Archive for the ‘meaning of life’ Category

Multitasking Makes you LESS Efficient, a Dangerous Driver: Experts Say

August 20, 2007

By Farnaz Javid and Ann Varney
ABC News
First published on the web: August 14, 2007

Whether it’s driving while talking on your cell phone, sending e-mails during a business meeting or listening to music while you’re working, it seems multitasking has become a way of life.

Employers, parents, even kids are trying to get more done in less time.

But, does multitasking really make you more efficient? And what happens to your brain when you’re trying to complete two important tasks at once?

Read the rest at:
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=3474058&page=1

Our Related Essay from 2003!

We Could be Moving Too Fast

By John E. Carey
Fist Published in The Washington Times
August 8, 2003

A friend commented to me yesterday on the hectic nature and “rat race” of American life.  I was reminded of a piece I did for The Washington Times a few years ago.  It needed no dusting off.  We are still moving too fast.

For a long time I’ve suspected American society moved just too fast.  Recently a kindergarten teacher confirmed my suspicion. When I recounted happy memories about my own kindergarten experience, including “nap time,” the teacher told me: “There isn’t time for a nap anymore. We are getting these kids ready for life.”

Now I understand why my generation is such a failure. Too much nap time.

The telephone may also be an indicator we are rushing toward unhappiness and stress. Ever hear anyone say, “Gotta get the other phone. Sorry.  I’ll call you back”?

Another favorite conversation killer is, “We’re real busy here. Gotta go. Bye.” Not only are these communications rude and grammatically incorrect, they indicate a warp speed psychology in American life.

And cell phones, fortunately, are everywhere; allowing us to multiplex our minds and our lives. Cell phoning while driving. Cell phoning while eating. Talking on the cell phone at a wedding. I’ve even recently observed fast food restaurant guests talking to each other across the table on their cell phones. Do we really need to communicate this much? Are we discussing Plato or the meaning of life? Not usually. We are often scheduling more work, explaining why we are late, or just wasting time and space on the frequency band.

We drive way too fast. Even while going to work, people cut in and out of lanes at a breathtaking pace. Are they late or can’t they wait to get to work? One wonders. A recent survey reported the average American driver admits he takes dangerous risks behind the wheel to save precious time.

In suburbia the soccer Moms and Dads are notoriously overworked and on the run. The kids’ schedules drive everyday life and especially the weekends. Soccer, ballet, Girl Scouts, Little League, the amusement park, trips to the mall and other activities mean some families have more than one SUV to handle the workload of transporting preteens to everything and everywhere. Kids have even been known to suffer nervous breakdowns because they are so overscheduled.

My best suburban family of friends recently drove three hours to a one-hour wedding and then three hours back so they could get to the next scheduled event.

We are in such a hurry to pack more into life that TV sitcom writers have added many more pages of additional script for a single episode than ever before. Fortunately, the robotlike actors can speak faster than my VCR [we can now update this to a CD Player] on fast forward. This, of course, also means our kids (not robots, these) now utter every sentence as if the house were on fire and they were making the 911 call. And the speed-talking on TV allows more life-enhancing commercials.

So if we didn’t go this fast what would we miss? Or stated another way – why are we doing this and is it sane, normal and healthy? Does this life at the speed of sound give us better “quality of life?” More “family time?” More vacation? More money? Time to read a book? In most families, none of the above.

Usually we are just competing with other speed demons. Psychological pressure grows when we fear we can’t keep pace and can’t compete. Experts say the average white-collar worker fears for his job if he takes more than a week or two off at one stretch. This results in speedy weekend vacations with lots of driving and not much rest. Suburban parents often tell me little Judy or Tommy won’t get into the best middle school if he doesn’t pack more into “the early grades.” No nap time for you slackers.

Statistics do not confirm that all this rushing into, during and after school is building a generation of American geniuses. On the contrary, the school systems and cultural ways of life in several other nations are beating our pants off. And one of the best compensated team of teachers and school officials is right here in our nation’s capital. They also have some of the most embarrassing statistics on educating students. But this may not be due to trying to pack more quality education into the day.

Family life isn’t much improved either, surveys and statistics tell us. Families are more fractured, and a generation of single parents has exploded onto the scene and become an acceptable part of the norm.

Married people say they are “too busy” to have children.  They are too busy to stay married also because fewer than one-half of our marriage age population is married.  Most are divorced or living together.

And working quickly is not the same as efficiency. My favorite lawyer takes on too much work then tries to work faster, harder, later. Then he’ll make a silly mistake in an easy correspondence. He’ll make up for it the next time by writing a skilled, researched masterpiece. But trust me, there is another mistake out there soon.

Do we get more vacation time? Not compared to just about any European. The legally mandated vacation time in Sweden is 32 days per year. If you live in Denmark, France, Austria or Spain you get 30 days off by law. The Japanese get 25 vacation days annually. Even in China, the workers get a longer vacation than you: 21 days.

The Germans are the most widely traveled and well-compensated with vacation time of any people in the world. Most get 30 days off, but some get up to 48. And Paris shuts down and empties out for a month in the summer because everyone goes on vacation.

Well, Paris has more open stores and restaurants these days because lots of Americans are there for a few days in summer (maybe even a whopping week). The French keep Paris open on a limited basis during vacation season these days just to be rude to Americans and take their money.

Do we get longer vacations? The average Italian vacation is 42 days. How long was your last big one?

We Could Be Moving Too Fast

August 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Fist Published in The Washington Times
August 8, 2003

A friend commented to me yesterday on the hectic nature and “rat race” of American life.  I was reminded of a piece I did for The Washington Times a few years ago.  It needed no dusting off.  We are still moving too fast.

For a long time I’ve suspected American society moved just too fast.  Recently a kindergarten teacher confirmed my suspicion. When I recounted happy memories about my own kindergarten experience, including “nap time,” the teacher told me: “There isn’t time for a nap anymore. We are getting these kids ready for life.”

Now I understand why my generation is such a failure. Too much nap time.

The telephone may also be an indicator we are rushing toward unhappiness and stress. Ever hear anyone say, “Gotta get the other phone. Sorry.  I’ll call you back”?

Another favorite conversation killer is, “We’re real busy here. Gotta go. Bye.” Not only are these communications rude and grammatically incorrect, they indicate a warp speed psychology in American life.

And cell phones, fortunately, are everywhere; allowing us to multiplex our minds and our lives. Cell phoning while driving. Cell phoning while eating. Talking on the cell phone at a wedding. I’ve even recently observed fast food restaurant guests talking to each other across the table on their cell phones. Do we really need to communicate this much? Are we discussing Plato or the meaning of life? Not usually. We are often scheduling more work, explaining why we are late, or just wasting time and space on the frequency band.

We drive way too fast. Even while going to work, people cut in and out of lanes at a breathtaking pace. Are they late or can’t they wait to get to work? One wonders. A recent survey reported the average American driver admits he takes dangerous risks behind the wheel to save precious time.

In suburbia the soccer Moms and Dads are notoriously overworked and on the run. The kids’ schedules drive everyday life and especially the weekends. Soccer, ballet, Girl Scouts, Little League, the amusement park, trips to the mall and other activities mean some families have more than one SUV to handle the workload of transporting preteens to everything and everywhere. Kids have even been known to suffer nervous breakdowns because they are so overscheduled.

My best suburban family of friends recently drove three hours to a one-hour wedding and then three hours back so they could get to the next scheduled event.

We are in such a hurry to pack more into life that TV sitcom writers have added many more pages of additional script for a single episode than ever before. Fortunately, the robotlike actors can speak faster than my VCR [we can now update this to a CD Player] on fast forward. This, of course, also means our kids (not robots, these) now utter every sentence as if the house were on fire and they were making the 911 call. And the speed-talking on TV allows more life-enhancing commercials.

So if we didn’t go this fast what would we miss? Or stated another way – why are we doing this and is it sane, normal and healthy? Does this life at the speed of sound give us better “quality of life?” More “family time?” More vacation? More money? Time to read a book? In most families, none of the above.

Usually we are just competing with other speed demons. Psychological pressure grows when we fear we can’t keep pace and can’t compete. Experts say the average white-collar worker fears for his job if he takes more than a week or two off at one stretch. This results in speedy weekend vacations with lots of driving and not much rest. Suburban parents often tell me little Judy or Tommy won’t get into the best middle school if he doesn’t pack more into “the early grades.” No nap time for you slackers.

Statistics do not confirm that all this rushing into, during and after school is building a generation of American geniuses. On the contrary, the school systems and cultural ways of life in several other nations are beating our pants off. And one of the best compensated team of teachers and school officials is right here in our nation’s capital. They also have some of the most embarrassing statistics on educating students. But this may not be due to trying to pack more quality education into the day.

Family life isn’t much improved either, surveys and statistics tell us. Families are more fractured, and a generation of single parents has exploded onto the scene and become an acceptable part of the norm.

Married people say they are “too busy” to have children.  They are too busy to stay married also because fewer than one-half of our marriage age population is married.  Most are divorced or living together.

And working quickly is not the same as efficiency. My favorite lawyer takes on too much work then tries to work faster, harder, later. Then he’ll make a silly mistake in an easy correspondence. He’ll make up for it the next time by writing a skilled, researched masterpiece. But trust me, there is another mistake out there soon.

Do we get more vacation time? Not compared to just about any European. The legally mandated vacation time in Sweden is 32 days per year. If you live in Denmark, France, Austria or Spain you get 30 days off by law. The Japanese get 25 vacation days annually. Even in China, the workers get a longer vacation than you: 21 days.

The Germans are the most widely traveled and well-compensated with vacation time of any people in the world. Most get 30 days off, but some get up to 48. And Paris shuts down and empties out for a month in the summer because everyone goes on vacation.

Well, Paris has more open stores and restaurants these days because lots of Americans are there for a few days in summer (maybe even a whopping week). The French keep Paris open on a limited basis during vacation season these days just to be rude to Americans and take their money.

Do we get longer vacations? The average Italian vacation is 42 days. How long was your last big one?

“America Still Lacks Things I Long For,” He Said….

July 6, 2007

By John E. Carey
July 6, 2007

I have known Habib (translates to “friend”)  for some time. He works hard, keeps to himself, obeys the speed limit and loves his family.

You have already probably made a judgment or two about Habib, maybe. You think you might know what region of the world he comes from and what religion he follows.

Yet Habib, though an immigrant, is an American citizen who loves his new home. He votes and pays his taxes. His children go to the American public school and not “The Arab School” as some around here call it.

An educated man, he is familiar with the teachings of both Islam and Buddhism. I spent some time taking Habib to lunch, and slowly, as if prying open a can of tuna with a mall screwdriver, I started to learn more about the man, and, I dare say, the world.

Once Habib began to speak, his enlightened thought process amazed me. He said, “Americans are moving further and further away from Human Spirit.”

“What the heck does that mean?” I asked.

“In the Qur’an,” he began, “Allah said that He is a hidden treasure longing to be known. Allah made man so that He himself, Allah, would be known and appreciated.”

In my naivety I asked, “And Allah is God?”

“Allah is God,” he said. “Allah teaches that death is only another chapter. Not a beginning or an end but a passage.”

“And between the beginning and the end we must seek peace and tranquility and happiness.”

Between the begining and the end, I thought, we make money. He with the most toys at the end wins. But I quickly buried this thought.

After an awkwardly long silence, I again chimed in perhaps from ignorance or naivety, “How about the suicide bombers?”

“They have bastardized a great religion, a great way of life and happiness,” said Habib.

Maybe this guy Allah isn’t so bad, I thought.

Habib then said, “Listen to the reed flute. It is made from the reed growing in the river. But after it is cut down and removed from its rightful place, its home, you can hear it crying tender agony.”

As an American I am in too deep here.

Then Habib speaks of Buddhism.

“In Buddhist way, how much you endure, how much you go through without complaint — determines your happiness.”

I see fireworks like the Fourth of July. I know many people who have had an easy life. They were showered with gifts and material things – yet they are unhappy. And I also know a group I call “The Survivors.” Many went though war, many are refugees, some lost limbs and homes and relatives. Among this group I have experienced happiness and even joy. Joy of surviving, and not despairing. Joy of continuing against the odds.

Before we finish lunch, Habib offers this: “Do you know John, the biggest problem with America today?”

A basket full of answers leaps into my mind: the war, George Bush, Taxes, China, the Taliban….

Before I can speak a word Habib says, “Accusing and pointing of fingers. There is no ‘we’ in American politics just now. There is a lot of ‘them.’”

Habib finishes with this: “Politicians, and talk shows, and focus groups and web sites and blogs, all with tremendous opportunity to bring us together. But everybody seems accusing and nobody admitting.”

As we walked back to our destination in a calm silence, I though about President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln: an icon of American greatness. He brought his harshest critics into his Administration, for the promotion of the general welfare and good.

Old Abe: not a Finger Pointer.

Many today seem to have lost faith in the common good. And winning over the other party seems preferable to winning against forces outside America.

Visit our Flagship at:
http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/