Hard and Easy

Some people like to talk about how hard they are on themselves — how their job is hard, the tasks they set themselves are hard, how they don’t take the easy way out. Wittgenstein supposedly said something like that — “My way in philosophy is the bloody hard way.” But you hear it from all kinds of people in much less fancy contexts. “I’m taking care of my poor old sick mother. It’s so hard of me to do that!”

If these people were really trying to do the hard thing they wouldn’t say what they’re doing is so hard! Wittgenstein would have said “I take the easiest way out all the time! That way I can knock off early and relax.” The person caring for her poor mother would be like “Nothing easier than caring for Mom — I love her.” Even if it is a little harder to do it and be happy about it, they should do it. Because they like taking the hard way.

The easiest thing in the world is to go around saying your task is hard. The hardest thing in the world is to make it seem easy.