“You can fall in love with places too, you know? Sure, you first fell in love with that place because of the people you met in there. But here’s the thing. People change, places don’t. And somehow, whenever you go to that place, you still believe everything’s exactly the same as it used to be.”—
Imagine a future in which the best way to learn how to do something — how to write prose, how to solve differential equations, how to fly a plane — is to download software, not unlike today’s chess engines, that takes you from zero to sixty by way of a delightfully addictive inductive chain.
1. Writing things by hand. Letters to friends, lists for the store, goals for the week, notes for lovers, thank you cards and memos to coworkers. Digital communication is easy and convenient but ask anybody: there’s a huge difference between texting someone to say that you love them and hope they…
“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right?”—Will Smith
“For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.”—The Stranger - Albert Camus
“Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?”—Odysseus
Once you stop seeing things through the eyes of the people following you on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram you become able to make experiences your own. You can relieve yourself of the burden of having to make everyone aware of what you’re doing at all times. You can make your experiences significant because you were there and you saw the sights and smelled the smells and heard the sounds, not because you snapped a photo of it through a half-inch camera lens built into your phone.
For Grant, helping is not the enemy of productivity, a time-sapping diversion from the actual work at hand; it is the mother lode, the motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity. In some sense, he has built a career in professional motivation by trying to unpack the puzzle of his own success. He has always helped; he has always been productive. How, he has wondered for most of his professional life, does the interplay of those two factors work for everyone else?
In short, the more attuned to others you become, the healthier you become, and vice versa. This mutual influence also explains how a lack of positive social contact diminishes people. Your heart’s capacity for friendship also obeys the biological law of “use it or lose it.” If you don’t regularly exercise your ability to connect face to face, you’ll eventually find yourself lacking some of the basic biological capacity to do so.
“Maybe this is why we fill our lives with the constant drivel of entertainment in our culture - and in the church. We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in his Word, we might discover that he evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give him.”—David Platt - Radical
The broader issue, though, is whether science’s search for beautiful, enlightening patterns has reached a point of diminishing returns. If science hasn’t yet hit that point, might it be approaching it?