Appearing on Conan, Louis C.K. brilliantly deconstructs why he hates the technology surrounding us and why he won’t allow his kids to have smartphones – they become tools for avoiding sadness and loneliness, and thus a true understanding of the self:
Tag Archives | Meaning of Life
People who report leading happy but meaningless lives experience unhealthy genetic changes similar to those found in the chronically stressed. Via the Atlantic, Emily Esfahani Smith writes:
Many studies have noted the connection between a happy mind and a healthy body — the happier you are, the better health outcomes we seem to have.
But a new study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenges that picture. It specifically explored the difference between a meaningful life and a happy life, on the biological level.
Researchers Cole and Fredrickson found that people who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity. That is, the bodies of these happy people are preparing them for bacterial threats by activating the pro-inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation is, of course, associated with major illnesses like heart disease and various cancers.
“What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow-creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.”
So begins Albert Einstein’s The World As I See It, a collection of essays, articles and letters written between 1922 and 1934 focusing on the humane aspect of this scientific genius and revealing him as a man of compassion and wisdom all too aware of the pressing need for science to serve the well-being of humanity.
There are countless documentaries and books discussing Einstein’s enduring legacy to modern science – few are unaware of his contributions to the field of theoretical physics: the general theory of relativity and the E = mc2 formula for mass-energy equivalence are perhaps universally known (if not necessarily understood).… Read the rest
Susie Steinert in the Guardian on the divide between the lives people should be living, and the lives they are living. A common theme: don’t become closed off emotionally in the name of routine or not making waves:
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai.
Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.” Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.