Thursday, May 7, 2015

Meaningful Philosophies of Life and How We Develop Them

A week ago, we'd have been going to see David Brooks tonight.  I've found my thoughts returning again and again to some of the things he said.

He talked about annual surveys of college students and what they hope to achieve.  Forty years ago, the number one answer was "Develop a meaningful philosophy of life."  Now that answer is the #16 goal. 

He says when college students are asked whether they'd rather have lots of fame or lots of sex, they choose fame.  Interesting to ponder what that says about our society.

He says that in our current society, we have many platforms to talk about economics and politics, but not many platforms to talk about love and greater moral values.

He bemoaned the lack of public intellectuals, like Reinhold Niebuhr, who used to keep these conversations front and center in our national conversations.

Clearly, he hopes that his book can help start these conversations, and I predict that it will.  But it probably will among people who already are having these conversations, like the book group or the campus group at my mom and dad's Lutheran church in Williamsburg (St. Stephen).

I did find it curious, the absence of churches, synagogues, mosques, and other traditional venues of moral training in this country and others.  Of course, many of the people he talks about in his book had that moral formation from churches. 

I'll be interested to see if he circles back to the idea in his book.  It certainly wasn't present in his presentation.

Or maybe that will be his next book . . .

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