To find Meaning in Life

After browsing through a lot of articles on the internet, I ended up with the following blog about the Meaning in Life:

http://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/4-ways-to-find-meaning-in-life

 

Derek Beres refers to  Emily Esfahani Smith’s  book, The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed by Happiness, and says:

“We are obsessed with happiness, often believing it a birthright, yet as journalist We are obsessed with happiness, often believing it a birthright, yet as journalist Emily Esfahani Smith notes in her book, The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed by Happiness, all that searching is actually making us unhappy”

Beres further says the following:

“As with my recent conversationwith Robert Lustig, Smith cites Aristotle’s concept of eudaemonia as a force for “cultivating the best qualities within you both morally and intellectually and living up to your potential.” Instead of chasing pleasure, we need to institute the search for meaning.

This is challenging during a time when you’re constantly instructed to do “what you love.” Smith counters this advice by invoking German philosopher Immanuel Kant. As with the mythologist Joseph Campbell, who, while famously remembered for saying “follow your bliss,” continued, “If your bliss is just your fun and your excitement, you’re on the wrong track.”

“To Kant, the question is not what makes you happy. The question is how to do your duty, how to best contribute—or, as the theologian Frederick Buechner put it, your vocation lies ‘where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.’”

Smith’s beautifully researched homage to this hunger hinges on “four pillars of meaning.” By seeking, cultivating, and maintaining each of these, she argues, happiness arises from a deep sense of contentment rather than the incessant and unyielding grasping for pleasure. “

Then there are four interesting write-ups about

Belonging

Purpose

Storytelling

Transcendence: Here Beres points out that Smith grew up in a Sufi household.

Beres says: “Transcendence is at the heart of most spiritual traditions. It can be achieved through psychedelics, music, scripture, or meditation. A deep sense of connectedness carries adherents beyond the normal trappings of society. People are able to intimately connect with their environment and peers. Writing of volunteers in a 2015 study focused on the development of empathy through transcendence,”

Smith notes:

“They abandoned the conceit, which many of us have, that they were the center of the world. Instead, they stepped outside of themselves to connect with and focus on others.”

 

 Derek Beres is the author ofWhole Motion: Training Your Brain and Body For Optimal Health. Based in Los Angeles, he is working on a new book about spiritual consumerism. Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Here is what I found in Amazon.com about the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Meaning-Fulfillment-Obsessed-Happiness/

The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness Paperback – September 5, 2017
by Emily Esfahani Smith (Author)
In a culture obsessed with happiness, this wise, stirring book points the way toward a richer, more satisfying life.

“Too many of us believe that the search for meaning is an esoteric pursuit—that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to discover life’s secrets. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us—right here, right now.

To explore how we can craft lives of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith synthesizes a kaleidoscopic array of sources—from psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists to figures in literature and history such as George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, Aristotle, and the Buddha. Drawing on this research, Smith shows us how cultivating connections to others, identifying and working toward a purpose, telling stories about our place in the world, and seeking out mystery can immeasurably deepen our lives.

To bring what she calls the four pillars of meaning to life, Smith visits a tight-knit fishing village in the Chesapeake Bay, stargazes in West Texas, attends a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of profound loss, and more. She also introduces us to compelling seekers of meaning—from the drug kingpin who finds his purpose in helping people get fit to the artist who draws on her Hindu upbringing to create arresting photographs. And she explores how we might begin to build a culture that leaves space for introspection and awe, cultivates a sense of community, and imbues our lives with meaning.

Inspiring and story-driven, The Power of Meaning will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking a life that matters.”

How to live an ethical life and change the world

https://www.theguardian.com/australian-ethical-invest-for-a-better-world/2017/sep/25/how-to-live-an-ethical-life-and-change-the-world

Paid for by:

https://www.australianethical.com.au/

“Ethics is about making the right choices for ourselves and the society we live in. With so many challenges facing us and the planet, what can we be doing better?”

I just had a look at this article. I must say that a lot that is pointed out in this article I find fascinating. I am going to copy here just a few sections in this article that I noticed in particular. But I think it is to be recommended to take the time and read the whole article and maybe look at some of the links also. Apparently there are among very successful people quite a few who want to do something good for the society we live in!

In the following copied section is talk about ‘Tribalism’ and how it stands in the way of an honest discussion.

I just read a few pages in Chapter Nineteen of Judy Nunn’s new novel “Sanctuary”.  It seems to me the discussion among people in this chapter shows how tribalism affects the thinking of people. Judy Nunn is very good in showing this in her writing.

https://www.penguin.com.au/books/sanctuary-9780143783855

The following are a few copied sections about what we can do to change the world:

“To live a more ethical, sustainable life we need to avoid letting habits or impulses guide our actions. We need to engage in ethical reflection and conversation. We need to understand ourselves, and we need to talk to others.”

With so much ethical and factual complexity in the modern world, Dr Palmer stresses it is essential to challenge our assumptions and seek out different sources of information, as well as different perspectives on that information.

 “We need to have constructive conversations with people who know
things we don’t, and with people we disagree with.”

Working against this, however, is a tendency towards “tribalism”, which means we often fiercely defend shared opinions rather than investigating issues with an open mind and engaging in complex debate.

Climate change tribalism is one clear example, he says, with similar challenges facing the discussion of issues like refugees and migration, marriage equality, and inequality and discrimination more generally.

“There are different policy approaches we can take (on climate change). But that’s not the roadblock. Tribalism is standing in the way of an honest discussion of the urgent action needed, like a price on carbon to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

“People resist and embrace change to different degrees, but our capacity to change is part of our humanity, and change is going to be essential to meet the massive social and environmental challenges we face.”

 

 

“Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy” by Agnès Martin-Lugand. Also my Opinion on Gay Marriages

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/dont-worry-life-is-easy/id1159625953?mt=11

 

“Description

Now in Paperback: The much-anticipated, bestselling sequel to the international phenomenon Happy People Read and Drink Coffee.

Diane needs to start over again. After returning from Ireland and turning the page on her stormy relationship with Edward, the brooding Irish photographer, she is determined to rebuild her life in Paris with help from her best friend Félix. She focuses solely on getting her literary café back on track-until she meets Olivier.

He is kind and thoughtful, and she may have a future with him…until she stumbles across her former love at a photography exhibit. What is Edward doing in Paris? Why didn’t he reach out? Faced with a hail of questions, her old flame remains cold and unresponsive. Apparently, he, too, has moved on.

In order to put the past behind her, Diane must go back over her tracks. Ireland saved her before. Can she get answers there and find peace again?”

 

I got the above book from the local library and enjoyed reading it very much. When I can find  “Happy People Read and Drink Coffee” I am going to read this too. However I find it is all right too to just read   “Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy”  without having read “Happy People Read and Drink Coffee” .

Above I copied the

iTunes Preview of  “Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy” 

Several people are mentioned: Diane,  Félix , Oliver and Edward. It says:

“In order to put the past behind her, Diane must go back over her tracks. Ireland saved her before. Can she get answers there and find peace again?”

So Diane does go back over her tracks, namely to Mulranny where she spent quite a bit of time not so long ago and did get to know and love quite a few people who helped her in a personal crisis after having lost her husband and young daughter in a car accident.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulranny

Diane loves Félix like a brother and treats him very respectfully as her partner in that business she owns, namely her literary café.  Félix is gay and a very good friend to Diane. He loves her and always looks out for her. With the postal survey about same sex marriage, that we just had in Australia, the issue of ssm is a lot on peoples’ mind these days. In this fictional story that I have just read, this guy  Félix is a very happy and friendly Parisian bloke who loves to go out a lot and meet his friends. Towards the end of the book the issue comes up that someone would like to have Félix  as a permanent partner because he loves him. It is left open whether they really get together. But if it should happen that they want to stay together, why should they not be allowed to marry? What harm would a marriage like that do to anyone?

Heterosexual couples usually get very excited about marrying, even if they have already lived together for some time. Once a marriage proposal has been accepted, there is joyful excitement all the way which usually extends to friends and family as well. Why should not gay people have the option to go for marriage? I do not know the statistics about the duration of such marriages, however I am inclined to believe gay or lesbian marriages probably last at least for as long as heterosexual marriages, on average that is.

Going back to the above book, I would like to copy here a few sentences from page 15 of the book. Here is what Diane says about the bookstore:

“I had wanted the bookstore to become a warm, welcoming place, open to everyone, somewhere that all types of literature would find a home.  . . .  “

“All the Birds, Singing” by Evie Wyld

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jun/30/evie-wyld-birds-singing-review

In our cabin at BIG4 Nambucca Beach Park I actually was able to do a lot of reading. I had taken “All the Birds, Singing” along. I had started reading this novel some time ago, but had not read very much of it yet. Our double bed had very good reading lamps on each side above the bed. So both Peter and I felt encouraged to spend quite a bit of time reading. My book did get extremely interesting and I could not put it down anymore. Each day, that is Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I was reading, reading, reading. We had to leave the cabin Thursday morning. Alas, I got to the last pages on Wednesday and finished reading this book. I learned about the fate of a girl from Australia, who went through some horrible experiences. But in the end it only made her stronger. She became a sheep farmer and owned her own farm  on a very lonely island. At first I thought how can a life like this be very interesting? This story is told in the first person. It was absolutely captivating to gradually find out what happened to her as a child and during her teenage years.

Below I copied a bit from an interview at the Sydney Writers’ Festival:

https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/sydney-writers-festival-evie-wyld-all-the-birds-singing/

On Writing Novels & Endings with Evie Wyld at Sydney Writers’ Festival

The Roslyn Packer Theatre was abuzz with chatter, much about Evie Wyld and her latest novel All the Birds, Singing. There’s often much contention about the ending, and while people tossed up theories and commented on Wyld’s Miles Franklin win, the lights went down and Evie stepped onto the stage.

With her fringe and bright yellow shoes she was already a character in herself. And throughout the hour, Wyld spoke with wit and wisdom (my notes are a slanted scribble that’s hard to decipher; a testament to the great things I heard and couldn’t get down quick enough).

Evie Wyld

Gothic and Horror as a Modern Genre

Wyld started by reading from her novel, All the Birds Singing, emphasising the imagery of death and blood, bringing a chill and a hush over the theatre. The first question asked was about the gothic canon, and how Wyld has used horror as a genre in a contemporary way. I’d never thought of All the Birds, Singing as a gothic novel and having it pointed out (and listening to Wyld read), it seemed rather obvious! The moody English island, the dark past, the mangled deaths of sheep…

BOOK REVIEW|Margaret Atwood on What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Means in the Age of Trump

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/books/review/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-age-of-trump.html

Books by Australian Author Liane Moriarty

I just copied a review of a book by Liane Moriarty and published it here:

https://auntyuta.com/2017/06/18/what-alice-forgot-by-liane-moriarty/

In the review it was said that the novel “What Alice Forgot” is going to be made into a movie to be released in 2017. I have already read this novel and I do hope that I soon may be able to see this movie, when it comes out this year.

Apparently there are also some other books by Liane Moriarty that might be made into movies:

https://www.popsugar.com.au/celebrity/What-Other-Liane-Moriarty-Books-Being-Made-Movies-43410408#photo-43410406

So far the only other book by Liane Moriarty that I’ve read is:

Truly Madly Guilty

The following is taken from a review about Truly Madly Guilty:

“IF ONLY THEY’D SAID NO…

Clementine is haunted by regret. It was just a barbeque. They didn’t even know their hosts that well, they were friends of friends. They could so easily have said no.

But she and her husband Sam said yes, and now they can never change what they did and didn’t do that Sunday afternoon.

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One playful dog. It’s an ordinary weekend in the suburbs. What could possibly go wrong?

Marriage, sex, parenthood and friendship: Liane Moriarty takes these elements of our lives and shows us how guilt can expose the fault lines in any relationship, and it is not until we appreciate the fragility of life that we can truly value what we have.”

You find the review here:

https://www.qbd.com.au/truly-madly-guilty/liane-moriarty/9781925481396/

In both books by Liane Moriarty that I have read so far, Liane depicts people that live in contemporary Sydney. What she writes about the characters’ Australian lifestyle seems very true to me. It makes me think about the way we live and what our priorities are. I am quite a bit older now than most of Liane’s characters. And I am a migrant to Australia who settled here nearly sixty years ago. As migrants my family had overall somewhat different lifestyle experiences from Liane’s characters on the North shore of Sydney. Still, a lot of the problems she describes in her books, problems that families may come up with, seem to be universal. I think the author herself is a young married woman with two young children. She would know first hand how demanding but also joyful marriage and the raising of young children usually is.  Often in a young marriage there is a lack of time to do the things together that bind together. And all too often the stresses of modern life may lead to divorce and great upheaval for the children.

 

 

“What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty

I, Uta, have already read the book and agree, that it is “infectiously good” and that this novel may be in my head months after I have finished reading it. So I am here  going to copy what was published last year in the Huffington Post about this book “What Alice Forgot” by Australian author Liane Moriarty. This copied review was written by Julia Naughton. While reading this book, I thought all the time that it is very suitable for being made into a movie. I hope, I’ll soon have a chance to see the movie. 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/06/08/quick-read-these-books-before-the-movie-comes-out_a_21392007/

Here now is the copy taken from the above link:

“You mean, you haven’t read the book?!”

09/06/2016 11:37 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST

​The anticipation of waiting for the film release of a book you cherish can sometimes be too much.

What if they cast the protagonist with an actor you hate? Or worse, they change the ending?

Blame it on the two-hour time limit or the soulless pursuit of box office cred, changing the plot happens all the time and sometimes, it’s really not fair.

The good news? These books are not only qualified to be on your cherished list, but you’ll only have to wait a few months for the movie, one year at most.

Sadly, we can’t vouch for how true they’ll stay to the book, but as far as we can tell, the actors already confirmed get our tick of approval.

What Alice Forgot

Amy Einhorn Books

By Liane Moriarty

Movie release: 2017

Imagine if you woke up one day only to realise you’d lost a big chunk of your memory from the past decade? Set in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot centres around Alice, whose last memory was being pregnant with her first child and completely head over heels in love with her husband, Nick. Now, years later Nick looks at her with disdain, she’s lost contact with her sister (who is going through her own infertility struggles) and is lost as to where it all went wrong. With hopeful vulnerability, Alice, who is living in the mind of her 29-year-old self surprises her husband, kids and later, even herself as she desperately tries to salvage her marriage. Infectiously good, this novel will be in your head months after you’ve finished it.