From The Atlantic is an interview with Morris Berman: How America’s ‘Culture of Hustling’ Is Dark and Empty: Results-obsessed perspectives overlook meaning — and leave little room for creativity, pleasure, or accepting the importance of sadness.
Most Americans have a dull sense that their lives are fundamentally “off”—because for the most part, they are. They hate their lives, but to get through the day, besides taking Prozac and consulting their cell phone every two minutes, they talk themselves into believing that they want to be doing what they are doing. This is probably the major source of illness in our culture, whether physical or mental.
He’s asked how he avoids that pitfall:
How do you differentiate between pointless hustling and meaningful work? You write that more people should “let the universe do its thing.” How do we do that and strive for work that gives our lives a sense of purpose and source of meaning?
The tipoff for me is somatic. Whenever a project comes to me, one that is right, that is genuine, I feel a kind of “shiver” in my body, and that tells me that it corresponds to something very deep in me, and that I need to pursue it. That has been my guide with literally every book I wrote. Trusting this kind of visceral reaction means that you are willing to let life “come and get you.” It means who you are is defined from the inside, not the outside. In terms of what’s really important, we don’t have much choice, and that’s as it should be. The decision is made by a larger energy or unconscious process, and when it’s right, you know it. — READ MORE
One of the gifts of having been ill for so long is I’ve learned to listen to that part of myself too. It became the only way I could heal, in fact. I won’t ever join the rat race again, thanks to this blessing. It’s possible to find that still small voice inside, but most of us never have that opportunity and the necessity of it is sadly obscured. I call mine my muse…she lets me know what it is I should pursue and life is always a joyous adventure now, even if it still brings with it disappointment, struggle and pain as well. Life is not being lived if you don’t have access to the whole emotional spectrum.
The thing is everyone can cultivate this. Start by paying attention. Slowly for me that brought about learning that Everything Matters. And in that same way too, I’ve come to deeply appreciate that THIS IS IT. I’m learning to live the heck out of the life I’ve got.
Also see: more on SOMATIC knowing (the somatic imperative, etc)
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