To go to the woods and walk through its rich air, to cold iron in a gym with sweat on the brow, to a window at sunrise or sunset, or just to an empty room, all can bring the needed rest to the oversoaked mind with daily worries. When in solitude, I enjoy the time of silence, the time of quiet relaxation that, paradoxically, can come in a loud and arduous environment. In solitude, I find a lot, peace, rest, inspiration, understanding, joy, and especially when solitary in nature, I find respect, humility, and awe.
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After I left home for the first time to study abroad in the US at the age of fifteen, I used to wake every morning with my stomach completely tied up. I struggled to have any control over it. Breathing exercises helped, however, since then, anxiety as a daily phenomenon has never left me. Now I can’t even imagine a day without any underlying anxiety.
This post is for people who have dug a little into the self-improvement industry. What I want to talk to you today about is self-improvement overconsumption.
About a week ago I watched the film Green Book, a story in which ”a working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South,” and it rekindled my interest in a question that I have pondered for some time.
What is the slavery of today?
If we have spent some time together in person you probably have been preached to about the marvel of the film Crocodile Dundee by me at some point.
I always get smiles when I mention the film, especially if people only know the name but have never seen it. You are probably smiling right now, or you were when you read the title.
Although many of my teachers said never start an essay with a quote, because it seldom works, here I want to start with one, because the whole discussion I want to have follows from it. This is a quote from John Stuart Mill: “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.”1
Many of the conversations I have are extremely enjoyable, illuminating, inspiring, refreshing, and satisfying. However, that is not true for all of them or even most of them. A good conversation is not easy to come by but the experience of many great ones moved me to consider why some are better than others, why is a good conversation almost a luxury.
In one of my first posts, I discussed whether Christianity is bad for progress in society. You can read the essay here. After I wrote the essay I had the chance to discuss the topic with two people. These two conversations begat a thought, for which I give credit primarily to the people involved, a thought which should be mentioned in this discussion.
I have just attended a Christian gathering where I listened to a talk given by a friend of mine. He is a great speaker, he brings energy, passion, humor, to all his talks, he engages the audience, always shares an interesting story, uses great visuals, a great speaker by all means.
Like many book readers, I got into the habit of acquiring more books than I found the time to read. I counted around thirty-five unread books that I either bought, won, or got as a gift resting on my bookshelves. Out of those, twenty seemed worth reading, and as I saw this could quickly get out of hand I promised myself that I will not get any more books until I read the ones I have.