Category: Thoughts

Sadness

December 10, 2016 | By | 2 Comments

So I have given some thought lately to sadness that can come from nowhere. Perhaps you know the feeling – life is going just fine, and all the sudden, with no apparent cause, you find yourself unhappy.

I tried to put some of my thoughts in a poem, which you can find below. It’s not a great poem, and it’s not finished, but I have found that if I wait to do something until it is perfect, or as good as it could be, or even as good as I want it to be – well – I wouldn’t get much done.

So here’s to some incomplete thoughts, in an incomplete poem, and my own contentment with it as it is ,and not as it could be:

​Have you ever felt sad, but didn’t know why?
Everything seems fine, except the melancholy underlying.
It is strange, this palpable dissonance,
Between a good fortune and discontentment.
Stranger still is our impotence,
To change our feelings despite our purest intendment.
What answer can I give to a heart so affected?
Perhaps, even in comfort, a heart’s deepest longings are neglected.

Technology and Sleep (or Lack Thereof)

March 22, 2016 | By | 1 Comment

Apple just released iOS 9.3, and with it, a novel new feature called night shift. The premise is simple. At sunset, the screen automatically reduces blue shades of light known to disrupt sleep. Brilliant – not in the luminous sense – right?

Yes and no. Mitigating the adverse affects technology has on our health is surely a good thing. We live in a sleep deprived culture, and science is just beginning to understand how sleep affects daily mood and even our chances of developing serious diseases and medical conditions. Getting more and better sleep is a good thing for all of us.

But I wonder if this points to a deeper problem. If viewing bright lights at night is deleterious for our sleep, and we begin to create apps and programs that mitigate this problem, shouldn’t this cause us to rethink how we use technology – or how it is using us?

What if our main issue is not that we happen to view too much blue light too late in the evening, but that we allow technology – the tool that should allow us greater control – to control us. Nature has prescribed plenty of healthy activities for us to engage in after sunset. Relaxing, talking with friends, perhaps a stroll outside, and the seemingly elusive bedtime rituals that prepare our minds and bodies for restful, healthful, and restorative sleep. Technology often works against all that nature has prescribed.

Is this what technology is for? Are we using our technology, or is it using us?

“All human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.” Blaise Pascal

 

Post Script:
I am obviously not advocating that all technological use after sunset is always bad. Indeed in our culture it is sometimes necessary. But perhaps we should rethink what is “necessary” if we truly desire to foster healthy bodies and minds. Also, the program f.lux is a another extremely helpful programs that can reduce light that negatively affects sleep.

Post Post Script:
My friend drew this picture and thinking about this issue reminded me of it:

Internet and Life Goals

Exercising Wisdom

September 25, 2014 | By | 3 Comments

Whenever I read Augustine, I wonder why I read anything else. I do not mean Augustine is the only author worth reading, but rather that the depth and profundity of his ideas seems to nearly eclipse the normative (and comparative) trash I regularly find in the news or on the Internet. People are so eager to write about something new – to get you to click on their article or watch their video. In the last 24 hours I have seen so many comments on the iPhone 6 Plus possibly bending that I am tempted to believe that actually matters. Unbelievable, except for the fact that, at least for a time, I believed it today.

When I read Augustine I am reminded of the weighty matters of life – wisdom, truth, justice, integrity, love, happiness, and community. These things matters, and they are issues one is more likely to misunderstand just to the degree that one is likely to claim to understand them.

I do not claim to understand them. Yet I live many days as if my understanding is sufficient. This should be sufficient evidence that it is not.

I long for a simpler life, a life not berated by technology, a life characterized by patience, contentment, wonder, curiosity, creativity, friendship, vulnerability, and deep community.

Where am I likely to find this life? Not in the places I usually look (online). It’s so hard to break free from the monotonous rhythm of triviality our society venerates and mass-produces.

Maybe I am being too hard on myself.

I struggle deeply with anxiety, and am frustrated that our culture does not foster a healthy pace or clear vision of meaning. When I read Augustine (or many other philosophers for that matter), something in my soul resonates with the depth and seriousness with which he approaches life. Where can I find that today?

My Head Hurts

October 21, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

My head hurts. I took a nap at 5pm. Bad idea. I knew it was a bad idea too. Apparently, knowing that something is not good doesn’t stop us from doing it, which is a remarkable thing to consider.

I feel as if I have done little of worth today. This was my own choosing. I lost the battle today to work towards something meaningful. The buzz of distraction drowned out the tasks set upon me.

But tomorrow is a new day. I am reminded of the words of William James, “If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.” I think I’ll try that.

Reflections on Work

October 21, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

I have done things that I enjoy, but more things that I do not.

The average office worker works 2-3 hours during an 8 hour day. The rest of the time is spent talking, piddling, or aimlessly browsing the web.

Why?

We settle.

We were not meant for confined spaces, nor to be glued a screen. It revolves with changing texts, pictures, and videos, but it does not cure us, nor can it.

We must find a vocation that captures our heart, and demands more than mindless effort.

We must not, while alive, fail to live.