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The lies our culture tells us about what matters -- and a better way to live | David Brooks

Updated on July 07
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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For David Brooks, loneliness unexpectedly came to him in the form of fear, of a burning in his stomach. It felt like drunkenness and a lack of solidity. The emptiness in his apartment reflected the emptiness in himself.

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David Brooks admits that he has fallen for these cultural lies. The first lie is that career success is fulfilling. The second lie is self-sufficiency, that he can make himself happy. The third lie is meritocracy.

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You can't climb out. Someone has to reach in and pull you out. From the dark period, David states you have to have a few realizations. For him, his first realization is that social freedom sucks. The second realization is your soul. The final realization is that you have to expand to a different level of consciousness.

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Love itself is whatever is leftover when being in love is burned away. That is what your heart yearns for.

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They reach down and grab people out of the valley. They live a relationalist life, not an individualistic life. They have a different set of values, which include moral motivations, vocational servitude, radical virtuality, and are geniuses at relationships.

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Joy is a better thing to aim for than happiness. Joy is not the expansion of the self, it’s the dissolving of the self. It’s a moment where you’re so lost in your work or a cause that you have totally self-forgotten.

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We need a lot of environmental and economic change. It’s because we don’t have the mindset to balance it. We no longer feel good about ourselves as people, we’ve lost our defining faith in our future, and we don’t see each other deeply or treat each other well.

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According to David, his theory of social change is that society changes when a small group of people find a better way to live and the rest of us copy them. He believes that the weavers have found a better way to live.

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