Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'd Rather Be a Social Animal Than a Boring Human.

In a recent New Yorker there was a really great article called “Social Animal,” which talked about the exact opposite of the struggle I’ve been having recently (see Trivial Concerns blog).

The article discusses the idea of the “composure class” and how we all are so focused on “getting there” that we become really terrible about developing skills we actually need to be “happy.”

Brooks writes,

“The traits that do make a difference are poorly understood, and can’t be taught in a classroom, no matter what the tuition: the ability to understand and inspire people; to read situations and discern the underlying patterns; to build trusting relationships; to recognize and correct one’s shortcomings; to imagine alternate futures.”

I found this really interesting considering lately I’ve been upset at the idea of not being able to retain facts. Or ever win Jeopardy.

But, I understand people so I guess my life isn't a total waste.

According to the article, after much scientific research, what happiness comes down to is the ability to connect with others, which I believe to be absolutely true (unless the people you're hanging around are complete assholes).

And I’ve always felt this way. The things I look forward to are being with friends (or close family), having interesting conversation, laughing, enjoying other’s company.

Sharing my life.

I'm pretty sure I'm not writing a revelation here.

But, also I'm concerned-- I feel that this is also where a major disconnect is being created due to social networks.

Being online is not the same as being with real live breathing conversing people.

Having a face to face conversation with a friend is completely different than seeing what my friend recently wrote as a status update. Yes, in a round about way, I know what's happening in my friend's life, but there is no real connection being made.

Just like doing everything possible to get into the perfect college and get the perfect job etc. doesn't mean anything unless there are people around you that support, challenge, and love you. But we all sort of knew this all already right?

So why do many of us often freak out when we're in a social situation having fun...we feel guilty because we're not doing anything productive...but are, we're actually being very productive...we're creating space for happiness and growth.

We're learning without feeling like we're being taught.

We're enjoying life.

And why feel guilt about that?

1 comment:

  1. The only useful thing humans manage to do most of the time is successfully communicate with each other. I wish it was more common. At least in my days.