From Thomas Pynchon's "Nearer, My Couch, to Thee," an excellent short history of Sloth
(as in the-seven-deadly entropic-or; the "cathode-anode serenity found in the pure, informationless state of signal zero" . . .) :
Sitting there on some medieval death row, going, "So, look, no offense, but what'd they pop you for anyway?"
"Ah, usual story, they came around at the wrong time of day, I end up taking out half of some sheriff's unit with my two-cubit crossbow, firing three-quarter-inch bolts on auto feed. Anger, I guess.... How about you?"
"Um, well ... it wasn't anger...."
"Ha! Another one of these Sloth cases, right?"
". . fact, it wasn't even me."
"Never is, slugger -- say, look, it's almost time for lunch. You wouldn't happen to be a writer, by any chance?"
In his classical discussion of the subject in the "Summa Theologica," Aquinas termed Sloth, or acedia, one of the seven capital sins. He said he was using "capital" to mean "primary" or "at the head of" because such sins gave rise to others, but there was an additional and darker sense resonating luridly just beneath and not hurting the power of his argument, for the word also meant "deserving of capital punishment." Hence the equivalent term "mortal," as well as the punchier English "deadly."
Philadelphia, by Franklin's time, answered less and less to the religious vision that William Penn had started off with. The city was becoming a kind of high-output machine, materials and labor going in, goods and services coming out, traffic inside flowing briskly about a grid of regular city blocks. The urban mazework of London, leading into ambiguities and indeed evils, was here all rectified, orthogonal. (Dickens, visiting in 1842, remarked, "After walking about in it for an hour or two, I felt that I would have given the world for a crooked street.")
Any discussion of Sloth in the present day is of course incomplete without considering television, with its gifts of paralysis, along with its creature and symbiont, the notorious Couch Potato. Tales spun in idleness find us Tubeside, supine, chiropractic fodder, sucking it all in, re-enacting in reverse the transaction between dream and revenue that brought these colored shadows here to begin with so that we might feed, uncritically, committing the six other deadly sins in parallel, eating too much, envying the celebrated, coveting merchandise, lusting after images, angry at the news, perversely proud of whatever distance we may enjoy between our couches and what appears on the screen.