March 11, 2007

Three fervid writers.

Linked (by me) on Instapundit. Reserved over here for comment purposes:
"A LOW, THROBBING, VIOLENT, READY-TO-RUMBLE HUM DRIFTS past the espresso machine, past the rack of alternative weeklies, past the wall exhibit of photos from a faculty member's trip to Florence, past the plastic tub where you put your dirty cups and spoons." RLC reads something rantish in the NYT and rants back -- with pictures of "the menacing black hole that unnerved the Times writer."

"I WAKE UP AT NIGHT AND I SPIN, countless thoughts, tripping over each other. My crazy work schedule this semester, the bid for a new condo, I’ll be moving, everyone’s moving, I’m in Cervinia but the Law School is just emails away. I need to write more, I need to moonlight, I need to sleep."

"THE UNEASY, 'INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS' SENSE that regular people, who were funny-shaped and neurotic and sincere and inefficient, were suddenly having to compete with -- and losing to, and inexorably being replaced by -- a new kind of 24/7 success cyborg that had had doubt and depression and down time genetically engineered out of it."

6 comments:

Sissy Willis said...

I was noting to myself the very fervidness of those three links and was savoring them, thinking how un-Instapunditish they were, when I realized they were your choices. :-)

Ann Althouse said...

LOL. I'm trying to bring some vortex.

JorgXMcKie said...

I'm pretty sure I read that 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' thingy around the time it was written. I feel the same way about it now as I did then. Understand that I've *never* been one of those Pod People.

What a bunch of whining about 'go-getters'. It reads like the author presumed the Flower Children won totally in the late '60s-early '70s and no one would ever strive or seek to differentiate themselves again. We'd just all live like Bohemian artists and allow good things to come to us.

Face it! Different people have different levels of willingness to 'strive' for success. Of course those pushy types make some of us laid-back types uncomfortable. So what?

What really apparently bugs both authors (of the original piece and the blogger who posted it) is apparently that *it works*!! At least for some people.

I just love how easily the 'do your own thing' morphs into 'unless it makes me the least uncomfortable'.

Hey, those pushy types frequently make it possible for us loafers to live a good life with very little effort. I don't care about people who believe "Whoever dies with the most toys wins" because that's not what motivates me. (And I have no real intention of dying.)

I think what really bugs the authors is the 'bright-eyed and bushy-tailed' aspect of some of the Pod People. It's evidently okay to work hard and strive *as long as you look miserable doing it*.

Sad, really.

Annie said...

What bothers me, as someone with a slightly depressive (or hypomanic-depressive) temperament that I keep in check with exercise (martial art), is, you're right, the "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" aspect of the manic type who never flags or doubts, retailing their own temperament for everyone. As success books go, I prefer something like Barbara Sher's humorous books about how you can do what you want without becoming a better person first (disclaimer: I helped her write one of them) or, on a more serious note, David Reynolds' "Constructive Living," based on Japanese psychotherapy. Both teach you not to let your feelings run your actions, or lack thereof. That is, you can and should do what you have to do even when you're feeling lousy.

Everyone's reacting to Clements' essay as if it was against accomplishment. What she's complaining about is much more the lack of scruples of some of the '80s go-getters, and the elevation of success above kindness or thinking about life or savoring experience. No matter how much we expose the '60s for the affluence-based fraud they were, you have to admit that American culture speeded up and became much more fast-paced, competitive, and extroverted in the '80s. And not every temperament was cut out for that, and those who weren't were not all pampered flower children. The downsized and the rust-belted also suffered.

Annie said...

I meant to put links in that comment. Here's Barbara Sher (who, by the way, was willing to do whatever it took to be successful; I still have the tread marks). Here's Costructive Living.

- amba aka annie

Annie said...

One more: this is the page with Constructive Living basics.

The problem with that effort is that feelings cannot be turned on and off at will. We cannot make ourselves stop feeling nervous before an exam or tense before a job interview. Feelings are natural aspects of the situations in which we find ourselves. They are natural and uncontrollable, like the weather. So the best way to handle feelings is to acknowledge them, accept them, learn from them, and to go on about doing what needs to be done.

Behavior, in contrast, is controllable in spite of feelings. We are responsible for what we do no matter what we are feeling. As time passes so do feelings unless they are restimulated by actions or other circumstances. Reality provides us with a variety of information about what needs to be done, feelings are only one source of such information.


Apparently Japanese neurotics can become particularly paralyzed, and Masatake Morita developed this therapy to get them unstuck. Another aspect of CL is derived from Naikan, which teaches gratitude -- the recognition that we cannot be what we are or do what we do without enormous contributions from the environment and other people (the guy who bakes the bread, who built the chair, etc.). Not very Ayn Rand. . . .