Recently, I came across an engaging article called Textual Healing. The idea behind this is the attentive therapist gives a prescription of sorts to the person he or she is working with. Only this prescription isn’t for medication; it’s for a book, or books, that revolve around issues the person is dealing with in that moment. British writer-philosopher, Alain de Botton, who established The School of Life, initiated this idea to enhance peoples’ personal experience through specific, carefully selected readings that are relevant to their life interests and concerns. De Botton’s point is that the right book read at the right moment can do wonders in opening our perceptual experience. Seen from the distance of a chapter in a book, we discover part of our own story lived through another person’s life. The admirable point is the distance we gain from our immediate situation. This person isn’t a family member, a spouse, or a lover; this person is a character in a novel. In this way, we are better able to ‘connect’ to the character’s dilemma – as well as our own – and learn that we are not alone.
I salute Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States. During his term of presidency (1977-1981), not a single shot was fired at the ‘enemy,’ whoever that might have been. Since he left office, Jimmy Carter has been waging a real war – one that is devoted to solving some of the most crucial social issues affecting our planet. Now, at age 89, Jimmy Carter has just published his 18th book, A Call to Action, which addresses the terrible and ongoing violence against women, both in the United States and throughout the world. Indeed, Carter has declared that he will devote himself to this issue for the rest of his life. This is indeed a ‘just war,’ and Jimmy Carter is truly a president for peace.
In his February 7, 2014 New York Times article, “Love, Actually,” Andrew Reiner argues that Generation Y is barely equipped to deal with marriage. In fact, he believes young men and women in their late twenties and early thirties are often incapable of true intimacy with a partner. In part, this is because they have been so intent on ‘getting it on’ and ‘hooking up’ that the real determinants of a loving relationship – trust, above all, but also time to grow vulnerable toward the other person and thereby, the opportunity to develop a genuinely intimate relationship. The problem is systemic: we live in a culture that teaches us to be impatient and bored; to satisfy one whimsical desire before moving on to the next. In this context, people – and serious relationships – are expendable. Alas, so are we. For if we can hook up and move on, so can the other person. And isn’t hooking up better than taking the chance that we might end up alone? Generation Y, and the rest of us as have a lot to learn.