies humanity best as a whole.

Everyone procrastinates just as everyone eats, sleeps, and breathes. However, procrastination reveals more about the essence of humanity than the aforementioned biological functions do. When people procrastinate, the act tends to have a ripple effect, whether on societies or within the self. Procrastination is so far from contained that it would not be completely wrong to call it the driving factor behind all human woes and achievements.

Anyone can simply look at the person sitting next to them with the self assurance that he or she is putting off some gravely important task. And isn’t that what drives the world—people (all types of people) doing what they shouldn’t be doing?

Lucy is a freshman at Duke University.