Why are we always tired?
Difficult awakenings, troubled nights, lack of energy… In his documentary I am tireddirector Lucia Sanchez explores the ins and outs of the lazy epidemic that seems to be raging.
Is fatigue on the way to becoming the disease of the century? Over the months, studies follow and resemble each other: in October 2022, Santé Publique France established that 71% of French people believe they have sleep disorders; the Jean Jaurès foundation and the IFOP published a report in November establishing that 41% of French people feel more tired since the Covid, and that 45% of respondents feel “lazy” to leave their homes.
Lucia Sanchez, documentary director I am tired (1), broadcast on April 20 on France TV, also noted this epidemic of asthenia. “I heard this sort of phrase ‘are you ok, not too tired?’ It became a kind of ritual, we no longer respond ‘I’m fine’ but ‘I’m tired'”, she tells us . In her feature film she asks herself, “what makes us all tired?”, “what are we running after?”
On video, these signs that prove that you are intellectually tired
Typology of fatigue
When she made the documentary, the director already understood, thanks to the advice of experts, that it was important to differentiate between “good fatigue”, occurring after an effort, and “exhaustion”. She solicits the philosopher Hélène L’Hœuillet (2) who defines this last state as “the fact of being deprived of one’s own temporality”.
What creates the feeling of exhaustion is the fact of being deprived of one’s own temporality, of one’s subjective time
By interviewing a building caretaker, a delivery man, a truck driver, an engineer and a former salesperson, the filmmaker wanted to “tell about a collective fatigue with people who do very different jobs.” If the material causes of these exhaustions diverge, all seem to stem from a lack: lack of time, lack of sleep, lack of energy, lack of meaning…
About her own state of fatigue, the director tells us of an “extremely tiring” time. “Economic disparities, the rise of radicalism, the depletion of resources, these are things that reach the human, the lack of hope tires”, she testifies.
Read alsoBe lazy, let go: adopt the “goblin mode”
Loss of meaning
In the midst of protests against the pension reform, the documentary points to the world of work as a source of exhaustion. The ever-increasing demand for productivity, which digital resources have failed to slow down, is shortening people’s time. “We need to be masters of our time”, maintains Lucia Sanchez, going in the direction of Marx who wrote in 1867 in The capitalthat work “steals the time which should be employed in breathing the open air and enjoying the light of sleep”.
We need to be in control of our time
And to the question of the overload or the arduous nature of physical work, there is the question of meaning. “Often the tasks are absurd, we are a small cog in a machine where our work has neither beginning nor end,” explains the director. She thus joins the philosopher Hélène L’Hœuillet who develops in the feature film the idea that we can rest when a task is finished, but is it ever really finished?
And if we wondered “what’s the use”
To face this ambient fatigue, Lucia Sanchez has chosen to show other possibilities. “The film wanted to be optimistic and assertive, I don’t have the energy to give up, rather to criticize and fight,” she tells us. More broadly, questioning the meaning is the result that the director hopes to bring about: “We should stop more often, ask ourselves what’s the point and realize that it’s not just this cult of the always more,” she concludes.
(1) I am tired a documentary by Lucia Sanchez, available on francetvinfo.fr
(2) Hélène L’Hœillet is the author of The Praise of DelayEd. Albin Michel, €15.
(3) Georges Vigarello is the author ofFatigue historyEd. Threshold, €25.