Time To Pick Your Brain

I love Mario Popova’s engaging and often times overwhelming blog. I envy her ability to stitch things together, create a web of details within each post.

If you’ve had a chance to peep at it, chances are you will be hooked like I am. At first it was brimming with details, I felt lost. Couldn’t make head or tail about the format. Couldn’t bring myself to read a single post completely. For, she shares her view, mixes in quotes of various authors, not necessarily the one who’s written the book.

Oh, did I forget to tell that she’s an obsessive book reader/buyer. Two things besides her blog she does incessantly.

Now, I have put on myself the arduous task of tying up two of her posts and arriving at a unified theme.

One – Kierkegaard on Our Greatest Source of Unhappiness

Two – If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Kurt Vonnegut

Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work. – Kierkegaard


“சந்தோஷம்னா என்னண்னு மனுஷனுக்கு அத அனுபவிக்கையுல தெரியறதில்ல”

Kierkegaard talks about the unhappy men who are lost from themselves. Further he explains, we use excuses to escape from the present. Which are – in his words the reason for our unhappiness.

His view of “men who are caught in hope aren’t necessarily unhappy” – reminds me of the rhetoric of Jiddu Krishnamurti. 

“And to learn about it the past experiences in no way help, on the contrary past impedes learning, puts an end to learning and therefore to a complete action.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

We have arrived at a somewhat clear understanding of what unhappiness is. Then what is happiness?

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard 

With the second post – “If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?” she gives us the gist of the book, which includes various commencement speeches by the witty Kurt Vonnegut.

“I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It does not matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need.” Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut the brilliant writer he was, could foresee the goggle wearing couch potatoes of the then future; now shameful present. As he urges us to go out and connect with the real people of the real world.

“keep that kid the hell away from computers… unless you want it to be a lonesome imbecile”


He calls us out, mocks our pretend relationships ‘IRL’. Wants us to be fucking AFK.

quote-conformity-is-the-jailer-of-freedom-and-the-enemy-of-growth-john-f-kennedy-15-61-76 (1)

“Don’t try to make yourself an extended family out of ghosts on the Internet. Get yourself a Harley and join the Hell’s Angels instead.”


To return to the core issue on happiness. The connecting dot of the two posts of Maria. I let’ Vonnegut speak for himself:

When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, “If this isn’t nice, what is?” Kurt Vonnegut




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