walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

File under: How Did That Happen?

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/can-reading-make-you-happier

"In response to the question “What is preoccupying you at the moment?,” I was surprised by what I wanted to confess: I am worried about having no spiritual resources to shore myself up against the inevitable future grief of losing somebody I love, I wrote. I’m not religious, and I don’t particularly want to be, but I’d like to read more about other people’s reflections on coming to some sort of early, weird form of faith in a “higher being” as an emotional survival tactic. Simply answering the questions made me feel better, lighter."

This is a person who is old enough to be publishing a long piece in the New Yorker and yet has never lost "somebody I love".

Not a pet? Not a grandparent? No friends suicided? Asthma did not take down anyone you knew? No one you cared about dead in an alcohol related automobile accident your senior year in high school? No one in your extended family dead in a weird murder suicide that would never wind up in court? No one jumped out a window from a low number of stories but died anyway? No one went for a morning walk along the interstate and was hit by a (innocent) semi driver, dying a lingering death, airlifted to the city 50 miles south? No one murdered when walking home from work late at night, beaten to death by a gang of roving children, some as young as 12?

Lucky, lucky you. I'm not sure spirituality (of this sort) comes -before- loss. I think maybe spirituality comes -from- loss.

You could start with Zac Brown Band's "Dress Blues" and then work up to Sufjan Stevens' _Carrie & Lowell_, I guess, if you felt like sticking to 2015 music about grief.

This is a really incredibly bizarre article, including gems like this:

"This idea echoes a long-held belief among both writers and readers that books are the best kinds of friends; they give us a chance to rehearse for interactions with others in the world, without doing any lasting damage."

I get the thinking here. But I was really happy when I found friends that didn't require quite that level of inauthenticity to maintain the relationship.

I did find the paragraph about different lists of ailments for different language editions pretty amusing. The Dutch one clearly reflects an aspect of Dutch culture that my Dutch language teacher finds absolutely nuts: "een zes is goed genoeg". It is an admirable idea and one I _thoroughly_ agree with, but because he is a better American than I am, it makes him see red. Where I see a focus on competency, an excellent deprecation of competitiveness, and a choice to devote group resources to bringing up the average rather than pushing elites to ever higher attainments, he sees anti-intellectualism and anti-meritocracy.

And, backwards! "Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers."

People who have enough spare capacity to read have probably already gotten all the rest of it under control (as much as that is possible, at any rate). Everyone I know who doesn't read regularly reads when they go on vacation and they _do_ have spare capacity.
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