I was hoping you could help me with something personal. My general question is, is there any philosophically rigorous defense for being lazy? Here are the specifics: I'm 20. My parents started me playing cello since I was 4: weekend music school, recitals, the whole bit. And I enjoyed it while I did it, and got good at it. Now I'd like to stop. Naturally, my parents are up in arms: "you can't stop." "why not?" "because 1) you've invested so much time. 2) you owe it to yourself to continue. 3) it's part of who you are, you like it, and it's in your best interest to continue. You shouldn't abandon a rewarding activity just because you're lazy. 4) you have the potential to bring others joy through your music". How do I respond to these claims? I feel like the ideas behind the claims traffic in philosophy, that there are equally philosophically defensible rebuttals, and that I don't know them. As another piece of information, and I think this applies to a lot of young people caught in this...

You could give your parents the argument that laziness is better than nothing, and nothing is better that than the most rewarding activity, so laziness is better than the most rewarding activity. But then again, that argument is fallacious. In fact, maybe your parents are right. But you might argue that staying with the cello only makes sense if you will really find it rewarding in the long term, and the fact that you do not find it rewarding after sixteen years of playing is powerful evidence that you will not find it rewarding in the long term. This argument hardly amounts to a proof, but at least it isn't fallacious.

Is it morally wrong to make someone happy by telling them an amusing story about a third party's bad misfortune?

I can't tell it the way he can, but Woody Allen has a story about how he had a chest pain and was very worried that he had a serious heart problem. Being too cheap to pay for the tests, he convinces his friend, who has a similar pain, to have the tests instead. The next he hears, his friend is dead. So Woody immediately has a battery of very expensive tests, only to be told that he has nothing worse than indigestion. Very annoyed at having paid all that money for nothing, he calls his friend's mother and asks whether his friend suffered much. 'No, the bus hit him and that was it', replied the mother. Call me callous, but it made me happy to hear this amusing story about a third party's bad misfortune, and I don't think there was anything morally wrong about Woody Allen telling the story. But maybe it's crucial to the morality here that the story was made up. I'm not sure.

Since we all have a free will and since every sane human being prefers happiness over misery; how come we don´t choose to be good/kind/loving to each other all the time? J.T. Kumberg

It might be that every sane human being prefers their own happiness over their own misery; alas it doesn't follow from this that every sane human being always prefers other people's happiness over those people's misery. This comes to the crunch if promoting other people's happiness interferes with promoting my own happiness.