Essay On Mediocrity

Essay On Mediocrity-61
If you’re a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies; you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following.

If you’re a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies; you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following.

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Especially in these unheroic times, when simply helping someone in obvious need is looked on as a miracle of virtue rather than as the duty it is, who will challenge , let alone challenge the thoughtless commonplaces of society or their nervous, insecure protectors?

No, the great over-riding imperative, the wonderful prime desideratum, which rules the day is to embrace the vague but warm complacency of commonalty and the shallow life that goes with it.

The idea of leisure, after all, is a hard-won achievement; it presupposes that we have overcome the exigencies of brute survival.

Yet here in the United States, the wealthiest country in history, we seem to have forgotten the importance of doing things solely because we enjoy them. Between work and family and social obligations, where are we supposed to find the time?

There are depths of experience that come with mastery.

But there is also a real and pure joy, a sweet, childlike delight, that comes from just learning and trying to get better.

But alien values like “the pursuit of excellence” have crept into and corrupted what was once the realm of leisure, leaving little room for the true amateur.

The population of our country now seems divided between the semipro hobbyists (some as devoted as Olympic athletes) and those who retreat into the passive, screeny leisure that is the signature of our technological moment.

I’m a little surprised by how many people tell me they have no hobbies.

It may seem a small thing, but — at the risk of sounding grandiose — I see it as a sign of a civilization in decline.

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