For the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf annual student show in 1997, the German version, "Lethargieentfernung", was formatted and laminated to match the academy fire regulations.

"Eradicating Lethargy" has also been printed as a flyer for distribution at exhibitions.

Eradicating Lethargy

  1. On awakening, get out of bed immediately: a lazy start leads to a day of achieving nothing. Extreme vigilance is vital to counteract the lethargy sufferer’s peculiar early-morning susceptibility to overwhelming feelings of futility and loneliness. A positive and happy attitude at the start of every day must be practised. Excessive sleep - more than seven hours per night - is never justified.
  2. Coffee consumption must be closely controlled. An excess leads to nausea and over-excitement. Immediate self-motivation is essential to exploit the positive stimulant effects of the caffeine. Failure in this will ensure that, after the stimulation subsides, the apathetic condition will climb to a new peak and further resistance will be futile.
  3. Regular toilet visits are vital. The overwhelming paralysis of the lethargic condition can be exacerbated by a not yet realised urgent need. A successful bowel evacuation releases a surprising lightness, mobility and vigour. Time on the toilet should be productively used for the resolution of pressing life decisions.
  4. Masturbation is never recommended. The feeling of futility will invariably return more powerfully afterwards.
  5. The sexual act is to be avoided (see #4, masturbation). In sexual relationships a safe emotional distance must be maintained at all times. Through the feeling of love, the sexual partner can come to an inaccurately positive view of the lethargy sufferer, which threatens his acknowledgement of the seriousness of his condition. Both the euphoria at the beginning of a relationship and the despair at the end distract from the fulfilment of the practical and productive life-tasks on which a fight against lethargy depends.
  6. The consumption of food is only sanctioned to satisfy unavoidable bodily requirements. As comfort in times of emotional crisis it is not allowable. The stimulant effects of food with a high sugar content are to be carefully controlled (see #2, coffee). Consumption is to occur in a standing or an upright sitting position: a casual posture is an encouragement for the body to return to its lethargic state. Menus must be carefully selected: long cooking or preparation times are excuses for further procrastination and time wasting and instant food is symptomatic of a lazy attitude. Dishes requiring a short, intensive effort in preparation and a measure of vigorous chewing are found to be justifiable. While eating, a lively and interested observation of the surrounding room is to be practised.
  7. A period of vigorous house cleaning is effective, but restraint is vital. While dirtiness can be a sign of a self-indulgent, lethargic temperament, over-cleanliness is symptomatic of an unhealthy obsessiveness and over-attention to life-wasting trivialities.
  8. The emotional state must be continuously monitored. Lethargy can often arise from the suppression of unpleasant feelings: usually rage, self-hatred or shame (not to be confused with guilt which is extremely motivating). The offending feeling must be recognised and immediately brought under control. In acknowledging these possibly painful emotions the lethargy sufferer must firmly resist his treacherous fondness for wallowing in feelings of self-pity.
  9. The lethargy problem must be confessed to others at the earliest possible opportunity. The disclosure of personal failure will helpfully expose the insignificance and absurdity of the self. Conversations must not deviate from the goal of lethargy removal: inconsequential chatter is time wasting. The lethargy sufferer must beware of any attempts in himself to illicit sympathy from the listener.
  10. The lethargy sufferer is recommended to briefly leave the house. Five minutes of brisk walking and pleasant and lively interactions with strangers is sufficient to effect the necessary change of mood. In large cities the confrontation with poverty and human misery will open up a healthier life-perspective. The excursion must not be used as an excuse to satisfy consumer urges: shopping is only permitted in the case of urgent necessity.
  11. For the purpose of personal cleanliness, a short shower is permitted. Energetic scrubbing is recommended and the water temperature must be cold enough to discourage an unnecessary extension of the washing time. A bath is purely an excuse to lie down.
  12. Alcohol must be avoided. The pleasant feelings of intoxication - relaxation or well-being - are extremely unmotivating and excessive consumption seriously threatens a positive and constructive start to the following day.
  13. Attempting to deny the crisis by watching television, reading or seeking out similar forms of distraction is never helpful. Although an argument could be made for the constructive benefit of programmes, films or books of informative or aesthetic value, these qualities are notoriously difficult to define and it is better to err on the side of safety. Similarly, social interactions must be approached with caution. While a certain amount of engagement with the world is unavoidable it must be kept within acceptable limits. The lethargy sufferer should never forget the dangers inherent in a personality that will always seek to justify the unjustifiable.
  14. Meditation, therapy or any other technique for relaxation and so-called self-improvement are not permitted. The resultant stress-reduction, peace and self-acceptance must be viewed as a dangerous loss of reality.

Avoiding Relapse

Following a successful lethargy-eradication, the necessary vigilance against relapse demands the use of the following preventative measures:

  • a daily timetable must be formulated and obeyed without question. Spontaneous decision-making demands periods of reflection, which cause a dangerous flooding of uncontrollable longings.

  • inspirational pep talks should be used to fill the quiet moments in the day, e.g. ’Come on Lucy! Get moving! Get busy! Make something of yourself, you lazy, lazy bitch!’
  • the following simple slogans should be written out and placed on the wall in places where they are immediately visible on the moment of awakening:
  • Always Making Excuses
  • Work Harder
  • Fun Is For Losers
  • Stupid And Lazy
  • You Amount To Nothing

Düsseldorf, 3rd February 1997