Why the ‘success sequence’ is not enough

We’ve seen a drastic shift in the social habits and behaviors of Americans, whether in work, education, or family life. Yet with an ever increasing range of “nontraditional” routes to success and stability, social scientists have begun to see how one particular pattern bears fruit. Continue Reading...

Advice to graduates: Reject the calls to ‘find yourself’ and ‘follow your passion’

Graduation season is upon us, and with it is sure to come a flurry of commencement addresses crammed with platitudes about self-actualization, self-indulgence, and self-fulfillment. Though accompanied by occasional urges to “change the world” and “make a difference,” all will still fit neatly within a much broader cultural aim: “finding ourselves,” “trusting ourselves,” and “being true to ourselves.” “It’s about living the life you want,” Oprah says, aptly capturing the spirit of the age, “because a great percentage of the population is living a life that their mother wanted, that their husband wanted, that they thought or heard they wanted…Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.” Meanwhile, the real and tangible needs of our social and economic contexts swirl around us—present and future, seen and unforeseen—each of them held captive to the whims of our “passions” and “the life we want.” Overwhelmed by the distraction, we look inward, neglecting the moral foundations and social bonds that are so critical for communities and institutions to flourish. Continue Reading...

As Notre Dame burns, France called to re-set world ablaze

Like most big stories, the world discovered last night’s fire devouring Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral at breakneck speed on social media. Images and video reached billions within a few minutes, nearly as fast as the dramatic flames took to completely engulf the ancient roof and send its tallest spire hurdling into a billowing smoky abyss. Continue Reading...

The virtues of boredom in an anxious age

Today’s parents are fixated on setting their children on strategic paths to “success”— cramming their days with lessons, sports, clubs, camps, and so on. The goal: to enrich their kids’ lives with new knowledge and experiences. Continue Reading...