I read a lot. In this weekly post I present a summary of some of the things which have caught my eye this week, along with a few thoughts about each of them. By doing this I hope to live a more authentic life and improve my level of self-knowledge:
If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.
- Isaac Newton
Another week, another opinion piece: Leveson – Was It Worth It?
Leveson hasn’t grasped that once politicians set regulations for journalists then you establish a new hierarchy. And this hierarchy isn’t a one which I want, as it puts politicians in control of the press.
Do you agree? Leave a comment below:
I also started to post a detailed summary of the book A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine.
Elsewhere I read an article in the Wall Street Journal by Oliver Burkeman (I’m reading his book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking which I posted about here – it expands on the themes outlined in the article)
In summary he advocates negative thinking:
Just thinking in sober detail about worst-case scenarios — a technique the Stoics called “the premeditation of evils” — can help to sap the future of its anxiety-producing power. The psychologist Julie Norem estimates that about one-third of Americans instinctively use this strategy, which she terms “defensive pessimism.” Positive thinking, by contrast, is the effort to convince yourself that things will turn out fine, which can reinforce the belief that it would be absolutely terrible if they didn’t.
It’s worth reading the full piece and I can definately recommend The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking!
The Antidote was also mentioned here; this article suggests a link to the principles outlined in Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman
… Seligman, however, also corroborates what’s perhaps Burkeman’s most central admonition — that the extreme individualism and ambition our society worships has created a culture in which the fear of failure dictates all. As Seligman puts it:
Depression is a disorder of the ‘I,’ failing in your own eyes relative to your goals. In a society in which individualism is becoming rampant, people more and more believe that they are the center of the world. Such a belief system makes individual failure almost inconsolable.
The solution is to use optimism as a means to individual well-being. The video below discusses the fact that we tend to have an inbuilt optimism bias but perhaps optimism should only come about via a learned process (which I’ve written about before)? This learned optimism process probably should be modified to incorporate the use of defensive pessimism to inform our beliefs and to also help us to anticipate adversities.
Read any great articles this week? Leave a comment below.
Inspiring photo of the week
Quotes of the week
From here and here:
Videos of the week
I’ve been watching The Corporation; a documentary which examines the legal status of a business as you would a person and questions how that person behaves towards society. This is explored through various case studies and examples. It suggests that this “person” has a tendency to act like a psychopath without ethics or indeed conscience. This has implications for us and our planet and suggests how people with courage and determination can stop it.
Read any good articles this week? Leave a comment below: