I have just learned of the passing of Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider on December 5th, the same day that Mandela passed away. His book had a profound influence on my life, enabling me to turn from feeling like a plain misfit into something much more noble called an Outsider. Instead of feeling worse than society Wilson helped us to feel better. We were exalted souls lost in a cultural wasteland. While very narcissistic, it did have its positive side, enabling me – and I suspect many others – to go out and do battle with the world. It was a lot better than falling into a slough of despondency. So Mr. Wilson, thank you.
There was a fascinating oped piece in the NYTimes by David Brooks on the Colorado marijuana experiment. It was not so much his comments on how he and his friends had outgrown the weed, but his comments on what constituted the good life – of which the weed was not a part in his opinion. As he sees it our goal is to become “more integrated, coherent and responsible people. This process” he says, “usually involves using the powers of reason, temperance and self-control — not qualities one associates with being high.” He then goes further and links these admirable virtues to happiness. As he then says, “The deeper sources of happiness usually involve a state of going somewhere, becoming better at something, learning more about something, overcoming difficulty and experiencing a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.” In found the connection between his comments that focused on the work dimension and those of AEI that covered faith, family, friends as well as work interesting and worth exploring further.