How Should I Live?

People don’t become happy by satisfying their desires… They become happy by living within a belief system that restrains and gives coherence to their desires:

“Above all the other necessities of human nature, above the satisfaction of any other need, above hunger, love, pleasure, fame – even life itself – what a man most needs is the conviction that he is contained within the discipline of an ordered existence.”

– David Brooks (quoting the journalist Walter Lippmann) in his New York Times August 13, 2006 Op-Ed piece

Teaching high school gives me the time to read. It also allows me to directly observe over a thousand young adults and a few older ones. This is an unexpected fringe benefit of the job. Many teenagers care about questions like: “How can we have justice?” “How should I live?” “What do I need to be happy?” and “What’s my place in the universe?” Most adults seem to have given up in discouragement on these questions and instead focus on daily life and earning money. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are many things we really do know for sure, and many other things can be inferred from adult experience. I am too busy now with teaching, my family, etc., to write down everything I’ve found out… but someday I will write it down! Meanwhile: read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, keep chickens,  Forage for wild edible plants

The Nature of the Universe by Lucretius
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
The Lost World of the Kalahari by Laurens van der Post. People of the Deer by Farley Mowatt
Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
1491 by Charles Mann
Collapse by Jared Diamond
The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter  

Author | Teacher | Scientist