Two pessimistic articles that made a big impact on me recently are this The Case for Not Being Born | The New Yorker and this I am not always very attached to being alive.
I think there is a strong case for being born (many, in fact) and also many reasons to be attached to being alive. But it is not nonsense to think otherwise. I think those articles bear that out.
I like that image: depending on your frame of mind, it is someone floating and enjoying the water, or someone reaching out for help. No form of thinking is more important than how you align your thoughts; everything follows from there.
There are stages in parenthood when your children occupy all of your mental time, and when they do, you may find your mind is closed. If before parenthood you found yourself open to contemplate and examine ideas, after parenthood you may find that your ability to do that has shutdown. I found that for certain stages of the life of my child, all of my time was spent either focusing on their care or worrying about them. But then there were stages when they settled down and there was less to worry about and my mind freed up again.
If you are a parent and you find yourself wrapped up in the state of your child, you should believe that that will pass, and while you never stop thinking about them, you will find you think / worry about them less. This is a good thing.
These are all links I’ve come across recently and thought worthwhile:
If you are not used to reading philosophy, the first one is a must read. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to read philosophy in a way that leaves you frustrated.
I’ve seen references to virtue ethics (as well as stoicism) frequently these days: if you aren’t familiar with it, that link is a good starting point to get to know it.
Finally, the last link is useful if you are new to philosophy and want to know it better but find it hard to get started.
(Image from http://uucch.org/morning-philosophy-group)
Over the last year or so, I’ve found these worthwhile pieces on how to think about life and how to improve it. If you find one of these worthwhile and it improves your life as a result of you reading it, then I think collecting and writing about these is worthwhile.
- If you are feeling lonely and want to understand and deal with it better, consider this: The Science of Loneliness: How Isolation Can Kill You – New Republic
- One idea you can consider: talk to strangers. Hello, Stranger – NYTimes.com
- If you need new ways to live a better life, courtesy of a famous person….7 Steps to Living a Bill Murray Life – Vulture
- Or if you like to write, try to improve your life via writing: Writing Your Way to Happiness – NYTimes.com (I am guessing some writers would not agree with it)
- If you struggle to be happy, this could help: Everyone wants to be happy. Almost everyone is going about it wrong. – Vox
- If you want to be more optimistic, consider the big picture, presented here: A Cockeyed Optimist – NYTimes.com
- If you think you are working too much and are often thinking of cutting back, this could help you: Keynes’ 15 Hour Work Week Is Here Right Now
- Lots of good ideas via a collected stream of tweets, here: Things @GhostfaceKnitta Learned in 2015 (with tweets) · valerieinto · Storify
- Why should you give away money and be happier: Giving money away makes us happy. Then why do so few of us do it? – Vox
- Don’t hesitate when it comes to improving your life. You have less time than you think. See this to see why: These graphics will make you rethink your life – Tech Insider
- Being laid off will happen to everyone. If that’s you now, and you are struggling with it, consider: Advice For the Recently Laid Off – Medium
- Self Confidence makes for a better life. Here’s how to become that way and more so: The Truth On How To Become Self Confident
- Change your mind, change your life. How? One way: Rewire your brain: Why Practice Makes Perfect: How to Rewire Your Brain for Performance
- If you struggle with your thoughts (e.g., worry too much), read : BBC – Future – Why we should stop worrying about our wandering minds
- Sometimes the way to improve our lives is not to have more, but to seek less and not be caught up in the trappings of status. To live a simpler life, like this: Here’s why one of the world’s richest men wears hand-me-down clothes – The Washington Post
- More on how to live with less. Living With Less. A Lot Less. – The New York Times
(Image from one of the articles linked to on NYTimes.com)
If you read this Open Culture post, Director Robert Rodriguez Teaches The Basics of Filmmaking in Under 10 Minutes, you’d be inclined to say “no”. As for me, I appreciate the points raised in the piece. Much of directed learning in school is less than valuable. That said, there are many ways to learn: experience, reading and watching how others do things, schools and teachers. The idea of limiting yourself to one way of learning is to deprive yourself unnecessarily. Learn any which way you can.