Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

What the science of human nature can teach us : The New Yorker

Fascinating article by David Brooks, in which he minimizes the conscious decisions and sense of self, and praises the “flow” of information, culture, precedent, society that forms us and our life patterns. He even suggests that, while the “brain exists within the skull, … the mind extends outward and arises from the interactions between people or between a person and the environment.”

I’ve come to think that flourishing consists of putting yourself in situations in which you lose self-consciousness and become fused with other people, experiences, or tasks. It happens sometimes when you are lost in a hard challenge, or when an artist or a craftsman becomes one with the brush or the tool. It happens sometimes while you’re playing sports, or listening to music or lost in a story, or to some people when they feel enveloped by God’s love. And it happens most when we connect with other people. I’ve come to think that happiness isn’t really produced by conscious accomplishments. Happiness is a measure of how thickly the unconscious parts of our minds are intertwined with other people and with activities. Happiness is determined by how much information and affection flows through us covertly every day and year.” . . .

There [aren’t] even words for the traits that matter most—having a sense of the contours of reality, being aware of how things flow, having the ability to read situations the way a master seaman reads the rhythm of the ocean.

via What the science of human nature can teach us : The New Yorker.

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Written by tstaley

January 19, 2011 at 7:29 am

Posted in Human nature

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