Michelangelo was not a ‘workaholic’


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Following up to “Is happiness overrated?” and “Tune into the genius channel 24/7“.

An old headline from The Independent announces

Workaholic Michelangelo was a martyr to gout, say scientists

Yes, it’s likely that Michelangelo suffered from gout, probably caused by lead poisoning. (Fortunately, his lead poisoning was not as severe as poor Beethoven’s.) For a better version, including pictures, see this.

Michelangelo worked all the time. He worked until 6 days before his death at almost 90 years old. But he wasn’t a “workaholic”! He was as productive as it gets.

A workaholic, according to Edwin Bliss, is “concerned with activities (staying busy) rather than achievements (getting things done)”. As I wrote in “Busy bee

The laziest people are “busy bees” who distract themselves with frantic activity from the hard work of thinking, questioning and understanding.

Aside: The headline also calls him a “martyr”, probably because a common explanation for workaholism is a “martyr complex”. Of course, he wasn’t a martyr either.

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