A couple of Sundays back I went to a public lecture organised by "The School of Life". The talk was titled 'Shipwrecked' and the speaker was the health psychologist Vincent Deary, who has just published a book called "How to Live". I found the talk a bit meandering and lacking in substance. It seemed that Deary had spent some time contemplating life, made some observations about habit and change, and then embellished his thoughts with quotes from contemporary and ancient culture. The most valuable, indirect lesson from the talk is that we all walk our own journey and its up to each of us to make sense of it in our own, unique way...and perhaps for some people, their way is to write it all down and then send their thoughts off to the publishers.
I've just had a quick search and Deary's next books will be called 'How We Break' and 'How We Mend'. It feels a bit like the Lord of the Rings or Hunger Games movies, in that Deary's books are being stretched out unnecessarily. This would also explain why the talk seemed to lack substance.
As a side note, I used to like books with wise quotes pulled from here and there, but these days I am wary of the possibility that the author doesn't have enough original content, and that decoration with quotes may be a strategy to boost credibility.
And now I am wary of my growing cynicism.
A few random notes for the eternal repository:
- It is the encroachment or disruption to our lives and our habits that makes life interesting.
- 'be careful what you get good at' - (Rust from the series True Detective)
- The idea of liminality: no longer/not yet
- On habits: We are homeostasis machines in that we strive to maintain the status quo.
- There seems to be a pervasive cultural discourse of brokenness i.e. broken society, we are not sitting properly, eating properly, etc. It's a 'we are not quite right' message. There is a message about being your true self, but the self is fluid in nature.
- "To live is to feel oneself lost." - Jose Ortega y Gasset