In The Washington Post, Robert Samuelson bids the comma a farewell, for which, even I will miss it along with other activities where we get to take a pause in life.
It is true that Americans have always been in a hurry. In "Democracy in America" (1840), Alexis de Tocqueville has a famous passage noting the "feverish ardor" with which Americans pursue material gains and private pleasures. What's distinctive about our era, I think, is that new technologies and astonishing prosperity give us the chance to slacken the pace. Perish the thought. In some ways, it seems, we Americans have actually become more frantic.
This reminds me of how I touched on the same subject earlier here.
In my experience, not being married or having children, it still takes time to write a twice per week blog/op-ed while having my day job, and other personal hobbies. Our technology has given us the ability to be engaged in so many other activities and interests that it is easy to spread yourself thin. And if you book yourself with a well thought out schedule, you still might get burned out.
While I took a break from writing a month ago, I was still working my day job. And further to the point, please think about your friends and family who go on vacation. When there is a family involved, it becomes almost impossible to make it a “real vacation.” Let Scott Adams (creator, writer, and producer of everything Dilbert) explain:
So Plan B went into effect, and that meant continuously trying to figure out how to entertain eight very different people, ages 6 to 79, without everyone going their own way and defeating the purpose of the trip. It was like solving a Rubik’s Cube seven times a day.I still chuckle whenever I read that. I assume that at some point when I get too busy, I’ll have to discontinue this blog, but until then I have still have time to comment on the news, academic working papers from economists, and some of my other hobbies. I can only hope that the populace continues to have the time to do the things it needs to in order for their lives to be fulfilling. And in the end, that really does require a pause.
Several of us have difficult preferences to satisfy. For example, I can’t be in the sun for more than ten seconds without bursting into flames. I fall sound asleep in any darkened theater. I’m a vegetarian, I require shaded temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees and continuous access to the Internet. Now throw the other seven freaks of nature into the equation and try to optimize everyone’s happiness without generating a slap fight. It can’t be done.