Category Archives: meaning of life

Choose *YOUR* type of success

“We’ve got one of the most ridiculous and paradoxical ideas at large in modern society – is this idea of work-life balance. In other words, you can be a success at work, and you can be a success at home with your family. … The bad news for listeners is that you can’t.” — ALAIN DE BOTTON

http://www.npr.org/2013/11/01/240782763/what-s-a-kinder-way-to-frame-success
and click the audio link (not the video)

or transcript here: http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=240782763

“DE BOTTON: You know, there’s a problem because – well, you know, as anyone who’s ever tried to do anything well and wholeheartedly knows, there’s only so many hours in the day. So we have to make some choices. What do we want to be successful at, and as? Do we want to be a successful parent? Do we want to be successful financially or in terms of reputation, or in terms of changing the world or – you know, there are many, many criteria. And I think we’re not given enough of a guidance by our schools, families, the surrounding environment, at the idea that there’s going to have to be a choice around that word “successful.” So don’t get me wrong. I’m not against success. It’s very important to strive to be successful. But before you do that, I think it’s even more important to try and tighten up the definition of what success might be for you ’cause it’s unlikely to be something that will be, you know, a one-size-fits-all.”

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Filed under american dream, meaning of life, success, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, time, work-life balance

Happiness and hard work

The Problem With Positive Thinking
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/opinion/sunday/the-problem-with-positive-thinking.html?_r=0
“Mental Contrasting…. When participants have performed mental contrasting with reasonable, potentially attainable wishes, they have come away more energized and achieved better results compared with participants who either positively fantasized or dwelt on the obstacles.”


Victor Frankl — On Superficial Happiness vs Purpose/Meaning
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/?single_page=true
My problem with this article is it is using “pursuit of happiness” in a manner that is inconsistent with the meaning in the Declaration of Independence where it does mean something closer to finding meaning and purpose. One has to agree on definitions of terms before one writes a long articles.
Define happiness?


Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, by Daniel Greenberg
http://www.sudval.org/essays/082007.shtml
“The word happiness did not mean the same thing in the 18th century in American English as it means today. Today we relate the word to the concept of joy or pleasure. Happiness back then meant the realization of an individuals potential. This country is based on the goal that every individual citizen should be free to pursue their dream and to realize it.”
“… In a nutshell, if you think about the pursuit of happiness and all this phrase signifies, you are almost forced into a Sudbury-model school.”


Cal Newport — http://calnewport.com/
He writes about workplace happiness and generally the idea that it comes from hard work
“…it leads people who have a “passion” to believe that all they have to do is match a job to that passion — if they do so, they’ll love their work from day one. In reality, however, they are almost certainly not going to love their work from day one, as this love requires traits like autonomy, competence, and impact that can take a while to develop. The result is that they end up confused and anxious, believing, perhaps, that they choose the *wrong* passion and that they should switch to another job. The notion of “passion” has become a red herring that distracts them from the real path to meaning and satisfaction.”

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Filed under happiness, meaning of life, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Exposure and/or Passions

“A simple maxim: don’t expose and don’t look for passions; just listen and make good suggestions”

“I have found over the years that things that make me angry give me a passion to fix them.”

“… They should be passionate about getting a job someday.”

— Roger Schank
http://educationoutrage.blogspot.com/2014/02/help-your-child-find-their-passion.html

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See also: “Forget Following Your Heart – Follow Your Heartbreak”
http://www.angelamaiers.com/2013/09/forget-following-your-heart-follow-your-heartbreak.html

See also: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/08/turning-passion-on-its-head.html

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Filed under education, jobs, kids -- freedom and responsibility, meaning of life, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, work

Freedom is hard… especially when you aren’t accustomed to it

Good insights from Ran Prieur here:

“When you begin to get free, you will get depressed. It works like this: When you were three years old, if your parents weren’t too bad, you knew how to play spontaneously. Then you had to go to school, where everything you did was required. The worst thing is that even the fun activities, like singing songs and playing games, were commanded under threat of punishment. So even play got tied up in your mind with a control structure, and severed from the life inside you. If you were “rebellious”, you preserved the life inside you by connecting it to forbidden activities, which are usually forbidden for good reasons, and when your rebellion ended in suffering and failure, you figured the life inside you was not to be trusted. If you were “obedient”, you simply crushed the life inside you almost to death.

Freedom means you’re not punished for saying no. The most fundamental freedom is the freedom to do nothing. But when you get this freedom, after many years of activities that were forced, nothing is all you want to do. You might start projects that seem like the kind of thing you’re supposed to love doing, music or writing or art, and not finish because nobody is forcing you to finish and it’s not really what you want to do. It could take months, if you’re lucky, or more likely years, before you can build up the life inside you to an intensity where it can drive projects that you actually enjoy and finish, and then it will take more time before you build up enough skill that other people recognize your actions as valuable.”

RAN PRIEUR
http://ranprieur.com/essays/dropout.html

I think this also relates to why it an be hard for people to get away from TV, Facebook, buying stuff as noted here: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-real-reason-for-the-40-hour-workweek-2014-6
It’s not just time. 40 hours a week is not that much. (If one sleeps 8 hours a night, there are 112 awake hours per week, so if you are at work (plus commuting) say 45 hours a week, that leaves 67 hours!)
So there are more complicated reasons for our consumer society.

Society probably does not do people a favor by focusing on the idea that one must find meaning in life through your work. This idea seems very ingrained, at least here in the US. Because then people feel bad that they are not, and forget that they can look elsewhere.

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SEE RELATED:
– The Most Basic Freedom is the Freedom to Quit, by Peter Gray
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201304/the-most-basic-freedom-is-freedom-quit

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Filed under consumer society, meaning of life, work-life balance

Remembering how to play as an adult

Two quotes about people reconnecting with what they like to do by thinking about what they liked to do when they were kids and PLAYED!

“Try to remember the way you saw the world when you were a little kid, and practice it. This will help with the guilt, since kids never feel guilty about playing, and it will also keep you from getting too spiritually stagnant.”
— Ran Prieur
http://ranprieur.com/advice.html

“So one of the things I wanted to do [after stopping work at google] was think about what I liked to do when I was little and to do more of that. I had heard somewhere from someone that that’s a good way to figure out what you like and what you are good at. So, I spent more time doing things that I liked to do a long time ago.”
— Ellen Huerta Interview: Why I Left Google

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Filed under ageism, freedom, kids -- freedom and responsibility, meaning of life, play, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, work-life balance

social media: mainly talking about ourselves

“…while 30 to 40 percent of ordinary conversation consists of people talking about themselves, some 80 percent of social-media updates fall in the same category? “Ordinarily, in a social context, we get feedback from other people,” Boyd told me. “They might roll their eyes to indicate they don’t want to hear so much about us. But online, you don’t have that.””

The Selfish Meme
Twitter, dopamine, and the evolutionary advantages of talking about oneself
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/10/the-selfish-meme/309080/

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Filed under meaning of life, social media

video games vs real life

Some collected quotes on video games and real life. By Ran Prieur and maybe some others…

— “I think the reason people like difficulty in games more than in real life, is that games are more densely and consistently rewarding. ” — Ran Prieur 8/7/2013 Blog

— Future w/ Virtual Reality and Augmented Intelligence, etc: “The key question is: Can you have the experience of going into a computer and coming back?” — Ran Prieur, http://www.ranprieur.com/essays/machines.html

— “Although we all realize that monotony is boring, almost every form of industrial work- banking, accounting, mass-producing, service- is monotonous, and most people are paid for simply putting up with monotony.” — Alan Watts

— Escaping vs Expanding: “Fifty years ago, how many kids emerged from books with tools that they used to change the world or their place in it? And how many do so now with video games?”
— “In a good society, usefulness and pleasure are one: every necessary activity is something that people find intrinsically meaningful and enjoyable, and everything people feel like doing feeds the whole system. When a society begins to depend on tasks that nobody feels like doing, it needs to fill the work motivation gap with extrinsic motivators: usually social pressure, physical threats, and rewards of money and status.”
— Rain Prieur http://www.ranprieur.com/essays/unfin-tech.html

— “… what we need is Sim Fall, a game with honest simulations of the ecological costs of technologies, the inefficiency of central control, human malaise, and other reasons that every empire falls. Most important, we need something that no strategy game has ever had: all increase must be reversible. Buildings, roads, and military units decay over time, and have to be maintained or rebuilt at great expense.” March 17-19 2007
http://ranprieur.com/archives/011.html

— “…humans have two contradictory desires. We want to feel like we’re valuable people living good lives, which itself is a massive and difficult subject. A good place to start is the famous video, The surprising truth about what motivates us. The other thing we want is for life to be easy, but there is a trade-off between a good life and an easy life.
This conflict comes into clearer focus as more work is automated. Do you want a machine where you push a button and food comes out, or do you want the challenge and personal empowerment of growing and preparing food with your own hands? This was not an issue in preindustrial civilization, when work was done by slaves and peasants. The lower classes suffered, but not from existential angst, and the elite felt important because they were ruling actual humans. Now there is a growing class of people who have no political power but are served by machines.
If the tech system can adapt to resource exhaustion, we might emerge into a high-tech utopia/dystopia, in which it’s easy to be comfortable but difficult to be happy. Social class will no longer be about power or even standard of living, but valuable activity. The upper class will hold the few important jobs that still require humans. The middle class will be hobbyists, practicing difficult skills that are not necessary for society. And the lower class will be content to consume entertainment.” — Ran Prieur, 11/28/2012
http://www.ranprieur.com/archives/041.html

— Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life
“Reality is broken, says Jane McGonigal, and we need to make it work more like a game.”
http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life.html

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Filed under essential, happiness, meaning of life, motivation, person: Ran Prieur, video games, work