We are given very little time and lots of options. We are given wonderful imaginations that can vividly imagine 'What if' scenarios. We can empathise. We can dream. We can remember. And we can do. Sometimes I like to imagine that any choice that I had to make, or any thing that that happened to me also happened the other way. Every left turn also had a right turn. I did both. All that is left is then to make the best of this path, because that is what the other 'mes (mees?)' are doing. Trying to 'make the best' though is a rather western approach. For the most part, we obsess about productivity. We love things that are measurable. We don't want to waste time. We want to see improvement. Meditation is a particularly good example of where we struggle. You sit down, close your eyes and get really frustrated at how hard it is to still your mind. For the most part, we choose other activities that are active because then that grabs our attention and we don't think about our worries.
For most of the history of mankind, we lived in extreme poverty. We are making massive inroads into eradicating it. It is awe inspiring to watch what is happening in China and the rest of the developing world when we take a step back and look at the facts.
I think our obsession with productivity and measurables has had a large part to play in that. The question is - what happens next? While the developed world has helped the developing world to lift themselves up, I think we have a lot to learn from cultures that focus more on the things you can't measure. It is not just the East that has some of the ideas though. On my reading list is 'In Praise of Idleness' by Bertrand Russell described on the cover as 'a collection of essays in which he espouses the virtues of cool reflection and free enquiry; a voice of calm in a world of maddening unreason'.
Deciding what to measure and what to just experience.