Stress Test

by Will on November 4, 2010

Read the scene where gravity is pulling me around. A song I liked a lot as a teen:

I have a test in 45 minutes that I didn’t realize I was going to have. During the last week I’ve been occupied by the World Series and the election, as well as lengthy conversations with friends. The last two days I had long, painful dentist appointments far from my apartment, in a city full of people acting somewhat crazy. All of this has made me spend less time than normal on making sure I eat healthy food and exercise. This has all conspired to make my blood pressure even higher than normal (frequent coffee consumption tends to elevate blood pressure), making me fear that my brain will explode. And on top of this, I have a million ideas for creative projects and profitable ventures, which I’ll never have the time to realize, numerous ideas about novel ways of explaining poorly understood phenomena, and there are numerous career paths I’d like to pursue. The opportunities that modern life gives us come at a price: we are wont to be ever on the verge of madness. Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought this was a bum deal and we’d be happier as cavemen. John Stuart Mill said that the progress was worth the cost in the long run. Most would come down, I think, on Mill’s side of the question. But it’s worth noticing once in a while that Rousseau did have a little bit of a point.

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Jennifer March 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I’ve long thought that we would be happier in the days of hard labor and toil. Reading Little House on the Prairie as a young girl must have made quite an impression, as I always use that as my point of contrast.

That family was always so busy just surviving, and the manual labor left them exhausted every day. They were so thankful just to have a meal that they would never consider leaving their spouse for that guy they noticed on OKCupid last week when they were bored at work surfing the internet (for example). People nowadays–and I blame the Internet for much of this–have the feeling that there’s something better out there. There’s a better mate, a better home, a better place to live, better children, better television sets, better gaming systems… I suppose one must blame advertising, too.

We have traded our ability to be appreciative and happy for comfort and bottomless needing.

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