Cel mai bun “profil” pe care l-am citit în ultimul an. Stephen Colbert, vorbind despre ce a însemnat să-și piardă tatăl și doi frați când avea zece ani:
‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.
I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
The problem is that my brain feels stuffed with so much information and pulled in so many directions that there is no room left to take in anything more, much less to figure out how what’s already in there fits together.
My brain has become less a repository for knowledge than a perpetual motion machine.
You don’t need another polemic on the evils of overload, overwhelm and overdrive. You’ve got so many URLs left to visit before you sleep, and such limited attention to parse out along the way. I ask you to indulge me just briefly.
At the risk of losing all credibility, I believe our attention crisis has reached a new Defcon level. I can’t prove it, but I sense it in countless conversations, like the one I had last night in which a young woman told me that she found it difficult to read even a short article on the Internet all the way through. Or the person who told me that being asked in a meeting to turn off email prompts in him something close to a panic attack.
Tony Schwartz – Struggling to Disconnect From Our Digital Lives
Here is the story of The Day Jacques Pépin Saved My Life. That’s how I tell it, anyway —at parties, over dinner, on those occasions when a friend finds himself drowning in his own life and I’m cast as an unlikely dispenser of wisdom. That’s when I try to assure him that salvation can come in the most unlikely of guises: in the guise, say, of Jacques Pépin, who, when I, too, was lost and deep in dark waters, came along and showed me the way to back to the light.
Brett Martin – The Chef Who Saved My Life
Instead of highlighting the realities of single life, Esquire‘s portrayal of bachelorhood was based on looking and acting the part of the swinging ladies’ man, even though most of the magazine’s readers were married. Esquire’s idealized postwar bachelor had no obligations outside of his own desire for women and luxury products (often considered one in the same). He bought his own clothes, drove his own car, and took solo vacations to exotic places. The bachelor became a symbol of postwar consumerism and hedonism, and as a result, became a symbol of freedom for white American men looking for a way to feel important again.
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite – How Esquire Engineered the Modern Bachelor
Taken together, the current research on sleep offers us a valuable lesson. We all want to be productive and effective at what we do. But when we try to boost productivity by expanding our waking hours, we aren’t doing anyone any favors. We lose more by skimping on rest than we can ever gain back by adding a few hours to our days. We are less productive, less insightful, less happy, more likely to get sick. And we have no idea just how much we’ve compromised our abilities and health in the process: ask most anyone and they will tell you they do just fine with five, six hours. We systematically undervalue sleep, and yet it is fundamental to our present and future performance. And unlike most anything else, sleep is one of the few things we have to do ourselves. No one can do it for you.
Maria Konnikova – The Walking Dead
Un studiu recent arată că oamenii bogați tind să fie fericiți dar nu neapărat mulțumiți de felul în care trăiesc:
They often have jobs that entail long hours, high pressure and working vacations.
“Part of this pressure to keep going is less about greed and more about insecurity that might be self-imposed,” Ms. Polito said. “If you ask people, ‘If you knew you had five more years to live, would you act differently?’ they say they would. That’s a showstopper.”
Așa că unii, deși au milioane de dolari, aleg să traiască ca și cum nu le-ar avea, mergând zece ani cu aceeași mașină și cumpărând haine la preț redus:
It’s about paying attention to what makes you happy and not just doing what our society tells us to do,” said Donna Skeels Cygan, a financial adviser in Albuquerque and the author of the book “The Joy of Financial Security.”
“They look upon money as a tool,” she said of couples like Ms. Marchi and Mr. Weidner, with whom she has worked. “It’s an important tool. They don’t neglect it, but they also don’t worship it.”
A few weeks ago, I asked readers to send in essays describing their purpose in life and how they found it. A few thousand submitted contributions, and many essays are online. I’ll write more about the lessons they shared in the weeks ahead, but one common theme surprised me.
I expected most contributors would follow the commencement-speech clichés of our high-achieving culture: dream big; set ambitious goals; try to change the world. In fact, a surprising number of people found their purpose by going the other way, by pursuing the small, happy life.
David Brooks – The Small, Happy Life
Jonathan Malesic – Don’t Search for “Purpose”. You Will Fail
I was once reasonably dignified. I dressed like a gentleman and luxuriated in the cultural heritage of Western civilization. My three places of residence—my home, my office, and my mind—were free of clutter and arranged so as to allow me both to make the most of my days and to begin to venture out into intellectual life. Then I became a father.
Jonathan V. Last – A Dad’s Life
When I first got married and had kids, I had some friends I played poker with on Mondays and I thought: The poker game on Mondays, that’s the water line. If I don’t make that game, I’m losing something. I’m losing something if I don’t make it to that game. It means I’m letting go of my youth, I’m letting go of my manhood, all these things — my independence.
But then after a while I realized: Why would I want to go play poker with a bunch of guys in a smoky room when I could be at home with my family? I realized that a lot of the things that my kid was taking away from me, she was freeing me of. There was this huge pride in having a kid and also that I didn’t matter anymore. The greatest thing about having a child is putting yourself second in your own life. It’s a massive gift to be able to say you’re not the most important person to yourself.
NPR Fresh Air – Louis C.K. on life and stand-up
What we encounter in the current business, media and policy euphoria for being social is what might be called “neoliberal socialism”. Sharing is preferable to selling, so long as it does not interfere with the financial interests of dominant corporations. Appealing to people’s moral and altruistic sense becomes the best way of nudging them into line with agendas that they had no say over. Brands and behaviours can be unleashed as social contagions, without money ever changing hands. Empathy and relationships are celebrated, but only as particular habits that happy individuals have learned to practise. Everything that was once external to economic logic, such as friendship, is quietly brought within it.
William Davies – How friendship became a tool of the powerful