The Joy of Quiet – NYTimes.com
I read an interview with the perennially cutting-edge designer Philippe Starck. What allowed him to remain so consistently ahead of the curve? “I never read any magazines or watch TV,” he said, perhaps a little hyperbolically. “Nor do I go to cocktail parties, dinners or anything like that.” He lived outside conventional ideas, he implied, because “I live alone mostly, in the middle of nowhere.”…
In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight…
The average office worker today, researchers have found, enjoys no more than three minutes at a time at his or her desk without interruption…
The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
A wasted year – Indian Express
A year of living wastefully. This is how India will remember 2011. We spent our political and economic capital recklessly as if we had so much to spare that we could afford to waste it. So most of the year went in discussing an idea put forward by a sincere but daft old man whose only claim to fame is village development. Slavishly endorsed by our breathless, unthinking news channels, Anna Hazare rose to such dizzying heights of glory that by the end of the year, he and his team of dodgy NGOs was lecturing the Government of India on how to run the country. The government foolishly allowed itself to be lectured to. And, our amoral opposition parties, transfixed by the crowds of urban Indians that Anna drew, leapt happily onto his platform…
Why are there not enough hospital beds? Why are there not enough schools? Why do fundamental necessities like electricity, cooking fuel and clean water remain so hard to get? Why do we need police verification to get a passport when it should be the right of every citizen? Why do we need police verification to get a driving licence? These are urgent questions but instead of asking them, all we talked about in 2011 was corruption and how what we needed was a ‘strong Lokpal’ for all our problems to be solved…
The Government of India was too busy placating NGOs with inflated egos and delusions of power. While all this was happening, the man at the helm of the Government of India, the man who became famous for giving India a new direction with his economic reforms, lurked in the background, silent and wraithlike. It was as if Dr Manmohan Singh forgot some time this year that it was his job to lead. So by the end of 2011 as fog and icy weather enveloped Delhi, there was general, gloomy agreement that this is the worst government India has ever had. Sadly, it can also be said that this is the worst Opposition India has ever had. Happy 2012.
Antiblurbs: 15 Literary Predictions For 2012
Sanjay sipahimalani’s literary predictions for 2012 (so funny, it’s not!)
3 The spate of books and articles on Steve Jobs will cease once people realise that many of those writing about him were simply repeating the same thing. Matters will come to a head once it is discovered that a much-linked-to blog post titled “My Recollections of Jobs” simply consists of the words “Stay hungry, stay foolish” typed over and over again.
4 After the furore over the proscribing of A.K. Ramanujan’s essay on the Ramayana by Delhi University, members of the varsity’s Physics Department will seek to stop the study of quantum physics, claiming that “some German fellow called Heisenberg” was out to promote uncertainty across the nation. “
- The year that rocked“Another year — and a spectacular journey coming to an end. We’ve had some very good books, films and music albums making 2011 special. From experimental to populist to downright intriguing — they have kept us entertained through many evenings. Let’s take a walk down recap lane with Jai Arjun Singh as he talks about the books and films that he personally loved this year. And Avirook Sen gives his take on the music albums of 2011 that, he feels, rocked. We wish you a very Happy New Year!”tags: media culture india friends jai_arjun books movies music 2011 wp
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