The philosophy of Stoicism – Massimo Pigliucci
The dense block of wisdom that is Aldous Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy provides many quotes for contemplation.
“Sufficient not only unto the day, but also unto the place, the evil thereof. Agitation over happenings which we are powerless to modify, either because they have not yet occurred are occurring at an inaccessible distance us, achieves nothing beyond the inoculation of here and now with the remote or anticipated evil that is the object of our distress. Listening four or five times a day to newscasters and commentators, reading the morning papers and all the weeklies and monthly nowadays, this is described “taking an intelligent interest in politics.” St. John of the Cross would have called it indulgence in idle curiosity and the cultivation of disquietude for disquietude’s sake.” Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy, p, 103-104
Done as a cost cutting measure at the time, the decision not to sign up for cable TV three years ago has mostly been a positive one. In no way do I miss the gloom-and-doom newscasts.
There was a time when I felt compelled to read the Daily News and the New York Post. At times I had even picked up the pricier New York Times. Most likely because at that time I was still in college and had declared Political Science as one of my three majors. Reading newspapers is seems now like such a long time ago.
I wonder if the pre-Internet, pre-soundbite, generations were leading comparatively ‘happier’ lives than we do today?
Contemporary thinking tends to equate technological progress with quality of life. Much like what we mean by the term evolution is not a necessarily progress towards a positive, but only what is advantageous due to current circumstances, and also comes with trade-offs (see here), so is the thinking that what we have right now, today, is the best case scenario of the circumstances that have led us to live the way that we do today.
If there has never been a better time to live then now then what have we give up to have this luxury?