Friday, May 29, 2015

David Brooks Finally Goes Full Chauncey Gardner

The Small, Happy Lif
A few weeks ago, I asked readers to send in essays describing their purpose in life and how they found it. A few thousand submitted contributions, and many essays are online. I’ll write more about the lessons they shared in the weeks ahead, but one common theme surprised me.

I expected most contributors would follow the commencement-speech clichés of our high-achieving culture: dream big; set ambitious goals; try to change the world. In fact, a surprising number of people found their purpose by going the other way, by pursuing the small, happy life.

Hans Pitsch wrote: “At age 85, the question of meaning in my life is urgent. The question of the purpose of my life is another matter. World War II and life in general have taught me that outcomes from our actions or inactions are often totally unpredictable and random.”

He adds, “I am thankful to be alive. I have a responsibility to myself and those around me to give meaning to my life from day to day. I enjoy my family (not all of them) and the shrinking number of old friends. You use the term ‘organizing frame’ in one’s life. I am not sure if I want to be framed by an organizing principle, but if there is one thing that keeps me focused, it’s the garden. Lots of plants died during the harsh winter, but, amazingly, the clematises and the roses are back, and lettuce, spinach and tomatoes are thriving in the new greenhouse. The weeping cherry tree in front of the house succumbed to old age. I still have to plant a new tree this year.” 
This scale of purpose is not for everyone, but there is something beautiful and concrete and well-proportioned about tending that size of a garden.
I can't wait until Mr. Brooks is called into advise President Rubio on Economic Policy
As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. 
And all will be well.
In the garden.
Also bomb the fuck out of Iraq.


MM said...

At the end of "Being There" if I recall correctly, at the end at Melvyn Douglas's funeral, there is a discussion about who should they support for President and they agree on Chauncey Gardiner.

I always thought about that scene when I thought about Dubya.

Lawrence said...

David Brooks is breaking down. The Machine stops.