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  • Good morning, Hank.

  • It's Tuesday.

  • Last night I did something specifically, I attended a live recording of one of my favorite podcasts, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.

  • And it was such a lovely evening of thinking hard about stuff that matters.

  • And I emerged from it feeling different and more hopeful about the human enterprise, like it's been spring for a couple weeks here in Indianapolis.

  • But driving home last night, I finally felt like it was spring, and I kept thinking about that.

  • E.

  • E.

  • Cummings poem that begins spring is like a perhaps hand, which comes carefully out of nowhere.

  • Anyway, All of this was quite a contrast from my usual Monday nights, in which I do nothing for me.

  • Doing nothing means not making an active choice to do something generally.

  • In my case, this means after the kids go to sleep, I scroll through Netflix for like 20 minutes trying to find somethingto watch, and either do find somethingto, watch her outs go upstairs to read a book.

  • Doing nothing could be lovely, of course, but generally I don't actively choose to do nothing.

  • It's sort of like a passive thing that happens.

  • It feels like the default state of affairs, were they?

  • The natural way of being doing something feels like making a choice and doing nothing feels like not making one slightly off topic.

  • But there are many places in my life that feel like this, for instance, every day I take a medication for my mental illness.

  • But taking the medication feels like doing something and not taking it feels like doing nothing.

  • And the same is true of making the active choice to get a flu shot her to engage in philanthropy or to plant seeds in my garden.

  • In all these cases, doing nothing feels like the default.

  • It feels like it isn't a choice, and if I look for voices telling me to do nothing, I will find them.

  • There are plenty of sources out there to tell me that my medication won't work or isn't worth the side effects, or that the flu shot is dangerous or that philanthropy never does any good or that gardening is a waste of time.

  • They may not be the most accurate or authoritative sources.

  • The flu shot is safe.

  • I am definitely better off taking my medication.

  • Philanthropy can be an excellent way to improve people's lives, and gardening is only a waste of time if you don't enjoy it.

  • But because passive choices feel natural to me, I'm vulnerable to misinformation, telling me that those choices are virtuous.

  • I struggled to make active choices every day, but the thing is, passive choices are also choices.

  • Not taking medication that has been prescribed to me is a choice and unwise one.

  • Staying home to watch Netflix is also a choice for me, sometimes a wise one other times less so.

  • The truth is, most nights I need to be at home in a kind of metaphysical, quiet, resting and recovering.

  • But I need to see those times as the choices they are, rather than a some default or natural setting, which they aren't.

  • Years ago, a mayoral candidate in Birmingham, Alabama, had a campaign slogan that's become kind of a catch phrase in our family.

  • The slogan was Larry Langford, Let's do something not like something prudent or something good.

  • Just something.

  • Now, of course, this is a horrible campaign slogan, and indeed the candidate in question would go on to be convicted in a huge bribery scandal.

  • But lately I've been thinking a lot about that slogan like while we're here, we're going to do something.

  • A lot of somethings, actually, and doing nothing is not a way out of the responsibilities and opportunities of personhood.

  • Whether I'm playing board games with my family or watching the recording of a podcast.

  • I love my day's end up better when I remember that I'm not choosing between doing something or doing nothing.

  • I'm choosing which something to do.

  • Hank, thank you for doing this something with me for the last 12 years.

  • I will see you on Friday.

Good morning, Hank.


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B1 中級

何かをすること (Doing Somethings)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日