Sunday, February 9, 2014

OK, You've Got My Attention

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You AreThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your LifeThe Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life by Luc Ferry

Within the space of several hours this morning, I've read the following from a shoot-from-the-hip writer/research professor and a French philosopher/former Minister of Education. The emphases are mine.

'Practicing critical awareness is about reality-checking the messages and expectations that drive the "never good enough" gremlins. From the time we wake up to the time our head hits the pillow at night, we are bombarded with messages and expectations about every aspect of our lives. From magazine ads and TV commercials to movies and music, we're told exactly what we should look like, how much we should weigh, how often we should have sex, how we should parent, how we should decorate our houses, and which car we should drive. It's absolutely overwhelming, and, in my opinion, no one is immune. Trying to avoid media messages is like holding your breath to avoid air pollution--it's not going to happen.' --Brene Brown, "The Gifts of Imperfection," p.67

'Let us avoid misunderstanding: I have no intention of indulging in yet another neo-Marxist diatribe against "consumer society," even less of trying my hand at the now ritual critique of the publicity machine. It is not at all clear, to my mind, that the suppression of advertising would in any sense change the underlying problems. Quite simply, as a father and a former Minister for Education, it has seemed to me crucial for us to put the frenzy of acquisition and ownership in its place--secondary, despite everything--and to make our children understand that acquisition is not the alpha and omega of existence: that it does not remotely begin to map the horizon of human life. To help children resist the pressures imposed by advertising, to allow them to free themselves or at least establish some inner distance, it is essential--perhaps even a matter of survival, if we remember how addiction is sometimes fatal--to provide them as early as possible with the elements of an interior life that runs deep and is lasting. To which end we must, I think, hold fast to the fundamental principle I have just outlined, according to which the more that individuals are endowed with strong values (cultural, moral, spiritual), the less they experience the need to acquire for the sake of acquisition and to press the "buy" button for no reason; the less, accordingly, will they be weakened by the chronic dissatisfaction created by an infinite multiplication of artificial needs. Put differently, we must help our children to accord greater importance to the logic of Being as against the logic of Having. It is in this spirit that I dedicate this book to all parents anxious to make a true present to their children--one that accompanies them on their search and that is not discarded on Christmas morning as soon as the wrapping has been removed.' --Luc Ferry, "The Wisdom of the Myths," p. 41

Now, I'm going to put this in my philosophical pipe, and smoke it.

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