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What causes the character trait of carelessness?

  Q.  What lies under the character trait of carelessness?  What 
   causes it?  What are the things that characterize this 
   character trait? 

  A.  The careless person is a negligent person.  The personality 
   trait of carelessness, a tendency toward negligence, is 
   generally associated with a large cluster of other tendencies.  
   They form a type of personality.  For insight let us first 
   consider the following dictionary definitions:

 Careless.  Not done with care;  neglectful.
 Negligent.  Habitually neglecting to do what ought to be done; 

 Frivolous.  Inclined to levity; not serious; silly; fickle.

 Lazy.  Unwilling to work or engage in energetic activity; 
   indolent; slothful.

                          Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary

   For more insight let us now refer to Roget's International 
   Thesaurus.  The following are traits that are often associated 
   with carelessness

 Carelessness, negligence, laxness, heedlessness, 
   disregardfulness, thoughtlessness, indifference, 
   unconscientiousness, unmeticulousness, slovenliness

 Impulsiveness, impetuousness, thoughtlessness, undeliberateness

 Unconcerned, indifferent, not care, not give a damn, 
    easygoing, devil-may-care

 Easygoing, remiss, lax, procrastinating

 Inattentive, heedless, unobserving, undiscerning, unperceiving, 
   unreflecting, incurious, uninquisitive, uninquiring

 Thoughtless, scatterbrained, brainless, emptyheaded, witless

 Frivolous, shallow, superficial, featherbrained, birdwitted

 Undisciplined, capricious, whimsical, erratic

 Lazy, indolent, remiss, lax, slothful

 Untidy, negligent, careless, slipshod, slovenly, messy, 
   disorderly, unmethodical, unsystematic 

   Let us pick some words from above:  Frivolous, shallow, 
   undisciplined, capricious, thoughtless, easygoing, unconcerned.

   What causes the character trait of carelessness?  We can get 
   insight from Aristotle.  According to Aristotle a character 
   trait is caused by repeatedly doing some particular thing.  
   With repetition it becomes a habit, a character trait.  Take 
   the character trait of laziness as an example.  A person 
   acquires the character trait of laziness by repeatedly taking 
   the route of avoiding work, of repeatedly ignoring the voice of 
   conscience, intellect, prudence in regard to what he ought to 
   do.  He has developed the habit of taking the easy road in 
   regard to work.  He just avoids it.  By repeatedly doing this 
   it becomes a way of thinking, a way of dealing with life.  Now 
   a person who is careless, or negligent, is one who habitually 
   doesn't do the things he ought to do.  He is untidy.  The house 
   is a disaster, in total disarray.  He doesn't put anything 
   away.  What explanation can you give for this kind of behavior?  
   Could the explanation lie in that character trait that we call 
   laziness?  Could it be that he is just lazy?  Why doesn't he 
   put things away?  It is too much trouble.  He doesn't want to 
   go to the trouble of putting them away.  It is just too much 
   bother.  And there is a problem, an obstacle.  He doesn't know 
   where to put them.  He has accumulated so much stuff his 
   storage spaces are all full.  Nor does he want to go to the 
   trouble of figuring out the best way of solving the problem. 
   Of organizing and storing them, or where to store them.  That 
   requires the activity called thinking.  He is averse to that.  
   Thinking, analyzing, figuring things out is just not one of his 
   specialties.  It is too much trouble, too much work.  It is 
   just an activity he shys away from.  So when he changes his 
   clothes he just throws the old ones in a pile on a chair.  He 
   has no self-discipline.  He is impulsive.  He does whatever he 
   wishes.  He buys this and he buys that, whatever his heart 
   desires.  He has a whole lot of stuff and no place to keep it.  
   So his stuff is strewn all over the house in piles.  He is just 
   not a methodical person, never has been one.  His mind just 
   doesn't work that way.  Organizing things requires thought, not 
   one of his specialties.  He is not lazy in everything.  He is 
   not lazy in doing things he enjoys doing.  He has plenty of 
   energy for doing things that give him pleasure.  He can show a 
   lot of perseverance in doing things he likes to do, wants to 
   do.  But with regard to drab, mundane tasks that give him no 
   pleasure, he is very procrastinating, dilatory and foot-
   dragging.  He is impulse oriented, mood oriented, feeling 
   oriented.  He doesn't do what he doesn't want to do.  He just 
   habitually avoids doing things that he doesn't feel like doing.  
   It is a way of life for him.  Confusion and disarray don't 
   bother him at all.  It is a way of life.  He doesn't deal with 
   basic problems at their root.  He just lives with them.

   Now, for added insight, let us consider the opposite character 
   trait from carelessness: carefulness.   Consider the following 
   dictionary definitions:

 Careful.  Exercising care in one's work; thorough; painstaking.

 Conscientious.  1. Governed by or done in accordance with 
   conscience; scrupulous. 2. Careful and thorough; painstaking.

 Honest.  Not given to lying, cheating, stealing, etc.; acting 
   honorably and justly; trustworthy.

 Serious.  Grave and earnest in quality, feeling, or disposition; 
   thoughtful; sober.

   Syn. Serious, earnest and sober are compared as they 
   characterize persons.  A serious person is not frivolous, but 
   diligent in work, and always mindful of his responsibilities as 
   a parent, citizen, employee, etc.  Earnest adds a note of zeal, 
   sincerity, and perseverance to serious, and so is generally a 
   stronger word.  The sober person is calm and composed, and not 
   easily excited.

 Industrious.  Characterized by or showing assiduity in work or 
   effort; hard-working; diligent.    

                               Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary

   From Roget's International Thesaaurus we get:

 Honesty, integrity, probity, conscientiousness, scrupulousness, 
   high principles, moral strength, trustworthiness, reliability, 

 Seriousness, earnestness, purposefulness, resolution, 
   determination, resolve, will power, moral fiber, self-control, 
   self-discipline, self-denial, self-reliance

 Industrious, assiduous, diligent, energetic, hardworking

   We see now that the honest, conscientious, serious, hardworking 
   type of person has something in him that the careless, 
   indifferent, negligent person doesn't have.  What is it?  It is 
   something inside himself that requires him to do the right 
   thing, the honest thing, the intelligent thing.  He has that 
   voice within that tells him how he ought to act - and he obeys 
   that voice.  He is a person who habitually obeys the voice of 
   Conscience, Reason, and Prudence within.  He does what he knows 
   he should do even though it may require a lot of work and be 
   hard.  He habitually takes the high road even though it may be 
   the hard road.  He is not daunted by difficulty.  He does the 
   right thing.  He is a person of integrity.  He has a self-
   discipline and moral strength that the careless person doesn't 
   have.  The careless, negligent person who takes the easy, lazy 
   path in doing things reveals a lack of integrity that will 
   likely reveal itself in other ways as well.  See 
The Natural Way -- The Unnatural Way

   Apr 2011

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