Reading this here is ironic. But convicting too…

{The photo above includes a couple of shiftless third-borns}

From “Routine Maintenance,” an article in Harper’s Magazine by Meghan O’Gieblyn. The whole article is amazingly learned and worth your time.

“…The internet is not a place of order but a boundless abyss that erases the contours of individual hours, swallows entire days, and inundates our lives with a vague sense of possibility never quite realized, leaving us, in the end, with that low-grade spiritual exhaustion for which “decision fatigue” is too weak a term.
The Stoics called this feeling stultitia – “fickleness and boredom and a continuing shifting of purpose,” as Seneca put it. It describes this never-ending hunger for novelty; the inability to stick to commitments; the will’s imprisonment by competing desires. St. Benedict describes something along these lines in his Rule, denouncing itinerant monks who “never settle down, and are slaves to their own wills and gross appetites.” It is the same problem that William James identifies when he writes, in The Principles of Psychology, of the miserable person for whom:
…nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed ever day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.” [Colin the Editor: That is, without routines in place one is always having to expend the extra energy connected to impromptu work.]
Neither Seneca, Benedict, nor James would have denied that spontaneity is essential to our humanity. But in order to achieve tranquility, this first nature had to be supplemented with a “second nature,” the long-standing epithet for habit often attributed to Aristotle.”

One thought on “Reading this here is ironic. But convicting too…

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  1. James Landry says:

    Excellent photo.

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